I have been thinking a lot about the definition of generosity. Recently, my colleague Ian Evison wrote: “I think we are going to enter into a time when the idea of getting people to be more generous is going to need to be much more balanced by focusing on sustainability—even what people will be generous about will be more about sustainability.”
Seems to me that since so many congregants have lost jobs or are currently under employed, that our congregations may be faced with flat annual budgets that reflect the new generosity.
For example, if a congregant had previously contributed $1,000 to the annual budget, and that same congregant is now unemployed, maybe a $250 annual pledge is even more generous than her previous pledge. Maybe you have a dozen other congregants, or more, facing the same dilemma.
By extension, it is quite possible that your annual budget might even be smaller than the previous year and could reflect even more generosity than the previous year.
Maybe a new definition of generosity is needed. Maybe we need to correlate generosity with sustainability. Maybe the idea of getting congregants to increase their generosity means that we focus on sustaining those most important aspects of congregational ministry, rather than expanding into new programs.
The Coming Death Tsunami, written by Lovett Weems and shared by Rev. Brian Covell of Third Unitarian Church in Chicago, pursues this issue. Take a look and see what you think. I would love to begin a conversation about this issue.
Looking forward to hearing from you.