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Every pastor needs a list. No, not a list of those who are naughty or nice. We will leave that to the big guy in the sleigh. Every pastor needs a list of things which a generous giver might like to accomplish.

Several times in my ministry someone approached me and asked, “Pastor, I have some extra money and would like to do something for the church. Is there anything you need?” For many years I stood like a deer in the headlights. I wanted the money, but I didn’t know exactly what to say. Besides, did that mean she or he had a little to give or a lot to give? I didn’t want to ask for a new parking lot if they only had a couple hundred dollars, and I didn’t want to ask for a new paper cutter if they had a few thousand. At that time, I wasn’t as comfortable saying, “About how much do you plan to give?”

Yes, every pastor should have a list. He or she could work with the church Council to build it. It could run from $50 items to $50,000 items. In some churches, that figure could be higher. Possibilities include:

A new whiteboard
Funding a part time children’s assistant
An electric sign in front of the church
Bibles for the 5th grade class
A trailer for the men’s ministry
A new Advent wreath
English lessons for our Hispanic community
A software program for the office
New carpet for the prayer room
A van for church activities
Training for two new Stephen Ministers
Sponsoring a weekend spiritual retreat
Renting a bounce house for our kid’s night

Your list is only confined by your ministry needs and imagination. Put a price by each item. Then put the list in your desk drawer.

Then, when someone says, “Pastor, is there anything you need?” you can either ask them their giving range and share specific items, or you can pull out your list and let them select a gift in the range with which they are comfortable.

When all is said and done you will have a gift given, you will have a need met and, best of all, you will have a pastor that looks less like a deer and more like a leader.

For education and information on stewardship and giving development you can reach me at [email protected] or 317-788-7879.

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Glenn Howell
Director of Development
United Methodist Foundation of Indiana

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