Highlights from Funding the Missional Church

Highlights from Funding the Missional Church June 29, 2012


I recently had the opportunity to attending a conference on Funding the Missional Church. The following are the highlights from my notes on this event:

“What Exactly Is ‘Missional’?”

  • Finding God is already present in everyone you meet “out there,” not just bringing God with you.
  • Hands on, instead of writing a check
  • Loving what God loves
  • Doing what Jesus did, incarnational
  • Connecting with the people around you
  • Getting out there and doing something

History of term “Missional” (Tony Jones)

  • Leslie Newbigin (left his home country to be a missionary, and returned to find that his home country was now a mission field.
  • See the work of Ed Setzer (SBC) to differentiate from the Emergent Church Movement

What Is the Missional Church? (Deb Hirsch: Tribe of LA): http://www.tribela.com/wp/

  • 2 hour potluck first, then worship
  • 5:00pm Sunday night, beginning with a meal.
  • I’m called a “Lead Minister” because ALL members are ministers
  • Presence
    • Jesus spent 30 years in a community before anyone knew who he was.
  • Proximity
    • Where you stand determines what you see.
    • You’ve got to take a step out of your comfort zone, then take another one.
  • Prevenient Grace: God is already at work before you begin
  • Powerlessness…so no room for arrogance
  • Proclamation


  • Either Great Command Christianity or Great Commission Christianity gets you OUT OF THE BUILDING and into the world.
  • Koinonia (Greek word for community) –> Koinon-itis is too much insular  focus on yourself.

Link to slides: http://www.slideshare.net/knightopia/ministry-in-the-emerging-postmodern-world

Brad Cecil

  • Link to slides: http://www.slideshare.net/bradcecil
  • 75% of giving done by INDIVIDUALS to causes they believe in.
  • Religion gets 35% of all giving.
  • “Nones” are those without any religious preference — fastest growing religious segment.
  • Overall median weekend worship attendance dropped from 130-108. Mega-churches double, but still less than 1% of all congregations. Attracting bigger slice of a shrinking pie.
  • Reduction in attendance is true for Mainline Evangelical and Racial/Ethnic Congregations
  • Least decline came from congregations with mission-oriented programs (as opposed to inside-the-wall focus).
  • “The independent 501(c)3 has become the ‘church’.”
  • Used to be $50/adult per week x52 weeks in weekly worship contributions…$30s-$40s/week now.
  • STATS: http://faithcommunitiestoday.org/
  • The generous people that used to give 10% to the church still give generously, but now like to give directly to non-profits, which churches created, then cut loose.
  • People don’t want to give you a check. The more involved they are, the more they will give.
  • “People stopped trusting the church to do something bigger than the church”
  • Tony Jones: Solomon’s Porch’s giving is 75% online EFT.
  • Scan QR code on your phone to give.

“A New Model for Missional Generosity” – Keith Magnuson

  • People want to make a difference in this life and in this world for ourselves, the people we love, and the world we are a part of. Waiting for someone to help them do it.
  • Giving is a powerful way to express our deepest and most soulful commitments.
  • Find your critical place in the world at the intersection of your identity, call to mission, and the difference you can make. Take a stand that you can be proud of. God’s world needs more of this.
    • ASK: “What are you proud of about this church?”
    • Your faith journey matters
  • Recognize the difference between involvement and engagement — focus on engagement
  • Connecting vs. Producing
  • It’s all about Relationships
  • Secure your oxygen mask before assisting others
  • Be specific and be inspiring.
  • Read The Soul of Money by Teresa Barker”
  • “Wherever you are on your faith journey, you are welcome here.” Begin every gathering with this statement.
  • “How do we disassemble this huge organization of the church that is burning money?”
  • If you tithe, you will feel empowered and be authentic and you will be invested (literally and metaphorically) in this organization.


  • It’s difficult to break to addiction to “producing” stuff for congregants to “consume.” Need to do the hard work of finding the compelling stories and needs in your community.

Mark Scandrette

  • People found it patronizing to say, “My purpose is to connect with you.”
  • Be careful of colonizing language.
  • “Have 2, Give 1”: 30 people took half of their possibles and sold them to fund global social justice.
    • Solidarity is transformative
    • Gave us a compelling, living story to tell.
  • Immense vulnerability in sharing personal budgets
  • Practice frugality, radical contentment, generosity
  • Passing out spare change on postcards.
  • Every two months one of us took a turning inviting us into a new risk/practice, etc.
  • Are we inviting people to be participants? NO. We are inviting people to be coauthors.
  • “The gospel is holistic. The promise of the gospel affects every area of life”
  • Calculated the minimum I needed to live. Found I had a lot of free time to spend relationally.
  • “The Secret”: alternative funding source: spouse with high-paying job, endowment, etc.

Read “Student Debt is Killing the Church by @TrippFuller

“Your People Want to Give Money” – Brad Cecil

  • “When a coin in the coffer rings / A soul from purgatory springs” — Luther and Reformation in reaction to fundraising drive gone awry!
  • #1 reason people give is because they are asked to give!!!
  • The more specific you are, the more you will raise: “Would you consider a gift of _______.” Ask directly. Don’t be ashamed. Don’t beat around the bush and waste people’s time.
  • People give, not to have a “legacy,” but to really make a difference in the world. They want their lives to have meaning…now. Your whole congregation has a calling.
  • “You’re really going to have to be involved in your community to generate income.”
  • When listening to sermon, congregant may use Smart Phone. That claim is a Google search away from being called B.S. They’re NOT coming to you for education primarily. It’s not like clergy are the only people in the village who is literate. Want to give life meaning.
  • Be generous. Give yourself. Shame on you if you ask others to give and don’t give yourself.
  • People who volunteer give more money. So get people involved and really participating.
  • Ask. Don’t be afraid to talk about money.
  • Live a generous life. Don’t be a hoarder. Will result in generativity.
  • You can tap the parents of young church members for one-time gift for something like a church building: parents want to help with what their 20s and 30s children find meaningful. They want their children to succeed. “Parents of “Emergent” people are watching. … People want to give to their children.”
  • Talk about ANY percentage besides 10% .Tithe has too much baggage. 7%, even 11% will increase giving!!! Most congregations give 2%.
  • Don’t believe people who tell you they don’t need to be thankful. Seriously: THANK THEM. #Gratitude. Too many people live thankless lives. Look them in the eye. Shake their hand. Hold it. Don’t let them squirm out of it. Your gratitude will transform them.
  • Envelopes DO HELP
  • Churches need to know how much per family it cost to minister in a community
  • Electronic bill paying is the GREATEST thing to happen to the church lately.
  • The challenge is getting people to hear your message: often takes 27 times in at least 3 ways! — Seth Godin
  • Churches need to know how much per family it cost to minister in a community
  • What if we did the math & told people how much the church spent on their faith life… and asked them if they were worth more?
  • “Remember the church in your will.” –PUT IN YOUR ORDER OF WORSHIP EVERY WEEK. (Fosdick)
  • Encourage creative giving: gifts of stock, etc.
  • Get training in CFRE? (Certified FundRaising Executive)
  • TELL STORIES. Narratives change lives. People give to change lives.
  • People give because their emotions are stirred. They want meaning in their lives.

“Being Missional, Inside of a Denomination” – Nadia Bolz-Weber: http://houseforall.org

  • Blessing of the Bicycles. Use Turible made from old Schwinn. Go on ride. Then come back to church and drink Fat Tire.
  • Not Consumer Church. We’re DIY, flattened.
  • We’re in the round, do liturgy together.
  • New people came in, and it felt like they were consuming our groovy religious “product.”
  • Russell Rathburn: sometimes the stranger doesn’t look like a Transgender kid (easy to welcome). Sometimes the stranger looks like your mom and dad. But the transgender kid needs people who look like her mom and dad because own parents can’t welcome her. #Transference.
  • I don’t have the spiritual maturity to know who gives how much. It would change how I treat them.
  • We don’t pass the plate. Most of our giving is online.
  • Proposed drag queen t-shirt: FRONT: “This sh*t ain’t free!” BACK: “So tithe, bitches!” ~@SarcasticLutheran HFASS
  • re: tithing – I get to keep 90% of what doesn’t belong to me. That’s a smoking deal!
  • “I want to hear what you are ACTUALLY DOING. I want to steal your ideas, not hearing what you are imagining.”
  • “We pay attention to what’s happening and then we grow to understand it.”
  • Table of Thanks and Giving. Write gratitudes or give money.
  • Alternate between potluck (“All for All”)  and community meal where one cooks for all (“One for all”).

Tony Jones: We don’t start project with pre-determined content. We get the best people in the room. Like writing a novel (you let the characters develop the plot) and see what emerges. Not univocal. We don’t necessarily know where the plane will land.

Mike Baughman: I served a missional church that survived because of its thrift shop mission. Now I’m working on a coffee house-funded congregation.


Practitioner Panel

  • Bivocational vs. fully giving yourself to one thing or another. Eugene Peterson: can you give yourself emotionally as a part-time pastor? Probably depends on your personality.
  • Money is a matter of Pastoral Care: If giving changes, opportunity to look into why: what is going on with their job, family, or their problem with church.
  • Also, people who give the least tend to demand the most of your time in an unkind way! The most generous people are often the least demanding and most spiritually mature people
  • Most churches are made by people with shared consumer preferences: I like this sermon, that music style…and as long as you keep providing those things, I’ll tithe…
  • “If you are missional are you going to be attractional?”
  • To learn chess, take away the queen. Easy to be too reliant on queen. In the church, money is the queen.

The Rev. Dr. Carl Gregg is a trained spiritual director, a D.Min. graduate of San Francisco Theological Seminary, and the pastor of Broadview Church in Chesapeake Beach, Maryland. On July 9, 2012, he will start as the Minister of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Frederick, Maryland. Follow him on Facebook (facebook.com/carlgregg) and Twitter (@carlgregg).

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