Issue No. 157 of Your Weekly Staff Meeting suggests you lead your staff team in a 42-day journey with the new Personal Action Journal—to help make poverty personal. And this reminder, check out my Management Buckets website with dozens of resources and downloadable worksheets for your staff meetings.
Do the Math on Tithing
Here’s a real gut-check for every Christ follower and every church. According to World Vision U.S. President Rich Stearns, our charitable giving is, well, shockingly stingy. On average, Christians in the U.S. give just over two percent of their income to God’s work. Then, of that two percent, just two percent of that amount goes to alleviate poverty and injustice around the world.
Stearns writes, “The bottom line is that the commitment that American Christians, the wealthiest Christians in all history, are making to the world is just about 2 percent of 2 percent—actually about five ten-thousandths of our income.”
But you probably have enough guilt already. Instead, how about taking a 42-day journey to make poverty personal? “Day 34: Do the Math on Tithing” is one of 42 action-oriented awareness and soul-probing exercises in the hot-off-the-press Personal Action Journal, just one resource in The Hole in Our Gospel Six-Week Quest—a radical, eye-opening campaign for churches, small groups and individuals, developed by CrossSection, in concert with World Vision and Thomas Nelson. (I was privileged to write the journal with major input from my son, Jason, co-founder of CrossSection.)
Probing and pondering the 2,000 verses in the Bible that address poverty and injustice, the daily action items include:
• Day 1: Ask “What Does God Expect of Me?”
• Day 3: Pack Your Suitcase (Limit: 5 Items)
• Day 6: Give a Chicken
• Day 15: Track One Day’s Consumption
• Day 16: Imagine Yourself as a Slave Trader
• Day 21: Picture an Orphan at Your Door
• Day 30: Don’t Go to Church, Be the Church
• Day 31: Try a Rice and Water Day
• Day 38: Wear the Same Clothes 2 Days in a Row
The six-week campaign materials (including fast-paced and hard-hitting DVD documentary “shorts” and real life pack-a-punch stories and insights on poverty, plus a study guide) are based on the book by Richard E. Stearns, The Hole in Our Gospel: What Does God Expect of Us? The Answer That Changed My Life and Might Just Change the World. (Click here to read my review.)
Click here to download a free preview of the 42-day Personal Action Journal from “The Hole in Our Gospel Six-Week Quest.”
Stearns asks, “What does God expect of us?” The hole? One wise sage observed, “We have shrunk Jesus to the size where He can save our soul but now don’t believe He can change the world.”
Stearns calls the church to a new awareness about the nearly 3 billion people who live on less than $2 per day, often without access to clean water, food and medicine. But why, he asks, are not Christians mobilizing to serve the world's poor and tackle the problems that fuel the cycle of poverty?
He adds, “Here is what would happen if we all paid our tithe—that is, 10 percent of our incomes instead of the 2.5 percent we actually give: we would have an extra $168 billion [per year] to spend in funding the work of the Church worldwide!”
Your Weekly Staff Meeting Questions:
1) Calculate your total gross income for the last 10 years. Then add up the funds that you have given to help the world’s poor. How do you feel when you compare these numbers?
2) Research how much of your church’s budget goes for the following categories: Your Church, Your City, Your State, U.S. (except your state), Outside the U.S. (for the poor), Outside the U.S. (other than the poor). Is there a hole in your church—or in your own giving?
One-Size-Fits-All: Not! - Insights from Mastering the Management Buckets: 20 Critical Competencies for Leading Your Business or Nonprofit
One of the big ideas in the Customer Bucket, Chapter 2, in Mastering the Management Buckets, is to move customers from ignorance to purchase. If your organization has just one website and a one-size-fits-all brochure to reach the diversity of your customers, clients, members or donors—you’re likely missing huge opportunities.
You must segment your current customers and potential customers into at least six levels. Level 1: Ignorance, Level 2: Awareness, Level 3: Interest, Level 4: Trial or Consideration, Level 5: Preference, and Level 6: Purchase.
Before your print your next brochure, determine customer levels from “ignorance” to “purchase”—and target your product, program or service to their unique needs. (Talk about this at your next staff meeting and bring your rack brochures.) On the Buckets website, there are 10 books that will give you more guidance in the Customer Bucket.
MANAGEMENT BUCKETS WORKSHOP:
• October 20-21, 2009 – Mastering the Management Buckets Workshop Experience (Blue Lantern Inn, Dana Point, California). Click here for more information.