Feedback: How should churches respond when multiple offerings and needs come at the same time?

Feedback: How should churches respond when multiple offerings and needs come at the same time?

With so many request for money and supplies from the conference and other groups, how do local church leaders prioritize the needs? We asked these members through Facebook and e-mail:

Rev. Amy Probst, Broadway UMC, Maryville District

"We have discussed this around Broadway, especially in light of increased local church financial needs and budget cuts. Our philosophy is to put the needs out there as we know about them. We let everyone know that no one can respond to every need, but all of us can respond to something. If we can allow God to lead us (and don't feel guilty or end up with resentment) then God will equip the entire body to meet the needs. It's easy to be overwhelmed by needs if we don't keep communicating!"

Rev. Ginger Howe, Christ UMC/Greeneville, Morristown District

"We try to make everyone aware of the needs and opportunities to give in the area of missions, but sometimes I do feel like we are nickle and diming our people when there are several requests so close together. One of the problems -- that I'm sure many churches have -- is that regular tithes and offerings get cut short because people just do not understand the concept of second-mile giving."

Steve Hodges, First Sneedville UMC, Morristown District

"Many years ago and fresh out of seminary, I was part of a group that read Ron Sider's "Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger" and decided to set up a group giving fund that would give 40 percent to direct-need ministries and 60 percent to ministries that helped people help themselves or worked for structural change. I think it would be a good idea to spend more time reading, thinking, praying about how we respond to needs, so that we don't just do/give (and encourage people to do/give) what is easiest for us to do/give."

Rev. Wayne Cook, Sand Mountain UMC, Chattanooga District

"I try to pass on needs as they arise. Sand Mountain especially prefers hands-on projects over monetary support. Different people respond to different needs in different ways."

Rev. Todd Kingrea, Unicoi UMC, Johnson City District

"I try to let the church know of needs as they arise, recognizing that we (as a church body) cannot support EVERYthing. But different people, groups, Sunday school classes, etc., may respond. It's a perfect example of how every person can be involved in some way, at some level ... if they will."

Rev. Bill Kilday, director of stewardship, Holston Conference

"For me, keeping the 'home base' (the local church) strong is a continuing priority, even in the midst of havoc. Giving to keep this base healthy and vital is the very heart of our ability to reach out to the many community and world concerns. I believe strongly that we have to offer folks the opportunity to get involved in the many needs that come from natural disasters and other crises. We have to emphasise all the needs, and ask people to respond to those that they feel strongest about, but not everybody has to be equally responsive to every need. We have to also give permission for people to NOT participate in every special offering."