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'Most younger people don't even have a checkbook'

If two of the nation’s leading church coaches have it their way, church finance committees would wake up, face what’s happening in today’s culture and take steps to align their stewardship campaigns with the way most people give. (Hint: it’s not with a checkbook.)

Jim and Kim Griffith, of Griffith Coaching, will lead a daylong Stewardship Summit titled “Growing Generous Givers” April 21, 2018. The summit is hosted by the South Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church.

Held at Bethany UMC, Summerville, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. the summit will address what the Griffiths call the “nuts and bolts,” or the mechanics, of stewardship—and particularly electronic giving. The Griffiths will cover everything from text-giving to a Paypal button on the website to auto pay from a checking account.

“We’re not going to sit there and pound the table on ‘people should give’ or pound a philosophy that stewardship is God’s standard. We just haven’t found that to be a productive thing,” Jim Griffith said. “We find that often the church finance committee sits around saying, ‘These young people are not committed to the church [because they don’t give].’ And we ask, ‘Do you have electronic giving?’ and get ‘No, we don’t do that here.’ Well, most younger people don’t even have a checkbook.”

He said most churches are designed for people still writing checks and not set up for electronic giving; they think they are, but they are not.

“We still have churches debating whether electronic giving is OK,” Griffith said.

The summit is designed for the church finance team to be there with the pastor; it does no good for the pastors to come by themselves, Griffith said. The informative day will help church finance teams move in a direction that helps them grow.

“We’re all about the local church—it really is the hope of the world from our perspective, and the healthier the local church is, the better the community,” Griffith said. “One of the clear markers of a healthy church is the breadth of participation in financial giving in a church—not just ‘is it paying its bills’ but the breadth. If only 15 percent of members are carrying the church financially … that’s not a very good marker.”

Beth Westbury, conference treasurer and director of administrative services, said that being a disciple does not mean resting at status quo, noting we all must grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ in all areas—including stewardship.

“The Stewardship Summit is designed to help church leaders gain knowledge in the area of stewardship so they can go back to their local church better equipped to lead their congregation,” Westbury said. “Others may want to attend for their own personal growth just like we go to Bible studies to grow in our faith.”

Jessica Brodie, editor, South Carolina United Methodist Advocate newspaper

United Methodist Church Giving is about people working together to accomplish something bigger than themselves. In so doing, we effect change around the world, all in the name of Jesus Christ. To read stories about giving click here.