The Ministry Rate and The Awful Offering

Hi there. I'm peeking my head it to share something that will get a lot of parishioners behind me and then I'll turn the tables and get a lot of clergy behind me. What could these topics be?

Well, let's take a look at "The Ministry Rate."

Ah yes. The Ministry Rate, or the project built by guilt. Here a person is approached by a Church or staff member or even maybe perhaps the leader of the congregants to ask for some sort of service or project. No problem there. The initiator then probably hints or indirectly asks or maybe asks or - heaven forbid - demands a lesser rate appealing to the charity of the individual, because the Church is strictly volunteer in everything and, because of it, needs a drastic rate cut down by either half or free or half of free ... maybe chip in a few bucks after the service is done.

There is a problem with this. First, don't get me wrong. If the skilled worker/artist/service provider wants to help, they are free to do so. It just gets weird when it is expected. Suddenly, the church becomes a freeloader with a cross for a shield and suddenly that person isn't seen around as much and dodging church staff in the hallways.

Let me paint a different picture:
Church: We would like some web work done.
Webgirl: Uh... ok... sure
Church: What's your rate?
Webgirl: Um... well...
Church: No, seriously, what if we were a small business?
Webgirl: Well, that would be around $X per hour
Church: Ok, how does $X * 1.7 sound?

See what happened there? Because the Church was willing to offer more, they Webgirl will most likely be around the Church more because the Church is treating the Webgirl with respect and understanding that she forked over waaaaay too much money for a very competative field. Webgirl isn't hiding behind the fake trees in the fellowship hall anymore - she feels valued there.

Now hold on cuz I'm going to turn the tables here.

Ok congregation. Where do you get off handing over junk to the church? Seriously? If you have a lawn mower that leaks gas and oil and is on the verge of exploding in some sort of napalm blast, do NOT say "well, I'll just take it over to the church. I'm sure they can use it."

The Church is not your personal dumping ground. Your flea-infested couch does not need a new home in the youth room.

I went to a youth minister conference back in 95. The lead youth pastor there told a story that they asked for couches for the youth room and so they got couches. It was perfect for those teens to lounge.

Then the itching started. The youth started itching and soon those that ventured down that hallway itched too. Once the source was discovered, a huge bonfire was held in the church parking lot - a burnt offering of davenports.

Let me paint a picture for you:

Churchguy: I noticed that there was a need for office chairs for the church
Pastor (sitting on a preschool chair): Well, need and want are two different things
Churchguy: Our Sunday classes got together and we bought new office chairs for the staff. We went ahead and assembled them... Here they are...

See what happened there? The pastor and the staff will feel respected and cherished by those they serve and perhaps, PERHAPS, others will notice that people actually value the church they go to or - at least - their god.

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