Thursday, December 6, 2012
Dear Church Leaders,
Can I make a suggestion? When you get around to that time of the year when the budget is being decided and you decide to make phone calls to church members/parishioners to ask them to send in their pledge cards, before making those phone calls, could you do something first?
Look at the list of people to call and for each name listed ask yourself, "when was the last time we saw them in church?" If you can't recall seeing that person in church in awhile take another step, write the name of that person on another list. Once you've compiled that other list, give it to one or two people and ask them to call just those people on the list. Here's what they should say:
"Hey, person we haven't seen in awhile, we haven't seen you in awhile! I'm calling to say that we noticed you haven't been around. Is there something that we could do for you? Someway we could help you right now?" You may hear things you don't want to hear. Maybe they are going to another church. Maybe they are pissed off and don't want have anything to do the church. Maybe they can't get to church right now but would really appreciate prayer. Maybe they need a ride. Maybe they need someone to come visit them. You won't know until you make the call and start the conversation.
Maybe, during the conversation, you will open up the door for them to say "Hey, I want to come back to church. I want to keep supporting the church." Then you can bring up the pledge drive. Otherwise, don't bring it up.
Maybe, during the conversation, it comes up that they aren't planning on coming back to church and maybe that opens the doors to them asking to be put on that other list...the former members or inactive or whatever you call it. That's okay. Don't tell them they are going to hell and hang up. Wish them well, offer to pray for them...actually pray with them! Suggest other churches. Be kind, be gracious and be loving. They will remember that. But please, please, please don't bring up the pledge drive.
In the end you will have accomplished two things. One, you will have made contact with a church member who hasn't been around in awhile showing compassion and care. They don't need to know that it was the pledge drive that helped to get the call made. Two, you won't create even more bitterness in the heart of a church member who hasn't been to the church in over a year who gets a call from a church leader saying "Hey, we need you to turn in your pledge card so we can make a budget" like they just saw you yesterday sitting in the pew next to them not a year and a half ago. It shows what is important (the church members checkbook) and what is not (church member).
It's just a suggestion, do what you will...but please don't be surprised that people speak poorly about the church when the church repeatedly shows a lack of care and concern for those who aren't in the pews every Sunday and more concern about money.
Someone who cares