“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation.” (Isaiah 52:7)
For parishes that like to post financial updates weekly, usually only one inch or so of bulletin space is all that is available to communicate a bit of news. This bit of news is often just a rather blunt statement of how much is needed to fund the parish and how we are giving less than what is needed!
Consider, rather three alternative ways to present financial information as it relates to the life of the parish. Rotating these numbers from week to week (in addition to the more traditional numbers) provides a more robust and perhaps even a more inspirational picture of church finances.
1) Impact of Investment
People want to know their money is actually making a difference for the kingdom of God. It is important that members understand why giving to the parish matters. Identify a number that relates to the impact of the ministry of the parish. Consider these examples: “Because of your financial support, this week (number) of people were served by the clergy in visits, counseling, confessions, meetings and activities;” or “Your giving supports the worshiping space of the church in which in the past seven day 350 people were present worshiping God;” or “Your giving makes it possible for the parish to give (dollar amount) each year to national ministries of the church for (list a few).”
2) Tithing Capacity
If advantageous to do so, compare 2014 IRS statistic of average household giving with IRS data on average income for averaged common zip codes in the parish (enter zip code for first field and Income and Poverty in Select A Fact field. This typically reveals significant room to increase giving. Try presenting this fact in the bulletin and encourage those who give a small percentage to consider increasing that percentage each year.
3) Unmet Needs
To highlight the need for more giving highlight unmet needs. This would focus the reader’s attention on the unbudgeted projects that need financial support. This would also help show that even a carefully prepared budget does not mean the parish has all it needs to provide critical ministry and services.