Friday, November 25, 2011
Cornerstone, the WELS-LCMS fund-raising business, uses the concept of giving units. The principles are simple. Each community has a family income average that can be researched. That is the first number to put down, which often prompts a lively debate.
The second number is the total of giving units in the congregation. A husband and wife count as one unit. A retired couple is less than one unit. A woman whose husband never goes to church is a fraction of a unit. A single mother is also a fraction.
Imagine a congregation with 55 separate households. The giving units may be only 40. That quashes the notion that Grandma Schmidt cannot give as much as Dewey Cheatem N. Howe, Esquire, the attorney. However, the lower income members often give far more than the wealthy, a fact also represented in denominations, where the wealthy ones (Episcopal) give far less in percentage than the poor ones (Nazarene). The last time I looked, the Nazarenes were about 7% and the Episcopalians were less than 2%.
Next multiply the average household income by the giving units. To make things simple, I will use $50,000 as the average family income for one town. Benefits are pay, too, but most congregations use gross pay rather than the net value of pay and benefits. However, they understand pastoral pay as the total cost of all pay and benefits, plus the parsonage or housing allowance.
The total income of the parish is 40 times the average household income, or $2 million.
To find out percentage giving, write down last year's total giving, all causes, as a fraction - on top of the total income of the congregation. If they gave $40,000, the congregational average is 2%. 40k over 2 million is 2%.
This is where Cornerstone motivates with the Law. If the congregation simply increased its percentage giving to 2.5%, the income would be $50,000. Members would gasp in horror if asked to come up with $10,0000 more per year. However, a slight percentage in giving does not seem so frightening. Another way is to bump up giving one level. Attorney Howe may not want to give the way Grandma Schmidt does, but he may feel able to move from $25 a week to $35 a week.
The same figures are even more true on a national basis, where the bumps and crevices of statistics are evened out from a larger scale. The vast sums given by Thrivent to prostitute the synods into becoming their marketing centers could be made up easily. But it is easier to crawl to Thrivent for millions than to obtain the same amounts from the faithful.
This post has nothing to do with fund-raising. People like to read about money.
If the same principles are applied to doctrine, the results are similar. Most members are at the 2% or lower figure when it comes to examining the opinions offered by their abusive sects.
If everyone moved up one notch in doctrinal engagement, many festering infections would start to heal.
Some of that is already happening, and the overpaid executives are not happy. Like snipers, the executives pick off a few to intimidate the rest. Synod leaders can explain away murder and multiple felonies against children. They are all grace for the criminals but all Law for those who ask questions.