Message to clergy: Money is not taboo topic

3/25/2011

At the LEAD II seminar in mid-February at Oklahoma City University are, from left, President Myron McCoy of Saint Paul School of Theology, OKC-North District Superintendent Dan Pulver, presenter Michael Reeves of San Antonio, Dean Elaine Robinson of Saint Paul School of Theology at OCU, Oklahoma Conference Treasurer Brian Bakeman, and Pastor Dianne Peters of OKC-Crown Heights UMC.

Michael Reeves recently preached about Christian giving to thousands of worshippers at one church—and to 12 people at another. His message fits both, he said.

He wants people to learn the holiness of financial giving.

He repeated his message to 60 Oklahoma clergy at the second LEAD seminar on Feb. 18-19 at OCU.

"Stop fundraising. Talk about generosity as a spiritual value of our lives," declared Rev. Reeves. "It’s a discipleship issue, not a fundraising issue."

Personal and corporate stewardship, as well as effectively leading a congregation, were spotlighted in LEAD II. The seminar series is subtitled "What You Didn’t Learn in Seminary."

Clergy from both the Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conferences attended, and Reeves was one of several presenters.

He urged big changes in the way churches talk about money, specifically listing three "commandments":

• Keep it positive.

• Keep it biblical.

• Stress the mission, NOT the need.

From San Antonio, Texas, Reeves is known nationally as an advocate and innovator of Jesus-like generosity. He has worked with the Oklahoma United Methodist Foundation staff, including Mike Wiley.

"Real issues of money dominate our lives and thoughts," Reeves said. "But what do people hear about it in our churches? We whine about it in the fall, if at all."

He took aim against avoiding talk about money in church.

Don’t talk about it; we might have a visitor. "Let’s get real. All of us deal with money every day."

Some people are on fixed incomes. "Some of them are well fixed and need to remember who fixed them."

My situation is unique. "Every church is a different culture, but no one is immune from the Scripture."

They’re giving what they can. "I guarantee you they are not. What limits are you putting on your congregation? Of the top 30 denominations in the U.S., regarding percent of income given to the church, United Methodists rank 28th."

Reeves has led more than 200 capital campaigns. With Bishop Robert Schnase, he is releasing "Extravagant Generosity," a church stewardship kit, this year. His title is pastor of financial discipleship at University UMC, San Antonio, Texas.

The third seminar in the LEAD series is scheduled April 29-30. Contact the Conference Treasurer’s Office for information.


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