Email to a Colleague at my Church

I thought I’d share an email to a fellow minister. My goal is to get ministers and members to think “outside the financial box” and think if new ways to get money for church needs, especially capital needs.

For a couple months I’ve heard you all getting info about new drop down backboards for the gym. The latest figures I have are costs in the $24K range which is way out of anyone’s budget and designated funds. That got me to thinking about asking the Upwards parents if they would be willing to make a gift or contribution to this project.

In my years as a church administrator, there have been countless times when people wanted to make a gift and asked me what are some pressing needs. My experience is that people want to give back to a ministry or the church that has blessed them or helped them. Unfortunately, the church too often feels that “we can only do it if we pay for it” or “that’s rude to ask people for money.” Both of those concepts are wrong – we shortchange people when we don’t give them the opportunity to give. People want to return the favor, we just need to be open to it, especially to be open to new ways of paying for the church’s needs. Having been in church business for my entire life, I can see a distinct pattern downward in the typical way of funding church – the offering plate is drying up.

I’ve been in multiple conversations with members of the church’s financial leadership team, Ministry Coordination Council members, and the senior pastor on the subject of developing new streams of revenue for the church. The senior pastor asked an MCC member and me to make a presentation to MCC in November on the why and how of new revenue streams. This is a subject that is gaining importance and visibility within our own church.

The Minister of Recreation and I partnered recently on a basketball camp that was a tremendous success and we split the revenue – some for the Rec Ministry and some for the building maintenance (to fix holes in the walls from “stray” basketballs). This is a great model for how we can move forward to fund needs of various ministries and the buildings. I would like to propose that you consider yet another stream of revenue to help meet a need of the Rec Ministry – the backboards.

The idea is that for two of your eight Saturdays during the Upward games, you will distribute a half sheet of paper with the message below. The message is not threatening or guilt-inducing. Instead is makes known a need and gives people the opportunity to respond if they want to. It tells them how they can help a ministry of the church and thanks them for letting us be a part of their life. This is not a solicitation (which our church’s by-laws won’t let you do), it gives people an chance to respond. I truly believe that it is right, ethical, and scriptural to give people the chance to express their gratitude without any form of compulsion. To not give people a chance to give is to limit people and God.

In future years (or even this year), I can easily see the gift request during Upward to be for ministry opportunities in a church in Richmond, or with one of our foreign mission partners, or another recreation oriented need beyond our walls. Perhaps alternating years (between our church and another need) or even doing a split offering in the same year for two separate needs? There are many opportunities and tremendous needs out there – the real question is how can we think creatively to help meet these needs.

Will the Rec Ministry be willing to distribute this message below to its parents? Who knows what God will do through this. Thank you.

New Basketball BackboardsThe Recreation Ministry would like to install four new basketball backboard so that future Upward Basketball seasons can have better equipment. These goals will hang from the ceiling and replace our aging and hard to move floor level goals. Each new backboard costs about $6,000 or $24,000 for the entire project.

Gifts to this project are being accepted by Recreation Ministry if you would like to help. Checks can be made payable to the church and write “basketball backboards” in the memo line and given to a staff member. These tax-deductible donations are not required – it is our joy and privilege to have your child in the Upward program. Thank you for entrusting us with your most precious gift. We hope you and your family have enjoyed it and we hope to see you next year.

Lead On!


  1. Follow up – two weeks ago a grandmother gave a check for $1,000 for the new backboards; others have given enough money to buy two backboards. “You have not because you ask not” – we asked, people gave!