As stewardship season rolls around, I thought I would offer some tips on how to avoid growing your faith through financial generosity. These are practical applications for those who prefer King Midas’ touch to the healing touch of Christ the King.
1. Tell the rector that you are “morally opposed” to pledging. After all, shouldn’t the church live up to its name as a community of “faith” and take it on faith that there will be enough money to pay for the rector’s health benefits?
2. Don’t show up to church in October. In fact, just to be safe avoid church in September and November as well just in case the ubiquitous Stewardship Sermon is preached early or late this year.
3. Tell the poor sap who calls you to follow-up on the stewardship campaign that your time and (especially your) talent more than make up for your lack of willingness to part with your treasure.
4. Move but neglect to give your forwarding address to the church office. “Stewardship packet? No, I never received one.”
5. Assure people that, while you don’t pledge, you give generously to the plate. Especially on the one Sunday a month you find yourself in church.
7. If you do pledge, make sure that you never give more than the five dollars a week you gave in the early 1960s. It was generous back then, you know.
8. Switch to a new church every Advent and you’ll be sure to “just miss” the stewardship campaign. Of course you’ll need to avoid going to church in the fall but that’s just the price you’ll have to pay. So to speak.
9. Don’t pledge but still ask for envelopes — you can usually finagle them out of the church office — so that people think you do.
10. Use the money you don’t pledge to donate a memorial gift of velvet liners for the collection plates. That way the change you toss in won’t reverberate and cause you undue embarrassment.
I hope these ten tips have been helpful as you prayerfully discern your pledge amount this year. Until churches start publishing the names and amounts of givers (like every other charitable organization) you should be safe.