One of the most overlooked aspects of the “Effective Stewardship” program is the opportunity it provides to express appreciation to people for their financial support of the church. This is done through “thank-you” letters to donors which are made available to churches for their use on a quarterly basis, but which also can be used semi-annually or annually.
When I first created the “Effective Stewardship” program, I included such letters because I felt it was important to convey a sense of appreciation to our people who had made possible what we were doing in our church through their faithful financial support. After the first quarterly letter went out, an elderly lady came up to me at the organ after one worship service and asked me if I had anything to do with the letter she had received that week. I replied that although the Finance Chair’s signature was on the letter, I had written it.
She made a simple, yet profound statement to this effect: “I have been giving here for over 25 years. I’ve heard words of thanks from the pulpit and in person, but this is the first time anyone has said ‘thank-you’ to me in writing.” And as she spoke to me, she had tears in her eyes. Even though what she had received was a form letter, not personalized to her in any way, it was obvious that it had touched her deeply. Subsequent to that event, a number of other people ex-pressed similar thoughts to me.
Sometimes our tendency as pastors and lay leaders is to take for granted those whose financial support makes the work and ministry of the church happen. And yet the clear teaching of Scripture is that those who work behind the scenes — including financial support — share in the reward just as fully as if they were on the front lines. “ . . . .The share of the man who stayed with the supplies is to be the same as that of him who went down to the battle. All will share alike” (1 Samuel 30:24).
If you are using the thank-you letters to donors which are provided as part of the “Effective Stewardship” program, please continue this effort. If you are not using these letters, feel free to request them. There is no additional charge for this service.
Even if you are not sending donor “statements” on a regular basis or at all, it still makes sense to thank donors for their financial support.