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Responding to revenue shortfalls during the pandemic

Co-facilitators of Thursday’s 1001 New Worshiping Communities Zoom conversation: ‘During times of crisis, giving increases’

by Paul Seebeck | Presbyterian News Service

The Rev. Jon Moore

LOUISVILLE — If there’s one thing Presbyterian Mission Agency mission engagement advisor the Rev. Jon Moore knows about times of crisis, it’s that giving increases — sometimes exponentially.

Which is why Moore gets so concerned when he hears that many PC(USA) churches are preemptively cutting expenses in response to the coronavirus crisis, rather than offering their members an opportunity to increase their giving.

Churches and worshiping communities that do this, Moore said, run the risk not only of damaging their mission but also denying members the opportunity to experience the joy of sacrificing for something larger than themselves.

“People want to help during times of great need,” he said. “It makes them feel alive, fulfilled — like they are making a difference.”

Moore, who works alongside the PC(USA)’s 1001 New Worshiping Communities initiative, will co-facilitate the webinar, Fundraising in a Time of Crisis, with the Rev. Princeton Abaraoha, field staff for  African Intercultural Ministries in the Racial Equity & Women’s Intercultural Ministries.

The Rev. Princeton Abaraoha

Grateful for opportunity to share his experience from an African point of view, Abaraoha related the story of a member of an African community he works with who died. Hearing how the people there weren’t sure what the family would do following the death of their loved one, Abaraoha told them to reach out to a few of the givers in the community. “Tell them how much you appreciate them for what they’ve done before,” he said. “Then tell about the need.”

The people they called gave beyond what they’d given,” Abaraoha said, “to help this family.”

By now, Moore said that every community should have an ongoing contact plan in place to keep in touch with its participants during this crisis. The most personal, interactive mode of communication available — the one with the greatest chance of engendering an emotional response — should be chosen.

“We want to know how each person is doing, physically, mentally and spiritually,” he said. “And we want the opportunity to share how the community is doing, including financially.”

During the Thursday Zoom conversation, Moore and Abaraoha plan to discuss in detail some simple steps on how to have these conversations.

In times like these, both say that people are confronted by the fact that “we are all in this together.”

“As you make your needs known,” Abaraoha said, “always tie it to the mission of the church and to people’s hearts.”

Moore’s hope is that this will be remembered as a time when each church unites to take care of one another and the community around it.

“It’s time to invite people to live deeply into their faith and commitment,” he said, “to experience the joy of making a difference for God’s reign.”

To join in the 1001 New Worshiping Communities Zoom conversation, click here at noon Eastern Time on Thursday, April 2.

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