Investment giving does impact the local church. When members work in partnership with God for Investment, they receive personal blessings. The church finds the collective spiritual interest activities increasing as well. In fact, some report that internal strife fades as matters of contention lose their importance, replaced by the focus on raising funds for missions.
I’ve talked to dozens of people about what their projects mean to them, and the overwhelming response has been that Investment increases their faith in God.
It seems that many Sabbath School leaders have forgotten about the importance of Investment. Others give Investment unimportant status. “Who cares?” some ask. “The Investment offering never amounts to much anyway.” In 1999, however, the total amount of Investment turned in from the world field exceeded US$2 million.
Set a goal.
When you have no specific, measurable objective, your efforts may fall short of what they could have been if you’d had a target.
When you go on vacation, you usually have some destination in mind before you start. Some vacations, of course, are built around wandering about, seeing the beauties of nature -- even that is a goal.
After you decide on a destination, you plan how many miles you want to travel each day and where you will spend your nights along the way. So by making an ultimate goal and deciding on sub-goals, you usually arrive at your intended objective.
The same holds true for Investment. Decide how much you want to raise. Then decide how much you need to raise each week or each month to reach that objective.
Stagger the goals.
Some projects receive their dollar payoff at the end of the season -- harvest time, for instance. But even in this case sub-goals are needed for plowing, planting, weeding, and cultivating. These sub-goals provide checkpoints to ensure success and to help keep interest high.
Many projects have been used to help the church reach a predetermined amount of money that the Sabbath School wishes to reach.
Let’s walk through the idea of staggered goals using three of the ideas that have been used successfully by many church members.
Quilting: A group decides to make a quilt and sell it for Investment. They will set a date when they wish to complete the quilt. They will also set dates to finish certain segments of the project.
Sales: The first goal is to decide what you will sell -- everything received or specialty items, such as children’s clothes, furniture, white elephants, etc. The next goal is to find a storage area for materials that people donate to the sale. Set a cut-off date for receiving sale items and a sale date. Set a date to review how the project went and a date to report to the church.
Loose change: The first goal is to get the money into a receptacle at home each day. The second goal is to deposit the money into a receptacle at church, perhaps a five-gallon jug. The next goals are set as periodic reports. The final report completes the project.
Utilize goal devices.
Adult divisions may develop goal devices with or apart from the children’s divisions.
In designing goal devices, try something interesting: Launch a rocket ship, put leaves on a tree or feathers on a bird, build a church by sections. Try something new each quarter that will spark the imaginations of your members.
Perhaps the staggered goal approach can work here as well. First, have a goal-device-making marathon. Gather all interested parties into an area with chairs and tables. Provide some materials -- paper, pens, water colors, etc. Encourage participants to bring additional materials if they’d like. Possibly encourage classes to work together.
You could get enough goal devices to last for a few years. Be sure to affirm all participants and not just those whose projects are scheduled for use. Take pictures while people are working and develop a bulletin board display.
Also consider having a talented member provide computer-generated certificates for participants and give them out as part of your monthly Investment program.
Thurman C. Petty, Jr.
© 2006 General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists