I was preaching at Hlalanathi in an informal settlement again today. We have introduced 'Planned Giving' which is the giving system used in traditionally white Methodist Churches. The people at Hlalanathi wanted some sort of recorded giving scheme, but we were reluctant to use the 'Pledge System' - I don't really know how that works, but I believe it can be abusive. We have given out ten sets of monthly envelopes and have three on the waiting list. We started giving them out last Sunday and even got the first envelope in the collection today. It is important to us to show the people that we take their giving seriously and to be totally open with what happens to the money. The congregation believes that a previous minister used to take their offering and use it to buy airtime for his cell phone!
I also preached a commitment sermon and did an altar call - a bit difficult without a communion rail! Most of the congregation came forward (about ten people) - probably recommitments - and I am hoping that taking a public step like this will motivate them to take their Christian faith even more seriously.
I am taking the service again next week and hope to build on this! God is good!