This section is from the "How To Pay Church Debts And How To Keep Churches Out Of Debt" book, by Rev. Sylvanus Stall. Amazon: How To Pay Church Debts And How To Keep Churches Out Of Debt.
Where the method to be used is such as to require a soliciting or canvassing committee, the greatest care is to be exercised in the selection. They should be of such (a.) as are willing to inconvenience themselves, forego pleasure, lay aside their own business, and give the necessary amount of time to this important work. (b.) They should be such as have the success of the undertaking at heart. (c.) They should be only of such as contribute (whether the amount be much or little) to the full extent of their ability. Then their influence will be salutary, and their words have weight with others. (d.) They must be persons of influence because of their consistent Christian lives. (e.) They should be persons not easily disheartened, or soon discouraged. (f.) Should be such as are not of hasty temper, easily provoked to anger, or given to injudicious speech. (g.) If possible, avoid the selection of all such as are odd, eccentric, morose, long-faced, fault-finding, repulsive, overbearing, dictatorial.
You will see by the foregoing something of what you should at least seek to be, if you would be fitted for the important work for which you have been chosen. A few additional suggestions may be of service.
1. The first thing necessary is to secure a complete list of all persons who should subscribe something. Do not slight the poor, nor forget the women, nor such young persons as are earning money. No members of the family should be slighted, not even the children.
2 As nearly as possible, learn what amount each person on the list would be able to contribute, and apportion the entire amount to be raised among the various individuals. If the committee cannot apportion it, they will not be likely to raise it. In going to the various parties it will be found necessary occa-sionallv to increase or diminish the amount, but it will serve a very excellent gunge.
3. Much caution must be exercised to prevent penurious persons from escaping by subscribing some trifling and insufficient amount. It might be better to leave such persons until the last, rather than have the subscriptions of others decreased because of the niggardliness of such individuals. The cause would really succeed better without them, than with them, if the rest of the congregation could only see it in that light.
4. Always regard with suspicion all hints, insinuations, and offers of liberal help upon uncertain conditions, but which cannot be reduced to a bona-fide subscription.
5. If the subscription is started with the understanding that a certain amount is to be raised, or the subscription is to become null and void, there may be some, as has elsewhere been the case, who, in a moment of zeal or personal pride, will pledge more than they subsequently think best, and then openly, or secretly, exert themselves to defeat the success of the effort. Much patience and prudence are needed in dealing with such individuals.
6. "The subscription book should specify when the several sums pledged shall be due and payable, and it is generally wise to have them divided into installments to accommodate the maturing liabilities of the trustees or building committee growing out of the contract. People in ordinary circumstances can pay a subscription in three or four installments, several weeks or months apart, easier than they can pay the whole at once. And, if the subscribers understand that these payments are arranged to accommodate the obligations of the trustees to the builder, they will be much more likely to pay promptly."
,1. As the securing of funds for liquidating a debt, or carrying forward a new enterprise, is only a means to an end, viz: that the church may become more efficient in saving souls and rendering men better, be very careful what means you use to secure the subscriptions. Do not quicken such passions as the gospel of Christ is designed to allay. Do not appeal to pride, vain glory, selfishness, or a spirit of emulation, and leave the religious affections unawakened, or but partially enlisted in this great work. Touch the main-spring appointed of God to move the soul in the performance of duty in this matter. Place the main reliance on the main motive - the heart. Let your appeals be such that each subscriber shall be rendered better in proportion as you enable him to see his duty, and induce him to contribute from scriptural motives and religious principles.
8. Frequent reports should be publicly made to the congregation. As all who contribute are sure to become more interested in the success of the undertaking, they will always be anxious to learn what progress the committee is making. The report of the committee, with the names of subscribers and amounts pledged, may be read each Sabbath by the pastor, when making the various announcements for the week, or printed reports may be distributed through the congregation gratuitously. Every member of the congregation is a partner in the business, and should be kept informed in regard to all that is being done by the committee. It is a great mistake to keep the paying church Debts.
subscriptions secret, or fail to report how the money is disbursed. Fair, open-handed dealing is by far the best, both for the success of the undertaking and the protection of the committee.