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.
Perhaps no plan has been more generally used in this century than the well-known form of subscription. It has some advantages and some disadvantages. The principal trouble with the subscription plan is that it affords no reliable guarantee that the amounts subscribed will ever be paid. In the minds of many people it is too lightly regarded. While the subscriptions can be collected by law, yet we have never known one to be thus collected. Dr. Porter mentions a case in which $27,000 was subscribed, and less than $6,000 was ever paid. There are always too many conditions suffered to enter into the subscription plan. Too long a time is allowed to elapse between the date of the subscription and the date of payment. Persons may lose their zeal, or become offended, or estranged, and seek occasion for finding fault, or excuse for not paying. In these and various other ways the losses on subscriptions often lead to serious embarrassment.
In order to overcome these difficulties it would be well to make the subscription more explicit than is usually done. It should always specify when the various amounts pledged shall be payable, and to whom they shall be paid. The object for which the money is to be raised should be clearly stated, and all the conditions should be incorporated in full. "If any subscription is to be paid otherwise than in cash, this should be stated. All fictitious subscriptions obtained for the purpose of inducing others to subscribe, or to subscribe more largely, invalidate all that follow them. If the object proposed shall not be undertaken, the subscription is not binding."*
*Rev. James Porter, D. D.
No specified form is necessary to render a subscription legal. They may be variously constructed to suit the requirements of the case. We give a couple of forms :
----------------, N. Y., Oct. 1st, 1880.
We, the undersigned, members and friends of Trinity Lutheran Church, do hereby subscribe and agree to pay the amounts set opposite our respective names, for the purpose of erecting a new church edifice, the same to be constructed of brick, the cost, when completed, not to exceed $35,000, the same to be all subscribed and one-half paid into the hands of the trustees before ever the contracts shall be awarded or the Work begun. The amounts of the various subscriptions are to be paid to the trustees in two equal installments; the first installment shall be payable as soon as the entire amount necessary shall have been subscribed, and the second installment six months thereafter. Should the conditions stated above not be complied with, the various subscriptions shall be null and void.
We, the undersigned, severally agree to pay to the Treasurer of the First Presbyterian Church the sum set opposite our respective names for the purpose of liquidating the debt and paying the mortgage upon
64 PAYING CHURCH DEBTS, the parsonage of said church, one-half on demand, and the balance three months after the demand for the first payment.
------------------Pa,, September 12, 1880.