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.
The annual subscription is a modification of the annual collection plan. Annually the subscription is circulated among* the congregation on Sabbath, or a solicitor goes from house to house during the week. These subscriptions are placed into a common fund, and then apportioned by the pastor, or council, to the various objects. This putting all benevolent objects together, and then attempting to do the work of an entire year in a single act, is as absurd as it would be to take the bread, and meat, and potatoes, and all the other food required for an entire year, and placing it all together, attempt to eat it at a single meal.
The disadvantages of this method, or want of method, are evident:
1. It is inadequate in the amounts which it secures. If the church will repent of its sin and return to the ordained law of the tithe, the condition of the whole world will be revolutionized. The discovery of the law of gravitation, or of electricity, or the application of the power of steam, or the laws of sound - none of these, nor all of them combined, have wrought greater changes in philosophy, or in the physical condition of man, than would be wrought in the life, energy and efficiency of the church and the spiritual condition of the world, by a return to God's methods for the accomplishment of God's work.
2. It allows selfishness and covetousness to acquire overmastering strength. Constant giving tends to abate the force of avarice, but these annual plans nourish the besetting sin of the church, and give to "covetousness, which is idolatry," the seal of orthodoxy and respectability.
3. It affords no opportunity for presenting the great causes of the church and awakening in the minds and hearts of the people that interest which will enlist their prayers for God's blessing upon the objects toward which they are asked to contribute.
quarterly collection plan. The quarterly collection is a great improvement upon the annual method, but it lacks that element of frequency which would enable it to bring the church up to its standard of duty and privilege in giving. If some cause is to be presented quarterly, and simply a basket collection is to be taken, the system has numer-ous defects. Some will absent themselves, and others will be unavoidably absent when the collection is taken. Stormy weather, sickness, absence from home on the part of members, and other causes, will have a damaging effect upon the collection. If the cause be missions, and the day be pleasant, and the house full, under the inspiration of the occasion and subject, the pastor "may talk so long that some would lose interest and give scarcely anything. Some may have sustained losses during the week, which make them feel poor on that particular Sunday, while on another Sunday, after a prosperous week, they would feel generous; one has left his pocketbook at home; another has forgotten to bring money." These and other difficulties have to be met.