I have been thinking about, and talking about the whole 'giving' thing. It is something that I have to take seriously as a Vicar, as a broke church is a fairly closed one.
When we talk about 'giving' in church life, we are more often than not talking about dosh / wonga / cash. Entire campaigns are planned and orchestrated so that we may pursue the Mighty Dollar, at times (in my opinion) with a sense that God is a coin-operated fairground ride. In other words, you pop your coin in the slot and God will whir into action like a celestial automaton.
This said, bankruptcy is a sure blanket to mission - just so you know that I can be balanced!
The goal, often, is to secure financial resource. In doing this, I believe very strongly that we massively de-value a resource that we already have - the time and talents of our people.
If we think about church life, in many cases we have the wheezy cleric somewhere there, surrounded by a panoply of willing volunteers. Stewardship drives often centre around paying the bills, central to which (in the Church of England) is Parish Share / Common Fund. It is in many ways our mortgage payment. It is the means that we pay people like me and house people like me, so I have to defend it! But I cannot, do not and should not run a church alone.
Taking but one example in a church where I used to be, there was a lady who helped do the flowers. She was a qualified woman and could (and did) demand hourly rates in three figures. She worked hard and then then spent four or five hours a months doing floral displays for the glory of the worship. Her efforts may have been recognised once in a while with a passing thanks, before she returned to the world of work to be paid hundreds of pounds an hour for her time. In actual terms, the 'value' she brings to the parish could be (and should be) valued in thousands of pounds per months. If she stopped doing the flowers but gave an extra twenty a month, we would regard it as a win.
I use this example to illustrate a point, that in church life we de-value or undervalue the time given to us. If I priced up the time given freely in my present community, and were caused to buy it in, it would generate a bill of hundreds of thousands of pounds per year.
When someone commits to giving us a hundred pounds a months, we celebrate and we play fanfares. When someone offers to mow the church lawn twice a month, it might generate a grateful grunt. Some church communities are hard-pressed for cash. I would argue that the value of the gift of time that they count on daily makes them rich beyond measure, but that when we don't see or smell the cash, we forget its value. We could usefully learn from the commercial world that appreciates skills and values them. We could usefully learn that lesson.