We often discuss with church leadership that the local church is the most overlooked charity in estate stewardship and legacy giving. It is not that church members are opposed to supporting the ministries and mission efforts of their church in this fashion. Rather, it is primarily because most church members are never encouraged by their church leadership to consider giving a part of their estate to their church.
In most churches, the stewardship focus has been on tithes and offering giving that comes from members’ income and “liquid assets,” which may represent only a small portion of a member’s net worth. Certainly, it is good for the church to instill this discipline of current giving, but the discipline of financial stewardship should also include an attitude of legacy giving.
What is a legacy gift?
• It is a gift over and above tithes and offerings. It is a gift out of assets not out of income.
• It is a gift that can’t be put in the offering plate.
• It is a gift made considering the giver’s overall estate and financial plans.
• It is a gift that uses tax-advantaged methods to accomplish the giver’s objectives.
• It is a gift that may require professional adviser assistance to complete the contribution.
Developing a coordinated legacy giving effort is how the church can equip its members to be “Kingdom focused” with their resources. The legacy gifts that transpire from the churches’ stewardship education efforts will most certainly provide additional “above and beyond” financial resources that will permit your church to enhance and expand its ministries.
The great news for church leaders is that they are not alone in preparing this type of Christian estate stewardship education for its members. An active part of the Foundation’s ministry is the presentation of seminars on estate planning and legacy giving at KBC churches and associations.
An excellent first step for your church to begin developing a “Legacy Minded” culture is to contact the Kentucky Baptist Foundation. We welcome the opportunity to explain our legacy gift development services. You may contact us at our toll-free number (866) 489-3533.
Richard Carnes is the president of the Kentucky Baptist Foundation, P.O. Box 436389, Louisville, KY 40253; toll-free (866) 489-3533; KYBaptistFoundation.org