Peter Lynch’s spot in the list of greatest investors stems in large part from his work with the Fidelity Magellan Fund between 1977 and 1990. During this thirteen-year period, the fund posted an annual average return of 29%, beating the S&P 500 index in eleven of the thirteen years, and building the fund’s assets from $20 million to $14 billion. The fund had the best twenty-year return rate of any mutual fund in history.
Lynch’s top rule of investing was to know what you own. He once commented, “If you stay half-alert, you can pick the spectacular performers right from your place of business or out of the neighborhood shopping mall, and long before Wall Street discovers them.”
The decision to purchase most of his stellar stocks took place while he was in stores with his wife. He simply observed closely what people were buying.
Paying serious attention to trends in our midst and adjusting to accommodate these can be the difference between prosperity or death in the life of an organization. All of us have heard the refrain, “Change or die.” The thought behind this is that change is inevitable and those entities which recognize this and take appropriate action steps are those which generally survive.
Nokia Corporation is a Finnish multinational communications, information technology, and consumer electronics giant founded in 1865. The company has produced multiple product lines since then as diverse as rubber boots and toilet paper as it has morphed with the times. Yet it is a sobering fact to discover that only seventy-one companies remain today from the original 1955 Fortune 500 list. Blockbuster, Kodak, and Pan-Am were once successful companies. Look at Sears and J.C. Penney, both formidable enterprises which have been around for many decades. They are struggling to survive given the realities of the modern marketplace.
The church is not exempt from the trends happening in the environment in which it functions. There was a time when checks and cash were the only two recognized means of receiving weekly tithes and offerings.This is not the economic venue in which the church finds itself in today’s world. As long as checks and cash exist these will continue as an option for giving in the church, but they play an increasingly diminishing role as a means of funding local church budgets.
Wise is the church which hears the wake-up call regarding the trends in giving that have now become well established in our culture. Credit cards, debit cards, automatic bill pay checks from your bank, ACH transactions, donor advised fund distributions, and even text messages are now widely accepted as modes of giving. Several of these options cost nothing to the church. Those which do become a cost of doing business.
The changing demographic in our churches necessitates options which align with the way that people choose to handle their financial business. This includes charitable giving. Many churches have experienced phenomenal increases in giving once new avenues for making donations are in place. Perhaps your church leadership needs to give serious consideration to your processes currently in place to facilitate giving.
Proactive change now may be the lifeblood for tomorrow.
- What is your preferred method of making charitable donations?
- What options does your congregation make available?
- How does your church need to adjust to accommodate giving trends?
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