A friend of mine said: “Grace is free, but ministry takes money”. Although God is not limited by our lack of resources, the church is able to minister more effectively in the community when not strapped for cash to pay the light bill. The end of the year is a great time to help people understand where we have been, how their giving has impacted and changed lives, and what hopes and dreams the church has for next year. In order to be successful at increasing the level of giving in your congregation, remember three words:
Here are some practical ideas you can use this year:
People give more to vision than to need. One church is doing it this way, this year:
a. On Sabbath morning, they will ask everyone to please stay home that afternoon.
b. The elders and the pastoral staff, will visit the members that afternoon.
c. They take with them a short questionnaire that has three components:
1. What’s ONE thing we are doing right?
2. What’s ONE thing we must improve in 2013?
3. They then share 3 specific, measurable, reachable, clear goals for 2013.
The above mentioned church continues the process this way. At the end of the visit, they hand the family the paper with the goals for 2013, as well as an envelope, and invite them to prayerfully consider how they will participate in the vision of the church, which includes giving.
Some pastors feel a little reservation about this. I believe if it’s done tastefully and not with a high-pressure attitude, it can be very successfully. I’ve personally done it in two different churches, with positive results.
People want to be a part of something meaningful, life-changing, and greater than themselves. It’s your job, pastor, to paint that picture to your congregation about how your church will do that next year. Crying about money, using guilt trips or spiritual coercion doesn’t work. Be specific with your dreams. Have testimonies of life-change in your congregation. Paint a picture of what could be, tell them how the story of redemption is been played out in your church. That is done through the worship services, especially the sermon. Once again, inspire them by:
Setting a goal
Using stories more than numbers
Make the year-end offering a month long affair. If you make the offering a ONE Sabbath affair, you might miss 30% of your people. The closest to Christmas that you do it, the more possibility that people are away. DO THIS INSTEAD- Start on the first Sabbath of December and share the total the first Sabbath of January. SET a goal.
What has worked for you? Share it!