By Curtis Smith
Like any nonprofit organization, churches often struggle with the most effective way to raise money from their parishioners.
There are, of course, the traditional ways, such as the passing of the basket, but there are other ways to appeal to churchgoers and to encourage them to aid in the growth and livelihood of your institution.
Here are some ways I have seen clients find success in raising funds for their church.
An intentional prayer ministry will do more to increase your offerings than any other emphasis of the church.
2. Vision Statement
According to a recent survey, churches that have a written vision statement are growing faster than churches without a vision statement. Church growth will impact offerings to your church.
If members and guests believe your church will make a difference in your community and world, then they will give more to the ministry of your church.
3. Positive Atmosphere
Eliminate negative promotions such as the weekly/monthly budget requirements in the church bulletin or newsletter. Even in the best giving churches, your weekly/monthly offering will not meet your weekly/monthly giving requirements at least two times a month/year.
The impression is created that your church is not healthy because your church is behind on giving when, in fact, you may be ahead of yearly requirements. Your people give to make a difference rather than negative budget requirements.
4. Ministry Action Budget
Your church budget should be a road map to the ministry concerns of your church. Your budget should guide your church on how to spend the money God has entrusted to your church family.
A church budget based on ministry, not numbers, will impact the budget positively and cause your members to be excited about what God is doing in their midst
5. Offering Envelopes
Believe it or not, the old system of a member receiving a box of offering envelopes does increase giving. The weekly provided offering envelopes remind your members to give to God’s work in your church.
When your church is focused on missions, they will have little time for infighting and disagreement. Your guests and members will give to your church when they see you focusing on others and making a difference in your world.
7. Move Your Offering to the End of the Worship Service
Worship service giving normally will increase 10 to 20 percent if the offering is collected at the end of the worship service as opposed to the traditional collection time at the middle of the worship service. The offertory is a natural way for individuals to respond to God’s message.
8. Received Offerings During Bible Study
When individuals are accountable and loved by a small group ministry like Bible study, individuals will give more to the church. A Bible study growth campaign will increase giving in the church, too.
9. Conduct an On-Going Stewardship Emphasis
Biblical stewardship should be taught as part of regular ministry of your church. An annual stewardship emphasis will have insignificant lasting impact on your church members.
You, as pastor or church leader, do not need to apologize for teaching the biblical perspective of Christian stewardship that God is the owner of everything. Teaching stewardship is equally important as any other teaching of the church.
10. Enlist Stewardship Testimonies
People can read about tithing and giving, but really not change their personal habit or practices.
However, if someone they know and respect shares how God has worked in his life concerning biblical stewardship, then the hearers are more likely to practice biblical stewardship in their lives. Tithing testimonies during the worship services and Bible study really do work!
11. Practice “Empowered Spending”
Your ministry leaders and church staff should be empowered to be able to spend the allocated money within a budgeted line item without the finance committee or church treasurer approval.
Your finance committee/treasurer should be aware of the spending through a possible purchase order system, but the committee/treasurer’s involvement should be only to carry out your church’s wishes.
Empowered spending eliminates one or two people controlling the finances of your church. Individuals are more willing to give if the person thinks he has true influence on how the money will be spent.
12. Bless your Staff Financially
A church that blesses its staff financially will, in turn, be blessed. If your pastor does not have to worry about family financial concerns, then he will be able to focus more on ministry. In turn, the church and pastor will be blessed.
13. Model and Teach an Attempt to “Out-Give” God
As a pastor or church leader, you should try to out-give God. Of course, this is impossible, but it works! People want to be part of a church focused on God and His ways.
14. Conduct Revival Services
A revival of God’s people should always lead to increased offering. As people move closer to God, they will give out of their abundant blessings to the Lord’s church.
15. Biblical Financial Principles Taught
Biblical Christian stewardship concepts and principles should be taught as an ongoing ministry of the church. Believers constantly need this spiritual instruction. Do not apologize for it.
These tips, and other advice, can be found through a trusted financial advisor.
Curtis Smith is with Thrivent Financial, a financial services organization that helps Christians be wise with money and live generously, www.thrivent.com.