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Church Stewardship Ideas
By: Brian Kluth

There are proven ways in which churches of all sizes have increased offerings. Here are 10 creative ways to increase offerings by 10 to 25 percent.

#1 - Generosity Devotional and/or Financial Sermon Series
Hundreds of churches are successfully using the "40 Day Spiritual Journey to a More Generous Life" Bible devotional to inspire greater generosity and increase giving. Using this in my own church, we our giving increase an amazing 41 percent in the weeks following sending the devotional to every family in our church and my preaching a financial sermon series.

Pastor John Maxwell has taught thousands of pastors Biblical stewardship principles at pastors' conferences he puts on. He says teaching an annual four-message stewardship series is the single most important thing he does every year to help people grow in their spiritual and financial life. He has done this every year for 20 years.

Only one of the four messages he gives specifically deals with giving money. Over the years, some of the month-long themes included: "God's Challenge, Our Choice," "Taking the Stew Out of Stewardship," "The ABC's of Stewardship," and "It's a Matter of Trust."

Be sure to try and use real-life illustrations in your sermons. Tell people how the Lord has creatively provided for you and/or others you know who faithfully honored the Lord in their giving. When you teach from the head it goes to the head, but when you teach from a life, it goes to a life. 

#2 - Outside Teaching Resources That Will Teach Christians How To Become More Generous and Better Manage Their Finances
Use teaching materials from one of the following sources:

* MAXIMUM Generosity's "40 Days to a More Generous Life" Bible Devotional
* "Financial Funnies" Cartoons
* Willow Creek Association's Good Sense Ministry
* Check with your denomination to see what they have to offer or would recommend.

These excellent materials for small group financial Bible studies, Sunday school classes, stewardship campaigns, or seminars will help take people in your congregation to a whole new level of financial peace and Biblical generosity.

#3 - Personal Giving Testimonies
Before the offering is collected, have an individual or a couple give a personal testimony about how the Lord has taught them to give 10 percent or more to the Lord's work as their first and highest financial priority. Have them also briefly explain how they've felt about this decision and how the Lord has blessed them for their obedience.

Some churches with video equipment have done these as taped interviews and then played them during the service. Use weekly questions from the www.GenerousLife.info devotional to help people develop their generosity story/testimony.

#4 - Designated Giving
Allow people to give designated "over-and-above-regular-gifts" to a building project, mission's offering or annual faith promise, renovations, or special needs. These usually do not have a negative impact on regular giving.

#5 - 90-Day Tithing Challenge
There is only one place in all of Scripture that God invites us to "test Him" and that is in the giving of tithes and offerings. When John Maxwell was still pastoring, once a year, he would issue a 90-Day tithing challenge and promise to return any funds given during this period if people did not experience God's help in their financial lives. 

Following the month-long stewardship preaching series, his church would ask regular givers to turn in a card saying they will tithe the next year. He would ask non-tithers and new people to sign a card saying they would begin to tithe. The church offered a full refund to anyone who tithes for 90 days and then regretted this decision. 

#6 - All-Church Tithing Sunday
Challenge everyone in advance to bring a full 10 percent of their income as an offering to church on a designated Sunday. A second option is to have people write on a card (without indicating their name) how much their tithe "would be" if they gave 10 percent of their annual household income to the church.

Tally this information and report the totals back to the congregation. People will be amazed to discover that if they faithfully gave 10 percent of their income to the Lord's work in their local church, that they could expand the church budget two to four times for missions, staff, regular operations, and building/renovation projects.

#7 - Pre-Offering Bible Verse, Comments and Offertory Prayer by a Church Leader
I attended one church where a church leader or lay person would read an appropriate Scripture verse on finances, stewardship, or giving before the offering, make a few personal comments about why it was meaningful to him, and then pray for the morning offering.

#8 - Effective Use of Your Church's Giving Records
Put Biblical reasons "why to give" to the Lord on the bottom or back of your giving records. Send out quarterly giving record reports to your congregation with a financial newsletter. Encourage your congregation concerning the value and importance of their faithful giving. 

#9 - Outside Guest Speaker
Bring in an experienced financial or generosity speaker. This can be done during a Sunday message, for a weekend seminar, or for a midweek estate planning session. A qualified and quality outside speaker can clearly teach God's word on a Biblical perspective to finances and generosity without fear or timidity.

#10 - Start a Christian Financial Counseling Ministry
Have a lay person in your church begin a Christian financial counseling ministry to help families in trouble. As families begin to get their finances in order, they'll begin to faithfully give to the Lord's work.

I have seen churches that have used just three or four of these ideas and have increased their giving 10 to 25 percent or more!

Brian Kluth is the author of the world’s bestselling 30 & 40 Day www.GenerousLife.org devotionals used by over 2,000 churches to inspire generosity and increase giving, the founder of the www.MAXIMUMgenerosity.org church stewardship website and free eNewsletter for pastors, and the founder of the www.StateofthePlate.info research on church giving.

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