By Bob Pritchett
Fall and early winter are historically the most popular giving times for churches and ministries. Between Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and #GivingTuesday, there are ample opportunities to remind church members to give generously.
Those serving on the spiritual frontlines of ministry are well aware of how taxing 2020 has been for the church financially. But members who have faced their own forms of fiscal struggles at home may not have the idea of giving as top of mind this season and would benefit from encouraging reminders to be faithful with their finances.
Although most every church member is well-intentioned when it comes to giving, a smaller amount is likely to follow through without regular reminders. But toward the end of the year and holiday season is an excellent time to set a precedence of generosity going forward. This helps congregants to enter the new year with a fresh perspective on the importance of giving and equips churches to create more realistic budgets for the coming year.
With all the changes churches have gone through in 2020, the thought of organizing a giving campaign with already extended resources does not appeal to most ministry leaders, understandably. But what if I told you that your church can have a successful year-end by implementing just a few simple steps?
The following five tips will help your church to experience a generous giving season this fall:
- Practice Corporate Generosity
It’s difficult for congregants to remember to give when it isn’t an evident part of church culture or something they see their leaders living out. I’m not talking about bragging about tithing more than 10% or letting everyone know when you make a financial donation. Instead, make giving an integral part of church life by hosting serving days, encouraging people to support under-resourced church members such as single parents and regularly sponsoring missionaries and missions that depend on outside funds.
You can incorporate these reminders into weekly church announcements and even encourage congregants to find local causes they are passionate about to help such as homeless shelters, halfway houses and health clinics.
- Teach on Giving Regularly
It’s expected for pastors to teach from the pulpit about giving as Thanksgiving nears, but why not extend the topic to before and after the holidays? Jesus mentioned money more than once in the Scriptures, which shows that He thought it was important. There are multiple Bible texts about money from which you can teach on a Sunday or in a small group setting, such as the parable of the 10 talents in Matthew 25, the story of the widow’s mite in Mark 12 and Luke 21, and the passage about giving and reaping generously from 2 Corinthians 9, to name a few.
Like everything good in life, money is another gift from God that Christians are called to steward, but it is a topic on which many believers are under-informed. You never know how a simple message about stewarding and giving one’s finances could open someone’s eyes to the reality that money is not something about which to feel guilty, but a resource God wants us to manage, multiply and give back to Him.
- Make Giving Easy Through Technology
In some settings, passing the plate or having a box in which people can leave cash or checks is still ideal, but if there is one message the events of 2020 have sent, it’s that churches that offer online accessibility can reach more people. Hopefully, by now, your church has adapted to streaming sermons online, but what you may have yet to incorporate are mobile giving options.
Enabling a text-to-give option or setting up a church website with a donate button is easier than you might think, and it ensures that people can continue to give no matter where they are in the world. As many people continue to socially distance at home or travel for work, giving on the go is the only way they can.
- Tell Members About Your Church Goals
Hopefully, your church has some kind of vision for the upcoming year of how they want to impact their community for the kingdom of God. Perhaps you are looking to expand your facilities to accommodate a growing church body, invest in a program that will help your church to be fully digital or create a new ministry to meet members’ needs. Whatever the task at hand may be, your church members will ultimately be impacted by it, so they should know it’s coming and how they can help.
Be transparent with your church body about what you all hope to accomplish and what that will require. Diligently remind them that having faith in God’s ability to do hard things we can’t accomplish on our own is a biblical principle and faith exercise. This will not only help your immediate goals but help congregants to put giving into perspective as they realize the impact their faithful giving can have on the community.
- Encourage Generosity in All Areas
Learning to be generous with one’s finances is difficult if they don’t practice and witness generosity in other areas. In addition to encouraging people to trust God with their finances, communicate the same message concerning other assets as well, including time and energy. Equally important as leaders modeling financial generosity is demonstrating a heart of generosity in all things. Cultivating a church culture where people are willing to volunteer their time to ministry, open up their homes for gatherings and offer their transportation to those who have none is going to give more willingly.
A church that gives generously is a church that honors the Bible’s teachings about money and bolsters its local community. To help your church launch successfully into the new year and encourage a generous congregation, consider implementing these five tips as soon as possible. It is never too late to become a more giving church.
Bob Pritchett is the co-founder and CEO of Faithlife, a church technology company helping churches grow in the light of the Bible with more than 14 products, including Logos Bible Software and Faithlife Equip, www.faithlife.com.