By Josh Henry
Life is busy. The list of things that need to get done continues to grow. Sometimes it seems like there are never enough hours in a day. And let’s be honest…you’d love to bring on another staff person, but it seems the finances just aren’t there to support it. You feel stuck.
Sound familiar? This is a common sentiment among pastors I’ve talked with.
But what if, instead of spinning your wheels and trying to do it all yourself, you took a step back and focused on a few simple, specific actions to boost giving at your church?
Sometimes when we’re in the middle of a difficult season and we feel overwhelmed by the weight of it all, we don’t have the brain capacity to step back and get perspective and think about the problem differently.
But what if was possible to bring on another staff person or at least a part-time support person to help carry the load? What if this next season could be about helping you AND your church experience life, and health, and growth?
Are There Ways to Increase Giving at Your Church?
Here’s the thing. I know that God wants to do great things in and through the life of your church. I also know that that means you need to lead your church well – from a place of rest, not a place of burnout. So, first take a minute to stop and breathe.
And then let’s talk about how to increase giving at your church. Because the solution to your exhaustion might just be sharing the need with your congregation.
Here are six simple actions you can take to foster generosity and increase donations in your church this year:
- BEGIN WITH PRAYER
I know this feels a little cliché, but sometimes we get so caught up in our to-do lists and routines that we forget to really connect with God through prayer.
This is the foundation for our ability to lead from a healthy place and grow a healthy church, so spend a moment examining your own prayer life. What does it look like? Is it full of life or stuck in a rut? What kind of example are you setting for your congregation? And are you calling your people to prayer?
When we pray, God listens. Every other thing we do won’t really matter if we aren’t prioritizing this spiritual practice.
- ESTABLISH A VISION-CENTERED BUDGET
According to the CAF-USA-2019 Giving Report, 47% of givers would donate more if they knew how their money would be spent.
I say this a lot, but a budget really does build trust in giving.
Your church members want to know that the money they are faithfully giving is going to make a difference. This means first of all having a budget in place. But it also means that the generosity of your church is impacted by how much your budget is mission-focused and vision-centered.
If your budget simply exists to keep the lights of the building on, that’s not very compelling. But if part of your budget is going to make an impact in the lives of others, that’s something that people can get excited about being a part of.
- SHARE THE VISION
While the very act of having a budget builds trust in giving, and having a vision-centered budget furthers that trust, to truly build excitement, you need to share the vision.
People give to a cause they believe in and feel a part of. God wants cheerful givers, and so do you. When you share the vision on a regular basis, you help people own that vision and get excited about being a part of it.
As Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”
- CELEBRATE STORIES
We are a story-based culture. Stories connect with people and provide clarity. Stories stay with us and stick in our brains. What does this mean for you and for your church?
Continually share stories that illustrate what God is doing in and through the generosity of your church. If you have the capability, record video testimonials that showcase God at work! Or invite people on the stage to share how the resources of the church are being used to impact lives.
- CALL PEOPLE TO ACTION
This is another important tip pastors need to take to heart.
No, you don’t need to sound salesy. But you do need to call people to action. Bodies at rest tend to stay at rest. People tend to continue to do what they’ve always done – unless an outside force calls them to something more.
When we are not bold in calling people to give, we communicate a lack of belief in the importance of giving. You help people grow in their faith and in experiencing the blessings of God in their lives when you call people to take action.
- MAKE GIVING SIMPLE AND EASY TO DO
This is also a tip based on human nature. If something is difficult to do, or requires too much time, fewer people will do it. For example, consider creating a two-question survey. You will get more responses than if you asked people to fill out a 20-question survey.
The same is true for giving at your church. If it is too difficult or takes too much effort, people won’t do it.
Fewer and fewer people carry cash or checks these days. I’m not advocating that you stop passing the plate on Sunday mornings, but it is vital that you think about how to make giving simple and easy to do. Online giving, text-to-give and recurring donations are all ways to make giving simple and painless for your people.
Only God knows what is in store for your church in the coming months.
But my prayer is that by taking a few simple steps, you are able to lead your church to experience greater generosity, financial health and future growth…and, at the same time, reduce the amount of stress in your life.
Josh Henry is a pastor, business leader and visionary. He started Simplify Church, which makes managing church finances simple, www.simplifychurch.com.