Last week we talked about five mistakes churches often make when talking about money. If you haven’t already, I’d encourage you to take a look at that article first.
But the conversation can’t end there! Like a good high school principal, I don’t want to simply dole out a list of behaviors that should stop immediately. I want to replace those bad habits with things we should be doing. (Or doing more effectively.)
After spending the past three years working for an online and mobile giving provider, I am obviously a believer in the power of technology to increase giving to the Church. Through that time, however, I have also been confronted with the limitations of technology. Important? Certainly. Enough? Definitely not!
How churches talk about generosity is easily as impactful as the various mechanisms they provide to facilitate generosity.
Or, as I am often heard saying, the “whys” and “for whats” of giving must come before the “hows.”
With that in mind, here are five things your church should be doing on a regular basis to cultivate a spirit of generosity within your congregation.
1. Be Transparent About How Your Congregation’s Gifts Are Being Used
Want to inspire younger members of your church to give more consistently? Just tell them how their donations will be re-deployed for The Kingdom. It’s really that simple. 57% of Millennials say that it is important to them to see the impact of their giving. Among Generation X’ers that number is still as high as 49%. And what’s to hide? Gifts to your church do far more than keep the lights on. They fund outreach projects and missions work both in your neighborhood and around the world. Each of those “expenditures” is an opportunity to celebrate the work God is doing through your church, AND an opportunity to encourage further giving. So share the good news!
2. Lead By Example
In all areas of education, politics, or religion, there is nothing that galvanizes a movement quite as effectively as an enthusiastic and charismatic leader. And so it goes with giving. As churches work to inspire their congregations toward sacrificial giving, there is absolutely no substitute for an honest testimony from the Lead Pastor. Even if that pastor is simply being frank about his personal struggles with giving, his example is the one that will be followed. Are you trying to encourage people toward a new giving channel? Have the pastor try it and then share about his experience. Or maybe you’re hoping to inspire members to give 10% of their incomes for 90 Days. Have members of your leadership team go through that season first. Model the behavior you’re trying to encourage, and your congregation will follow!
3. Use Stories Of Life Change
If you’ve ever received an appeal email from World Vision, The Red Cross, or some other large nonprofit, you’ve probably noticed that their emails follow a familiar formula. Photo + story + appeal. The reason for this formula is obvious…it works! While we’ve already discussed the importance of sharing financial numbers with your congregation, the conversation can’t stop there. Your members want to know about the names behind the numbers. Is there a family in your community that your church was able to support during a difficult season? Tell your people! Is there a couple in your congregation who was burdened by financial fear and stress until they discovered the life-giving power of Biblical stewardship? Tell your people! These stories make generosity personal and powerful.
4. Involve Multiple Ministry Leaders In The Conversation
Generosity is a “team sport.” Everyone on your leadership team has an important role to play. Your Senior Pastor, Executive Pastor, Outreach Pastor, Family Life Pastor, heck, even your Youth Pastor…each of them has a unique perspective to offer and a different story to tell. “Deacon Danny” should NOT be the only one who gets to have a congregational “heart to heart” about finances. Sharing the leadership role does two things: (1) it shows that stewardship is more than just one person’s “pet project,” and (2) it prevents your money talks from being compartmentalized into one corner of your church. Many hands make light work.
5. Don’t Forget The Logistics!
As I stated in the intro, your church needs to be every bit as clear about communicating the “whys” of giving as you are with the “wheres” and “hows.” But that doesn’t mean the “hows” should be forgotten altogether! When considering the inactive givers in your congregation, for some, the excuse may be no more complicated than the fact that they simply don’t know what giving options are available to them. (Apart from the Sunday morning offering plate.) Do you offer online giving? Mobile giving? Kiosk giving? Offering boxes at the back of the sanctuary? Your team has worked hard to provide multiple channels for generosity, but they can only work if your givers know about them! These periodic reminders are also a low-pressure way to “nudge” members toward greater giving.
Note: portions of this article were excerpted from Mogiv’s FREE eBook “7 Ways To Increase Generosity” eBook. Download the full version HERE.