David Bennett | Director of Financial Development
Last month, I wrote about a church board that asked, “What can we do to increase the giving in our church?” When asked what they needed the money for they answered, “We need to close a budget gap.” Additionally, they needed funds to hire more staff. So I suggested several steps. One of those steps was to create praise and not pressure during the offering time. One way to cultivate praise to the Lord during the offering time is to tell stories of where they have seen God working in, around, and through the church. Someone could have come to Christ or a teen could have been impacted at camp or other youth event. We could see God working through a small group or through a missionary the church supports. Regardless of the specific event, the point is to let people know that God works through the ministry because people gave. I realize that God works without money. However, I also know that He works with money. Churches have building expenses, salaries to pay (God works through those people we pay) and other ministries to perform
Many churches do not think about what is said before the offering is collected. Some say something like, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” or “ God loves a cheerful giver.” So lets give cheerfully as God has blessed us. Both are Biblical and appropriate. I suggest going a step further by highlighting how God is working in and through the church. While there is no guarantee of increasing giving, many churches have experienced significant increases in income, even doubling what they receive within 5 years.
To take the next step, some have asked, “So how often do you recommend giving these testimonies before the offering time? How do you come up with these stories? Who should tell them?
How often to share a testimony of God’s work in and through the church: I recommend providing testimonies every week because churches normally take an offering weekly or have a box in the back of the worship center for weekly offering. In addition, there is little downside to promoting the ways God is working in the church if the truth is communicated with passion, in a condensed manner while being sensitive to the audience. However, once a month moves in the right direction. I’ve seen churches try to start sharing testimonies weekly. However, the time that it takes ti find a story, then craft it to present in 60 seconds in a powerful way can be overwhelming especially with a staff that is busy.
How to find stories of God’s work: The easiest way to do this is to look around the church and identify evidence of God’s presence. You can see the things He does like change lives through act of generosity and love. Also, people growing in their commitment to Him and His people through evangelism, discipleship and taking on new leadership and service roles.
You can also assign staff or key volunteers to share with you how they see God working in their ministries. Their incentives for doing this could include the opportunity to promote what is going on in their ministries, helping the church as a whole and a side benefit may be that they could even find more workers in their ministries once people hear the effect the ministry is having on lives.
Another way to find stories is examine all the ministries of the church which help you fulfill your vision and highlight one of them each week. For example, your mission may be something like “ to equip people to become fully devoted followers of Jesus.” The ways you may do that could be through evangelism, discipleship, leadership development and missions. Some have shared how someone in their church came to Christ. Some have shared how a member gained enough courage to share Christ with a friend or member. Others have demonstrated how small groups have impacted a participant. For the churches who support NextGen, you can share how we have started churches, helped churches gain health and growth along with raising funds for building and ministry. Feel free to contact me for those stories or for a free short video testimony from a church planter.
Another way to find stories is identify a ministry you want to promote. If you are promoting small group sign ups, share a testimony of someone who has been impacted by a group. . If you are recruiting people to join a mission team, share how a volunteer or a person at the mission has been impacted.
Another way to find stories is to share a giving testimony once a quarter. This could be on the 5th Sunday. Giving can be a struggle, a spiritual struggle for people. Sometimes people ask. “How can we give when we barley have enough money to live on now? How can we give when we have debt that needs paid? What if we need that money sometime in the future? What if my spouse doesn’t want to give?” Struggles with giving can go on and on. However, when someone shares (or gives permission for another to share) their struggle with giving and how they made it through that struggle, many others can be encourage to grow in their giving. Others can share the joy they have in giving. This could include first time givers or people who have stepped up to giving to God first (before they pay any other bills) or giving a percentage of their income or whatever they have done.
I am grateful to our churches and individuals who support our ministry making it possible to resource and serve high level leaders. If you are interested in discussing how you could increase the income/stewardship/generoity of your church, feel free to contact me, David Bennett.