When it comes right down to it, why do people give to your church? Do you know? Have you asked?
In case you haven’t noticed, the days when people gave to your church simply because it was the expectation are long, long gone. We’ve been through multiple financial crises in the past several decades, and many Americans are still reeling from the consequences — job losses, foreclosures, reduced incomes. And quite honestly, lots of Americans are skeptical that the church is going to manage their money well. They’ve seen and heard too many negative stories around church financial management to believe that the church is a good investment.
Here’s your chance to prove them wrong. By changing the way you approach the traditional giving conversation, you can significantly change the way people think about giving and finances in your church. It takes just a simple shift in your approach and your communication, which comes from this concept:
People give to a vision, not to a budget.
When your givers see how their gifts are going to be used to positively change the world around them, they’re that much more likely to give, and generously. Here are just a few ways you can help inspire generosity on a regular basis:
- Show how the gospel story is the ultimate example of generosity. Please understand, the gospel should not be used to guilt people into giving. But when clearly taught by people who’ve already signed on for following Jesus, God’s gift of His son to a world that would reject Him is the greatest gift there ever was.
- Show people how their gifts are making a real, tangible difference all around you. The work your church is doing is truly making life better for people down the street and around the world. As often as possible, invite in local leaders from the ministries you support and visiting missionaries who can tell the stories of the real difference your church’s gifts are making. When you can’t get the actual people, utilize video to capture those stories and share them in your worship experiences and across your social media channels.
- Show people what’s happening in their own backyards. By no fault of their own, just the circumstances of their daily lives, many of your members and regular attenders may not know of the needs that exist around them. Show them the needs around them by doing some homework. What ethnic groups are in your area? How many single-parent households? How many people are living in poverty? Needs often hide in plain sight, and your church can be inspired to help meet them once they know they’re there.
- Show people you can be trusted. Make sure that financial reports are available for anyone in your church who wants them. A simplified, one-page version of your budget is often enough. Just letting people know that you’re prepared to be transparent with your financials is often enough to help overcome any lingering distrust.
- Show them they’re ready for the challenge. Once your church is more aware of the needs around them, don’t be afraid to set a challenge. Choose a weekend where your entire congregation is encouraged to give a tithe (10 percent) of their weekly income — or monthly, if you’re ready for it! Encourage people to give in faith and to watch what God does in each individual life.
People following Christ and growing in their faith often do want to give, but they’re frequently at a loss as to how start or whether it will really make a difference. By showing them exactly how and where their gifts will be used, you can inspire your church to new levels of generosity and outreach.
How are you encouraging your church to give? Are you sharing the vision for your ministry with them on a regular basis?