"I wish we just had more money.” I have heard many pastors say that very thing. The reality is, ministry and money go hand-in-hand. Pastors often feel under the gun to generate more money to help fund more ministry initiatives. Most pastors aren't lacking vision as much as they are funding. There are some basic things churches and leaders can do that help foster a spirit of generosity or, if poorly executed, can have a negative impact on generosity.
Here are five things to consider implementing that will foster a spirit of generosity:
1. Have multiple giving venues
There are many statistics showing per-member giving increases as churches offers more giving venues. What opportunities can churches provide? I recommend all churches provide these four venues at a minimum: offering during the worship service, online giving, mailed offering envelopes to regular attenders and givers and automatic deductions from members’ bank accounts. Consider two more options to implement: giving kiosks in the lobby and having small group ministries occasionally take an offering.
2. Purposeful and meaningful vision with goals
People will give more if they see the church has a goal that will make a difference. “Increasing total gifts by 10 percent” is not a meaningful goal or vision. People wonder what return their money will have. Giving 10 percent more to move the gospel forward in a specific zip code is more meaningful.
3. Talk and teach on money
If you are leading you will talk about money and stewardship. Jesus talked about it regularly and taught us money is a way to see the heart. It is inexcusable as pastors and leaders to not talk and teach on the theology of stewardship. Consider using a new member orientation as another avenue to teach people about giving and to give clear expectations.
4. Have a transparent financial reporting system
There are people and will always be people in your church that care about your numbers. If people sense that pertinent financial information is being withheld or miscommunicated, they tend to give less or nothing at all. While that does not mean every financial statement provides endless details, it does indicate that church members will have a clear idea of how funds are given and spent.
A few things to consider: a) Send out quarterly giving statements with details on where people are at in their yearly giving. Always have a letter that accompanies the statement, clearly spelling out the vision of the church and connecting the dots for people to see how their money is making an eternal difference. b) At the end of each fiscal year give a state-of-the-church report with enough detail about the current financial setting and goals for the coming year. c) Talk about money as much as possible from a positive viewpoint rather than from guilt or fear.
5. Provide opportunities for people to give to special projects
Some people are project people. Having specific goals will compel some to give in big ways. In your quarterly statements, consider sending a list of current needs, including everything from TVs, to furniture, wall art and even a church van. You never know who might step up to fill a much-needed hole.
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