Church Revitalization Podcast – Episode 104
In last week’s episode of The Church Revitalization Podcast, we talked about Three Budget Hacks to Grow Your Church and focused on maximizing your existing budget. This week we’ve flipped the coin over to the other side, and we’re looking at ways to actually increase giving in your church. Spoiler alert: there is no magic, but there are strategies.
It’s important to remember that money is a ministry resource just like our people, time, and facilities. For some reason, it’s easier to talk about increasing our building size, spending more time at church, and growing our congregation, but money is frequently off-limits or even vilified.
We’ve worked with a lot of churches, and some are blessed with an abundance of finances, and some struggle all the time. Of course, there are many factors that may predispose a church to greater financial resources such as location, size, and demographics of the congregation. If everything was equal in those respects, there are still things that one church could do that would provide different results from another. Here are three.
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Make Giving Easy
Churches that do well financially take money in through a variety of platforms. Those tried-and-true envelopes in the back of each pew sure are easy to slip a check into, but when was the last time you saw someone under the age of 50 carrying a checkbook?
Online church giving isn’t new anymore, people expect it. In fact, the term “online giving” is now dated too. Text-to-give and apps are where your church needs to be. We’re not saying burn the envelopes, we’re saying meet your people where they are and don’t assume the envelope is where you’ll still find them. According to nonprofitsource.com, churches that accept tithing online increase overall donations by 32%. If your church has been reluctant to change, it’s worth consideration.
Don’t assume that just because you offer it, people will automatically know what to do with it. Take the time to explain what the options are and how to use them.
Talk about Generosity and Money
Some pastors avoid it like Covid. Jesus didn’t. Our everyday lives depend on and are deeply connected to money. The church should be where we gain wisdom in dealing with it. Money is a relationship of sorts and it can be healthy or unhealthy like any other relationship. God’s Word provides great wisdom for how we should relate to Himself, others, and money. Why would we gloss over or avoid the latter?
Scripture clearly shows the generosity of the Jerusalem church in the first century, and it carried outward into the churches that Paul and others worked with. For the Jews, going to the Temple for the purpose of offering was a central component of the culture and faith. They are models for us today, so this becomes a discipleship issue. Too many churches have distilled the Christian life down to (shallow) worship and fellowship, and left people in crisis situations with real-world problems.
Developing holistically healthy disciples of Jesus will improve people’s financial lives personally, and churches collectively.
Show Them Why
Because the plate is coming by is not a compelling reason to put something in it. I attend a very generous church. Every Sunday I learn more about what the church is accomplishing with people’s gifts. They speak of it. They show pictures and videos.
Everyone knows that there are bills to pay, and the staff needs paychecks. If that’s all the congregation is there for, then what’s the point of being there? You can’t spend all your sermon time telling people how their life would be better with Jesus and then not show how people’s lives are getting better with Jesus.
Why does your church exist? What is it doing? How is it making a difference locally and around the world? What are you working every day to accomplish? When you begin to ask and answer these types of questions, then you’ll begin to see people’s attitudes change towards giving to support the ministry.
A church I attended previously engaged in a debt-reduction campaign. That’s not usually something that would be very successful on its own. Paying off debt, or in our case the building mortgage, is not terribly compelling. That’s not what was talked about though. The vision that was presented to the congregation was for what our church could do if we weren’t paying so much to the bank every month. That vision was for big missions giving. For a church already inclined culturally towards missions, that vision was a sweet spot.
So how did the church respond to the ask for $2 million dollars over 2 years? By giving $2.5 million in 20 months! Why? Because we were going to give away $1 million dollars to missions projects the following year. It was a big ask with a big reward. Not a penny was given to reduce debt, but 250 million pennies were given to change people’s lives around the world through Jesus.
Discern God’s vision for your church. Talk about it. Ask people to contribute to it.
BONUS: Get a free Team Discussion Guide in the video description on YouTube.
A.J. Mathieu is the President of the Malphurs Group. He is passionate about helping churches thrive and travels internationally to teach and train pastors to lead healthy disciple-making churches. A.J. lives in the Ft. Worth, Texas area, enjoys the outdoors, and loves spending time with his wife and two sons. Click here to email A.J.