Vol. 2, Issue 12
Produced by CE National
Shall we speak of money?!$
Some of us maybe should put the (Offering) in the worship order in parenthesis. Others maybe should type it in ALL CAPS. Probably depends upon our backgrounds and our nerve.
Either way, we must all talk about it, partly because Jesus did but also because many ministries do not get done without money.
I used to often begin a special pastoral moment on regular or expansion giving with an honest, “We do not talk about money much here, but….”
So here comes Pastorpedia with our thoughts about our roles with money. We don’t do this very much….
Knute, for Jeff and Jim, and for you in purpose.
Download the PDF or scroll down to watch the video and read the text.
Considerations for regular giving
- When you’re thinking about regular giving/offerings throughout the church, it is critical that you regularly speak of people’s need to give. It needs to be clear that giving is part of our follow-ship of Christ, so when we’re giving to the Lord’s work, we’re not just giving to support the church or because the church needs money. We’re actually responding to God, in a worshipful way submitting our finances to God.This lesson needs to be taught consistently with grace and love. It is as normal a part of our teaching as urging time in God’s Word, prayer, or fellowship; it’s a normal, natural part of teaching the Scripture.
- It always helps people to know where their money goes, so celebrating what happens with the money is a big part of giving. Having “missions’ moments” (e.g., highlight videos of events or cell phone videos of missions’ trips). All these remind people that we’re giving to the Lord’s work—and ultimately to people. We’re not just giving to electricity bills and parking lots. They feel the emotion of results.
- Finally, about regular giving: don’t be defensive or aggressive with it. Cast vision, invite people in, speak straightforwardly, but know that this is a natural part of life and ministry.
- Talk about it from the pulpit…we talk about everything else!
- Remove the “designated giving” tag except for special offerings. Your budget allocates the giving.
- If people are unaware of the needs, how can they ever give to them?
- Show them regularly how their giving is connected to transformed lives. Mission, mission, mission.
- Make it an expectation of your leadership team: “as the leaders go, the church goes.”
- You must pave the way by giving and sharing your own personal stories.
- Pray for your church to be generous givers. Prayer is the engine that drives the local church.
- If we are going to pastor people, we are going to help them be generous givers who enjoy giving. The Bible is clear.
- If we do not enjoy teaching about this or leading the way, we should just do it any way, smile, and read the third section here.
- People need to know regularly how their budget-ministry money is changing lives and helping people. So they need to hear testimonies and emotion, not just numbers and percentages.
- Treat the offering as an important part of the worship service, noted clearly and warmly. (And “receive” offerings, do not “take” them!)
- Analyze your church budget regularly, with a goal set for how much of the offerings go “outside your walls” (local and global missions, but also gifts to needy people, evangelism, ministries to the city). This should be 15-40% in healthy churches.Most churches follow a separate guideline that staff costs should stay below 40-43% of total budget (not counting special capital campaigns).
- Be sure the financial committee that oversees the origins and keeping of the budget is reporting to the main visionary, oversight board of the church and not a separate board or committee. Many churches endure conflict of this strong team that is separate from the main board and staff.
Essentials for special fund-raising
- When you go to raise special capital dollars, I believe it is very important to simply look people in the eye and tell them what we need. Do not “over spiritualize” these special efforts, but instead tell people that you have a good idea or unique opportunity, and you’re asking them to support it in a unique and special way.
- Don’t be frustrated by the amount of time that it takes to cultivate giving to these efforts. Know that for people to give above and beyond their normal giving, you have to cast vision, and that has to be done in relationship.
- Another key is to know that major donors think differently than monthly donors. Most of the people in our congregations, if they think about giving above and beyond, would think about adding $25 or $100 more to their monthly tithes. When you’re asking people to give tens of thousands or even millions of dollars, it takes time, vision, and credibility to have people invest on those kinds of levels. Take the time to nurture the relationship, respond to them with the information they need, and don’t be frustrated if they ask you to do a small version of your big idea in order to prove “your theories.”
- When raising special dollars, communicate, communicate, communicate! We will often have “Vision Dinners” in which we try to sit down with people over the course of several weeks and walk them through the big projects that we’re doing. This is a normal part of our financial life and strategy here at Grace, and while it is a lot of work, the main outcome of these dinners is not more finances, but a unified vision and excitement about the direction in which we’re moving together.
- Have your facts in order. Be ready to show that the project has been prayed over and thought through diligently.
- Paint the vision unapologetically. Help them see that what they are about to give to is the best mission to get on board with.
- Connect people to the mission. People give to people, not just projects. How will lives be helped?
- Give them ownership of the project.
- Celebrate the wins along the way. We are good at asking but we aren’t as good at celebrating how God has moved.
- If possible, get people to go with their money and see first-hand the people, the place, and the area where their giving is going.
- Know that they will regularly be part of a growing church, and will be hard on the senior pastor, who must lead the way, though other leaders will have strong roles.
- Mission, mission, mission—clearly know and explain why we are doing this. People need more than facts and figures, but see the emotion of how people will be helped in the name of our Lord.
- Believe the facts made clear by people who help churches with this all the time—time lines, main team to lead, chair couples and leaders, publicity and prayer needs, the fact that lead giving must amount to about 50% of the goal and be done or pledges before the public ask, etc.I have watched many churches try to circumvent these or “make it low key,” and they usually succeed in the low part.
- Plan, plan, plan. Dream, dream, dream. Pray, pray, pray. Smile, smile, smile. Mission, mission, mission. Lead, lead, lead. But I repeat myself J.
Getting over our personal hang-ups
When it comes to getting over our personal hang-ups when asking for money, what we have to do is get over our personal hang-ups when asking for money. 🙂
- It simply takes resources to build the church and resource the movement of God. I make no apologies for asking people to give to something that is valuable to God and valuable to them. I think of people giving as a simple necessity in order for us to do what we need to do. I talk to them about it in those phrases.
- If someone’s going to be offended about giving to save souls and to help people, then they’re going to be offended about something sooner or later in your church no matter what. So when you’re casting the vision of the Lord, and when you’re asking them to participate in something that is eternal and life-changing, there’s no apology. That ask should be done bluntly, gently, and unapologetically.
- I estimate that it takes about 50% more financial resources than what your average budget is, to really advance the church forward. And if I truly believe in what I’m doing, and I truly believe that God has called us to do it, then I’m going to get out and do the hard work of casting that vision and helping other people rise to the task.
- Don’t let the few who say, “All they ever talk about is money,” keep you from asking. (Besides they probably won’t give anyhow. Pray that God changes their hearts!)
- I have found too that once people stop giving it is the first indicator that they are leaving.
- If you don’t ask, someone else will.
- Jesus talked often about money and He said it was a heart issue. Our role is to help our people grow in their walk.
- Don’t ever say someone’s No for them. Don’t make assumptions that they will say No.
- People want to be asked. Way too often we think just the opposite.
(Thoughts on Easter Crowds)
- Give them a good first impression. Smile from the pulpit!
- Love them—don’t point them out.
- Share the gospel in a compelling way. Many of your guests are unsaved.
- Go all out and give your very best on this Sunday.
- Take time to let them know what is happening next, to attract them back.
- Pray, pray, and pray more for God to soften their hearts to the gospel.
- Just do it.
- See the Bible commands. We often do things we do not especially like to do when we obey our Lord.
- Keep your “master schedule,” even when the extras about the extra campaigns are there! Family time, prayer, exercise, proper breaks—these help us with the pressures.
- Think of the results—for regular giving and special campaigns. They will bring great joy!
- Learn from visionary pastors and leaders. Jeff and Jim are among them. Do not put them in separate categories, but realize they and all who have pastored well in this area have done it because it was good for the church and for the glory of our Lord, not because it was always fun.
- The results will be fun—in the wide sense of that word.
Pastorpedia is produced monthly by three experienced pastors: Jeff Bogue, of Grace Church, in several locations in the Bath-Norton-Medina areas of Ohio; Jim Brown, of Grace Community Church in Goshen, Indiana, a church known for its strong growth, family and men’s ministries, and community response teams; and Knute Larson, a coach of pastors, who previously led The Chapel in Akron for 26 years. Pastorpedia is brought to you by CE National. Visit cenational.org/pastorpedia for more issues and to read the bios of our contributors.