Here are the answers to last week’s quiz:
10. Know Your Numbers.
Pearson’s Law states, “That which is measured improves. That which is measured and reported improves exponentially.” Here are some important numbers to know: average giving per worshiper, new givers, how many stopped giving (and why!), aggregate giving by age group.
9. Remember the Church in Your Will.
These simple words, repeated in every bulletin, newsletter, and at the bottom of every letter that goes out, will inspire some members to leave a gift to the church in their estate plan. It will probably be the largest single gift they ever give.
8. Be a Servant Leader.
I mean something very specific when I use the term “servant leader.” Have one-on-one conversations with your people, know their struggles and their dreams. Then, translate that directly into a vision for your congregation, and trumpet the vision at every opportunity. Find ways to institutionalize the vision.
7. Start Tithing.
In my experience, about one-third of pastors tithe. If you are one of the two-thirds who do not tithe, it’s time to make a change. There is nothing legalistic about tithing, but if you want to speak about faith-filled generosity with integrity, you must tithe.
6. Preach About Stewardship.
Four times per year, minimum. This is different than asking for money. Stewardship encompasses every aspect of the Christian life, including our finances. “No one can serve two masters.” Help your people experience freedom from our western addiction to consumerism. “Where you put your treasure, there your heart will go.” Jesus talked about it – so should you. Here’s a start.
5. Ask Your Tithers Why They Give.
This is very closely related to being a servant leader. Spend some time with your tithers (notice, I didn’t say biggest givers – there is a difference). Find out what inspired them to make that commitment. It’s not about the money – it’s about faith. Use their words in your sermons. Ask them if they’d be willing to witness to how God has led them to give, why it’s important to them.
4. Launch Online Giving.
Offering is an act of worship, and the offering plate is still an important component on Sunday morning. However, online givers are more regular in their giving. The most generous people (and those who are happiest about being generous) are disciplined in their giving, and have made it a habit to give. Also, younger givers don’t have check books and rarely carry cash with them.
3. Start an Envelope Service.
An envelope service mails a package to your givers each month. Included in the package are enough envelopes for every Sunday of the following month and additional envelopes for any special offerings (Christmas, Easter, Building Fund). They also offer the opportunity for the pastor to include a special monthly message, just for givers.
2. Plan Your Next Crisis in Advance.
This is a little bit tongue-in-cheek. However, you probably have important unmet capital needs that the congregation could address, if presented with a sense of urgency. The roof will leak if not maintained and replaced when it’s useful life is over. The T-12 flourescent bulbs are not manufactured anymore, and their magnetic ballasts are costing you more money every month on your electric bill.
1. Ramp Up the Annual Stewardship Campaign.
Working primarily with mainline Protestant churches, I’ve seen a lot of tired, worn-over fall pledge campaigns. Some churches have even given up the pledge campaign, “because we all know what we’re going to give.” Seriously? I’ve also seen revenue increases between 8 and 42 percent (42!) when energy and vision are pumped back into the annual fall pledge campaign. When every household in your congregation is tithing, then you might consider retiring the annual pledge campaign. Until then, continue to teach your people the joy of faithful, cheerful giving.