Generosity needs to be baked in, not bolted on.
There is a lot of conversation about how to encourage people to give to your church. [Like this!] Part of the generosity equation that isn’t spoken about as much is how a church itself can be generous. My experience has been that as people see churches investing and making a difference, that generosity is reciprocated. People want to see that we’re being good stewards of the resources given to us, so they feel better about being generous to our church.
Is your church generous enough? Or are you hoarding the resources that people trust you with to build your own fiefdom? Here are some ways to increase the generosity quotient at your church:
- Commit to a percentage of your budget to give away. // Most churches articulate that they would like people to give a percentage of their incomes to the church. We say that sort of discipline generates a generous spirit in people. Is your church doing the same thing? Are you giving a percentage of every donation away to other ministries or causes that don’t benefit your church? Work hard to give in places where it doesn’t come back to benefit your church. Set the percentage and then aim to grow it every year.
- Talk about giving during your staff onboarding. // Are your staff giving to the church? Do you ask them to tithe their income to what God is doing? Is it an expectation that they are generous towards the church? If not … why? If your leaders aren’t giving to the church, it will be difficult to generate a generous culture. The time to talk about this is when your team members start … after that, it’s just awkward.
- Don’t be cheap with volunteers. // Your volunteers are your unpaid labor, your core community and your donors. Volunteers give to our churches so staff can generate great experiences for them to serve. Get your volunteers the supplies they need. Feed them if they are going to be serving with you for more than a few hours. Spend money on your volunteers … that generosity will be noticed.
- Commit to a few partners. // Too many churches spread their compassion or benevolence giving way too thin. Giving to multiple organizations is a sign that the church doesn’t want to say “no.” With too many partners, you give at such a low level that your gifts don’t make an impact. Pick a few partners and invest heavily in them. That will develop deeper relationships between your church and those organizations. It will also ensure you get great reporting and communication back from the organizations that you can pass along to your people.
- Thank liberally. // Regularly take time during your service to thank the people who give to your church. Most Sundays at our church, we point to where we’re spending money and thank people for giving to the vision. Send handwritten notes to new donors. Take time to meet with people when they give. Sacrifice time in your schedule for the people who give financially to your church.
- Inform your team. // Your staff control the investment of the donations given to your church. They make decisions on a regular basis about how to spend those dollars. Bring them in on the process by keeping them informed about all things financial at your church. Connect the dots for them between how we choose to invest and how that will be seen by donors. Let them know how the church is doing financially and ask them to find ways to be generous with resources. Trust them to be good stewards and then monitor what happens.