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Thanks for joining us for this week’s unSeminary podcast. We’re in for a real treat talking with Steve Stroope from Lake Pointe Church in Texas.
Steve started as the first pastor at Lake Point Church about forty years ago and has since passed the baton to Josh Howerton. Lake Pointe began with a launch team of about 60 people and has grown to eight campuses with over 15,000 attendees.
Steve is here today to offer practical tips on how we can increase generosity in our churches.
- More blessed to give than receive. // To approach the subject of encouraging generosity at your church, start with examining your heart and perspective on fundraising. Many pastors think that encouraging their people to give may put a burden on people, or give a negative impression that the church is only focused on money. But the truth is church leaders are doing their people a favor when they invite them to be a part of investing in the Kingdom of God. It’s part of the discipleship process for your people to give away their selfishness and invest in others. Sometimes pastors hesitate to ask their people to give because they will have to deal with that issue in their own life too. As a pastor, you can’t speak boldly about this topic if you haven’t come to believe personally that it’s more blessed to give than to receive.
- Giving languages. // Steve notes that there are different giving languages just like there are different love languages. People need to give for a variety of reasons, but they are most passionate when they find the giving language they have and can lean into it. These five “giving languages” include: giving to the general ministry, giving to building projects, giving to missions (spreading the Gospel globally), giving to compassion projects (particularly locally), and designated giving. Some people will give to all five of these categories, but others will only give to one of them, so over the course of the year create opportunities to give to each of these categories in some way.
- Create giving systems. // It’s important to create catalytic systems around generosity that are at work whether you’re thinking about giving or not, ahead of budget or behind budget, so that they can always be running in the background. For example, when someone gives for the first time to your church, send them a thank you card which the lead pastor has signed. When someone gives a second time, send them a story about life change with a photo which demonstrates their giving at work. This letter to a second-time giver should talk about different areas they can invest in, as well as provide information about how they can automate their giving.
- Encourage the spiritual gift of giving. // The spiritual gift of giving should be recognized and encouraged just as with any other spiritual gift. Have the lead pastor reach out annually with a personal, hand-written note to key donors with this gift and those who have been most generous at your church. Build relationships with these individuals or couples and give them the opportunity to provide feedback as well as ask questions about where the church is going. Make it a point to ask how you can be praying for them and their family and add their requests to your personal prayer time.
- Thank them during the rough times. // During difficult seasons like those we’ve had with the pandemic these last few months, send the people who attend your church regularly a short email to thank them for their generosity. Include links to ways that they can keep on giving online during these times when the church might not be able to physically be open.
- Coaching on increasing generosity. // Steve offers coaching on increasing generosity, as well as resource initiatives and raising special offerings for capital campaigns, plus new initiatives and expanding people’s missions. He also loves to do work on hiring new staff. It can be expensive to hire the wrong staff, so Steve works with churches to get the right people on board and then get the best out of the staff.
You can visit Lake Pointe Church’s website at https://www.lakepointe.org/ and reach out to Steve via his email.
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Pastor Steve is wise and does not keep the wisdom he has gained to himself. I am privileged to have been the recipient of his guidance and leadership since 1997.