The late (and great) Howard Hendricks once asked his seminary class “How much ministry does $100 buy?” He paused and his class considered the question. He went on to answer “About $100 worth!” As church leaders we need to be thinking about the funding of the mission that God has called us to lead.
Is your church struggling financially? Is the vision bigger than the budget? Are you missing opportunities to reach people` just because you can’t fund a ministry?
There is one vitally important skill that you have to master to help fuel the financial side of your mission. I’ve seen this skill make a difference in our campuses over the last couple years. It’s a critical part of our communication process as we interact with our people. Through the “great recession” we continued to post higher revenues year after year. I know that God used this simple skill to help us through the last few years financially. I want to challenge you to work on this skill too!
This important skill is setting up the offering time during your service. I used to think that we just need to move through this part of the service as quickly as possible because our guests think that we talk too much about money. For years I thought that just letting our first time guests know that we don’t expect them to give was “good enough” to set up the offering time. But now I realized that we were missing a huge opportunity! Our guests know we take an offering but they wonder where that money goes. Our long time attenders are invested in what God is doing and want to hear how we’re investing these resources. People are motivated by causes that communicate regularly that their giving is making a difference and I want to make sure that they understand the impact that giving to their local church makes! The way you set up the offering time in your service is a skill that could accelerate your church financially.
There are a number of categories offering set-ups falls into. I want us to mix these up and not overuse one type too much. I want to keep our people guessing when it comes to this part of the service.
- Thank You! // Take time to point out an investment that you’ve made as a church and thank your people for giving towards that. Maybe you just launched a new website that makes it easier for people to listen to messages from your church … take some time to explain the difference this investment is going to make and thank your people.
- It’s Fun to Be Us! // We take a lot of time asking people to come to stuff at church … this is an opportunity to take time to report on stuff that has happened in the life of your community. Connect their giving to this good stuff happening.
- Report on Projects // There are some things in the life of your church that take longer to come to fruition. Use the offering set-up to report on the progress of this special project and connect your people’s giving to that. Are you in the process of launching a new campus? Report in on some progress that has been made.
- Connect to the Message // The message of your lead pastor is at the center of the community life of your church. There will be times when the message will set up a giving opportunity for your people. Connect what people are learning in the message with their giving.
Here are some elements of a good offering setup that we try to hit every Sunday.
- Visual // Show just don’t tell. Have a photo or prop that illustrates the point you are trying to make.
- Story // Move it beyond just facts and figures. How is the offering making an impact in someone’s life?
- Vision // Why does your church exist and how does this offering help propel your vision forward?
- Clarity on How to Give // Don’t make people guess how they can give to your church. In the service? Online? In the mail? At a kiosk?