Church Giving During COVID: Reasons for Optimism
God’s people are still giving, churches are learning from this pandemic, and God is still faithful.
October 26, 2020
Generosity goes further than just the occasional gift to your church, or even the regular tithe. It’s a way of life that Jesus has called us to live.
"You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God." —2 Corinthians 9:11
Generosity isn’t just about money either. We are called to bear one another’s burdens, whether they be financial, spiritual, or physical. (Galatians 6:2)
So how do you, as a church leader, cultivate a culture of generosity that goes beyond the occassional call for tithes and offerings?
Teaching about tithing and asking for donations is a must, but if you truly want your congregation to be generous people, then challenge them to do good in the community.
Romans 12:10 says we should “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”
Equip them with ideas for random acts of kindness:
Pay It Backward — challenge your people to pay for the car behind them in the drive-thru.
Restaurant Ambush — When you’re out at a restuarant and you’re about the pay your check, find another family or a couple who hasn’t paid yet and tell your waiter you’d like to pay for their table as well. It’s better to do it anonymously and just let the holy spirit do its work.Community Service — Encourage your small groups to get together to make sandwiches or put together bags of snacks and water. Then deliver them to construction sites, to the homeless, or anyone else outside on a hot day. This can be a fun activity for groups and families to do together on the weekends.Plan for Excess — Families and community groups love to head to the park on a sunny day. They’ll often grill up some burgers or hotdogs and have a picnic. Encourage your people to buy a few extra packs of hot dogs next time they head to the park. Then grill them out and start handing them out. It won’t cost them but a few bucks extra, but it could end up making someone’s day when they get a free hot dog.
The key is to not treat this like a campaign, where everyone does good one week and pats each other on the back. Make this a way of life at your church by continually sharing ideas for being generous in the community.
Ask your people to share about what they’ve done on social media. Then challenge them to outdo one another, and celebrate the wins. You can talk about those stories from the stage on Sundays, in videos, and everywhere you can. Not as a way to get praise, but as a way to encourage others to do good.
If you want your people to be generous, then you must be generous. As a pastor, and as a church, give away more than you receive. Don’t be afraid to promote what you are doing either. You can’t expect people to see your generosity and catch on, so explain it to them and ask them to promote it too. If you’re giving something away, tell them why and ask for their help to share it far and wide.
Share a Starbucks Card — One easy and public way to be generous with your followers online is to share a Starbucks card so people can grab free coffee throughout the week. Just create a Starbucks card online and post a screenshot of the barcode so people can use it to pay. All it takes is $20, but you can spend as much as you’d like. Here’s a tutorial on how to do it. You can also do this with a Dunkin Donuts card, Chick-Fil-A, or any restaurant that has mobile gift cards.
Share Your Resources — Be generous with your resources as well. If you’ve created a great sermon series campaign, a helpful video, engaging social media images, or even a study guide, consider sharing it with others online and encouraging other churches to use them for free. Show your people that the resources you create with their tithes and offerings are build for a greater purpose than just your local community. You don’t have to be a huge megachurch to post your resources online. In fact, the majority of churches and pastors out there will probably appreciate it more if it comes from a church like theirs.
Continually share content that is helpful and inspiring for your followers and members to learn practical ways to better manage their life and finances. Whether that be through social media, training classes, brochures, or all of the above.
It doesn’t always have to be content that you create either. Don’t be afraid to share what is already out there, from trusted sources in the media, financial organizations, other churches, parachurch organizations and more.
When you fill your feeds with helpful content like this on a consistent basis, people will see that you are serious about generosity and that it’s not just something that matters a few times a year.
Lastly, don’t be afraid of the good ‘ol ask. God calls us to be generous and to give tithes and offerings. Don’t rob your congregation of the joy of giving because you are too afraid of what they’ll think when you ask for donations. Be honest and open, but be bold and confident.
Churches who regularly talk about giving and generosity in a biblical context often see a steady increase in consistent donors. If you’re passive with your ask, they’ll be passive with their giving.
If you only ask one time a year, people will think they only have to give one time a year. Teach them that it’s not about the money, but about the lifestyle that God has called them to live.
It also helps to make it easy to give as well. Digital giving is on the rise. If you’ve implemented solutions from Tithe.ly or anyone else, here are some helpful ideas to implement when launching a new giving platform.
We hope these ideas have been helpful for you and your church. It takes time to change a culture, so consistency is key. Try something this week, then try something else the next, and continue until your people catch on. In the end the results will be worth it for your people, and worth it for the Kingdom.