Generosity

6 Hard Truths About Church Giving

Generosity

6 Hard Truths About Church Giving

Talking about money in the Church is hard. But money is a reality every church needs to deal with. Not only does your church need to learn to get better at discussing money, but you’ve also got to face some harsh facts about church giving.

1. Religious giving is in decline

According to fundraising statistics,  charitable giving in the U.S. actually rose in 2017. But the percentage of contributions given to religious organizations went down. Religious giving is currently less than one-third of charitable donations , down from over half in the 1980s.

There’s no doubt that the decline in giving is due, in part, to the explosive growth in the nonprofit sector. People have more options of places to give, and most of them are not religiously affiliated. When people want to help solve issues in our culture, they often look for places outside of the church to meet those needs.

How can we help to change that? The church needs to step up in addressing how we help fix some of our cultural issues. We need to show people how we’re relevant in solving real-world problems.

2. Not many people give

Despite the fact that the Bible compels us to give to the  Church, most Christians don’t. Of the 247 million U.S. citizens who profess to be Christians, only 1.5 million tithe. That’s less than 1%.

As a society, we’re a little better. But the average American still only gives about 2% of their income to charity every year.  It’s a shame that we as Christians are below the average when it comes to giving.

What if we could be known as the most generous people. What would it look like if every believer gave? Think about the difference we could make in the world. Think about the example we could set for others. Start by helping your church to become more generous.  

Related: 11 Ways You Can Increase Giving at Your Church

3. Giving skews older

Age plays a role in giving.

According to the Giving USA Special Report in 2017, most people who give to religious organizations are 65 and older (54%). People under the age of 40 are less likely (23%) to donate to the  Church.

This makes sense. Congregations are getting older. Older folks have a more established income and are more likely to have fewer  expenses. So it makes sense that church giving will tend to skew towards the older generations.

But it doesn’t always have to be this lopsided. If the  Church is going to become more relevant and experience growth, we  will need to motivate millennials to give and raise up  younger givers. As a church, we need to figure out how to engage other generations to contribute in meaningful ways.

4. Giving is needed

The good news is God doesn't need our money to make an impact in people’s lives. He’s the omnipotent creator of the Universe. He’ll find a way to get by with, or without us.

The bad news is that your church does need money to make an impact in people’s lives. God doesn’t have to worry about utility bills, staff salaries, and travel expenses. Your church does. That’s just a reality of the world we live in .

This doesn’t mean your church needs to change its ethical standards to chase money. But we do have to show people the importance of giving and make it easy for them to contribute. There is a balance here that’s completely possible for every church to hit.

5. God commands us to give

“One tenth of the produce of the land, whether grain from the fields or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord and must be set apart to him as holy.” —Leviticus 27:30

There are plenty scriptures about giving in the Bible. Many examples from Scripture show how giving back demonstrates our faith in God. We cannot serve two masters, so we give to show our deference to the Lord.

Maybe we aren’t technically required to give exactly 10% of everything we earn. Jesus never wanted us to be legalistic about how we donate. After all, God loves a cheerful giver—we should be doing this out of a love for  him, rather than any obligation.

6. How we give is changing

Online giving and mobile giving increases every year and will only continue to do so. This change scares many churches because they don’t feel prepared. But we should be excited, because this is a great opportunity to reach more people, especially in the younger generations.

As technology shifts, so will how we donate. But the church cannot ignore these changes or risk getting left behind. Learn to embrace online giving. Give people the option for mobile and text in church donations. The more ways people can give back to God, the better.

What are some hard truths your church faces with giving? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Editor's Note: This is a guest post from Robert Carnes. Robert is a writer and storyteller. He's the author of The Original Storyteller: Become a Better Storyteller in 30 Days. A former church communicator and nonprofit marketer, Robert works as a managing editor for Orange in Atlanta.

Expert Tips on How to Effectively Launch a New Online Giving Tool

01
Make it accessible so people can give in the way that is most comfortable to them. Don't make it hard for people to give money.
Some people like to give online, some like mobile, some like text. Whatever they like, let them give in that way if you can.
02
Brady Shearer
www.storytape.com
Talk about it every single week. Consistently promote it on every platform. 
Be patient. We all resist change.
03
Michael Lukaszewski
www.churchfuel.com
Launch it to your staff, your leaders, and your volunteers (in that order) and help those groups use it before you launch it publicly.
04
Teach it in your new member class.
Allow for people to sign-up right on the spot via their mobile phone (or through a laptop or iPad for those that don't have a mobile device handy).
05
Justin Dean
www.thatcc.com
On launch weekend, have volunteers and staff accessible with iPads to walk people through how to set up an account and get recurring giving configured.
06
Daniel Irmler
www.churchhero.com
On a regular basis, tell stories from members who are using and loving it. 
You don't don’t need a big production value shoot. Keep it simple by using an iPhone (horizontal) and a decent mic.
07
Invite your congregation to take out their phones and download the mobile giving app right in the service.
08
Nik Goodner
www.crtvchurch.com
Explain the why behind the change and highlight the benefits of the new system. 
People like to be "on the team".
09
Kevin Ekmark
www.church.org
I always tell people, "you need to clean your house before you invite friends over". It's crucial that your giving platform is easily found, whether it's on the web or in the church. 
On the web, making sure that your website is mobile friendly (Google and Bing both recommend mobile responsive design) can be a huge help. You can also incorporate bots from Facebook or a service like Intercom to help walk people through online giving on your website. When necessary, a human can jump in and help too. This helps complete the process from being found online to completing the online giving.
10
Logan Fields
www.theappguys.org
Tell them the real reasons. Giving members are concerned with what's best for the church and not just what they individually prefer. Transparency.
"This platform will allow us to better manage finances and spend less staff time on the books and more on people." etc. The temptation is to treat members like consumers who we need to impress instead of team members. Treat them like equals who you assume are interested in what's best for the church/ mission and people will likely rise to it.
11
Kenny Jahng
www.kennyjahng.com
Launch a $3.16 campaign. Ask people to all give just $3.16 to a weekly or bi-weekly blessing fund. Then, pick one person or cause to bless IN TOWN and go give that person all the money collected.
  • It could be the all volunteer firefighter squad in town. "We'll take all the $3.16's collected and go buy a meal or treat and drop off for the firefighters who volunteer."
  • It could be a widow the church knows about - bless her with something new for her home or hobby or pets.
  • Single mothers - supply them with a night out. Or pay for a house cleaner or a handyman for a couple of hours.
  • Special needs families - pay for evening out for the parents and child care for the special needs kids so the parents get a break.
  • You can ask for "sponsors" in the future, getting people to nominate good causes (let the youth do this!) and let them deliver the blessing and report back each sunday.
  • You can ask for "sponsors" in the future, getting people to nominate good causes (let the youth do this!) and let them deliver the blessing and report back each sunday.
This works incredibly well because you are teaching generosity / outward posture to your people on a consistent basis and getting people to give on mobile- while making it about PARTICIPATION vs AMOUNT. You'll have people regularly trying out the mobile option as well as pre-register them in the system.

There you have it! Some amazing tips, right?

Which tip stood out the most to you … or looked to be the craziest?! Share with us in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you!

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6 Hard Truths About Church Giving

Tithe.ly

Tithe.ly powers mobile, text, and web giving for
churches and ministries.

LEARN MORE
Sign Up