4 Ways to Implement Remote Work with Your Church Staff
These four critical strategies could revolutionize the way church staff works.
December 9, 2019
PASTOR! To help you recharge your batteries and create better rhythms, here are six ways you can recharge yourself.
February 23, 2018
Preaching is no joke.
It’s an honor if you have received a call to preach. But the act of preaching is exhausting.
Even though it takes hours to write a sermon and prepare to preach, it’s a daily exercise of faith to prepare yourself for the spiritual battles involved with teaching the Bible and preaching the gospel.
For most pastors, you will feel physically exhausted the day after you preach. As the weeks and months pass by, your physical exhaustion will only accumulate over time. So, it’s vital for your longevity to find a way to recharge yourself during the week and year.
To help you recharge your batteries and create better rhythms, here are six ways you can recharge yourself.
In case of an emergency or to give yourself a break from preparation, prepare a backup sermon—a message you can preach on any occasion.
Depending on your situation, you may not have a staff or a qualified volunteer who can preach in your absence or on a moments notice. And, if you’re at your wits ends or have an emergency to tend to in your church, you may not have the time or the mental or emotional bandwidth to write a new sermon. So, having a sermon ready made to preach at any time will reduce your stress and give you the rest you need when things are difficult.
Preaching is demanding in every imaginable way.
Preparing to preach will place a toll on your mind and emotional well-being. And the act of preaching itself will drain you physically. According to Tim Spivey, some experts have compared the physical toll of preaching a 30-minute sermon to an 8-hour workday.
To help yourself recharge after preaching, it’s essential for you to plan time to recover. If you’re able, prepare to take a half-day or the day off after you preach. Arrange for business meetings or counseling sessions to take place later in the week.
When it comes to recovering, it’s also crucial for you to set boundaries on the day you preach, which leads us to the next point.
If at all possible, avoid scheduling meetings before you preach or immediately after you preach. Preventing unnecessary meetings will help you to guard your energy and stay focused on preaching.
Knowing that preaching will place a physical toll on your body, try to avoid holding meetings or counseling sessions following your sermon. Plan on getting a bite to eat, something to drink, and a break before conducting any serious business.
As a pastor, God does not call you to do everything for everyone. It is not possible for you to do everything the church needs to be done. What is more, it’s also not a good idea for you to preach every single Sunday. So, when it comes to sharing the pulpit and giving yourself a break from preaching, it’s essential for you to develop leaders in your church.
Developing leaders within your church who can preach will take time. Identify leaders in your church who have the potential to preach or who have expressed an interest in preaching. Train them. Teach them. And prepare them to preach. In time, you’ll be able to develop additional preachers in your church who can help to share the preaching responsibilities.
Dear pastor, like everyone else in the world, you need to rest, get regular exercise, and be mindful of what you eat.
We’re not saying that you need to jump on the latest fad (though, this may be helpful in cases). But, what we’re suggesting is that you need to take care of yourself physically, which will help to improve your levels of energy throughout the day and the week.
Also, be sure to drink plenty of water—especially on the days that you preach. Consuming too much caffeine on the day you preach may cause you to become dehydrated and your mouth to get dry, which will make it sound like you’re slurring when you’re preaching.
During the year, make an effort to take extended time off every quarter and at least once per year.
When you are away, fight the temptation to check your emails, text messages, and answer every phone call. Delegate pastoral responsibilities to a member of your staff or volunteers as you are away. To recharge during your vacation, you need to disconnect from your work.
If your budget is tight, don’t sweat it. There are several ways you can take a vacation on a budget.
How do you recharge yourself during the week? Share your tips in the comments below!
In a previous blog post, I shared the different ways your church can thank donors—from automated emails to year-end giving reports. Printed donation letters also play an essential role in your church’s stewardship efforts.
Donation letters are the Swiss Army knife of your church’s gratitude arsenal. It may not be the most powerful—but it’s versatile, handy, and gets used often.
Your basic church donation letter can serve many different purposes, including:
A single, well-crafted donation letter can pull together several of these things simultaneously. Better donation letters lead to more giving, which leads to more donation letters—thus creating a cycle of on-going church generosity.
Here’s the good news—you don’t have to write an individualized letter for every person who gives to your church. That would be tough to do for even smaller churches. And most donors don’t expect you to. They’d rather you be putting their gift to better use in the community, instead of ceaselessly writing thank you notes.
With the possible exception of some unique circumstances, your church can use template language for the majority of your church donation letters. You’ll have to add in custom details like the donor’s name and gift amount, but you can write everything else in advance.
To make this even easier on you, here are a few basic church donation letter templates you can copy and paste. Keep in mind that not all of these have to be in print—you could just as easily turn some of these samples into email appeals.
The Donation Acknowledgement Letter is a basic way you can confirm and affirm a monetary gift to your church. Sending these is standard practice in church and nonprofit culture.
Dear [first name],
I want to personally thank you for your donation of [gift amount] to [church name]. We’re honored you would bless us with your generosity. Donations like yours make a big difference in the work our church is doing in the community.
Without givers like you, our church can’t have an impact or influence in our community. With your support, we’re partnering with local nonprofits, sending out global mission trips, and hosting small groups on topics that help real people like you. Together, we can make a difference.
Because we’re a tax-exempt nonprofit, you also get to write this donation off on your taxes. This letter serves as official proof of your donation, so keep it in your records come tax season. At the end of the year, we’ll also send you an annual recap with how much you’ve given to the church.
Thank you for supporting [church name]!
Not every church member realizes the importance of giving, or understand Bible verses about tithing and giving. So a Donation Request Letter helps to spread that awareness and encourage a spirit of generosity.
Dear [first name],
How are the finances in your household? That was a rhetorical question, so you don’t have to answer—besides, this is a letter so we wouldn’t hear you anyway. But we still want you to think about that question.
Money is a uniquely human issue, one we all struggle with to one degree or another. Even if you’re financially blessed, you still have the burden of stewarding your money wisely. And we believe that one of the best ways to invest your money is into the local church.
Tithing (giving 10% of your income) on a regular basis not only supports the work we do at [church name]. It doesn’t just support local missions and community growth. It also shows an obedience to God by making his work a financial priority in your life.
So if you find yourself ready to put God first in both your heart and your wallet, we encourage you to make a one-time gift or sign up to make recurring donations. That way, you won’t have to ever wonder again about the financial status of your household.
Many church donations aren’t just one-time gifts. Plenty of givers contribute monthly—and that should be acknowledged.
Use this template to correspond with recurring givers.
Dear [first name],
Thank you for being an active and faithful member of our church community. By giving to our church on a monthly basis, you’re showing that our church has a meaningful place in your heart. We just wanted to write this to let you know that you’re in our heart, too.
Donating to the church monthly allows us to preach the gospel, make disciples, and support others in our community who need help. Others like the local food bank and the nearby homeless shelter. We’re answering the cry of the needy, and it’s all thanks to contributors like you.
We earnestly appreciate your ongoing support and want to let you know we’re here for you. If there’s ever anything we can do for you and your family, don’t hesitate to reach out. You are a valued member of our church family. And you’re financial support is making a difference.
At the end of each year, it’s customary to give your church supporters a summary of their gifts. The primary reason is for tax purposes, but it’s also a way to recap everything your church has done over the past year with their support.
Dear [first name],
You’re getting this letter because you gave to [church name] at some point during the past year. That might have been a one-time gift, or recurring donations. Either way, we want to thank you for your generous support. Every contribution helps.
One of the official reasons for this letter is for tax purposes. That’s right—you get to write these donations off on your taxes. Which is why we’ve included a summary of all the contributions you’ve made to our church this year.
But the other reason for this letter is to let you know what we’ve done with the money you gave. We take stewardship very seriously, which means we value spending our time and resources wisely.
During the year, our church supported local nonprofits, sent global missions teams, and baptised quite a few people. It was a great year for us—thanks in large part to donors like you.
So thank you for your support of our church, and we hope you’ll consider continuing to contribute to our mission in the coming year.
Sometimes you need to make a more significant financial push using tried and true church fundraising ideas. Some churches call this a Stewardship Campaign or a Church Capital Campaign. Either way, the goal is to raise a certain amount of money for a big project. And typically, a solid letter of appeal is an integral part of that.
Dear [first name],
God has a plan for everyone and everything. That includes you, and it includes [church name]. None of us can fully know God’s plan—the best we can do is pray and listen for clarity. Our church leadership has been doing just that and are excited to announce our latest church project.
[Detail the outline of the major church project—this could include a building campaign, or raising support for a global mission trip. Anything specific to your church that requires a fundraising letter. Be sure to include a fundraising goal so everyone knows what you’re shooting for.]
But we can’t pull this off without your support. Whether you give to the church on a regular basis, or just attend on occasion, we’re asking you to consider contributing to this massive undertaking prayerfully. It’s something we need our entire church community’s help with.
Even if you can’t make a large gift, know that every little bit helps. It’s more about coming together as a community united behind a common cause. We hope that you’ll consider making a donation towards this great step forward that we’re making together.
It’s not enough to just copy and paste this content and send away. The key to an effective church donation letter is a touch of personalization. Follow these tips to take your donation letters to the next level:
There’s no one right or wrong way to write a donation letter or request contributions. You’ve got to do what is right for your church and congregation. But if you stick to these general tips, you’ll probably start to see some traction when it comes to giving.
Most people don’t love talking about money in church. But it’s a necessary and vital part of your church. And maximizing your efforts when it comes to donation letters will help make those conversations more comfortable. So what do you do next to put this into effect?
And if you’re looking for ways to grow your church’s giving capacity, Tithely can help.
Tithely’s systems make it as easy as possible for people to give to your church. Now all you need to start doing is generating a culture of gratitude. There’s nothing standing in your way. Go unleash generosity in your church.
How does your church use donation letters to spread generosity? 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.