How Cryptocurrency Is Changing Church Giving for the Better
Read this article for the definitive guide on giving and receiving cryptocurrency gifts at your church.
November 20, 2019
Here are seven ways you can extend the life of your sermon.
June 18, 2017
Do you ever feel as if your sermon does not live beyond your church’s parking lot? If so, then you are not alone.
This is a common struggle for most pastors and a tremendous burden.
As a pastor, it can be difficult to experience the joy of preaching. Most pastors spend 10–18 hours every week preparing for their sermon. Add on top of this visitations, counseling, and everything in between, preparing for your sermon can be challenging.
What is more, after preaching, it can feel like the message you delivered is overshadowed by the lunchtime hunger pangs of your congregation. Regardless if this feeling is real or perceived, it leads to a heavy emotional burden.
Do they care?
What’s the point of spending so much time in prayer and preparation?
Why do I even preach?
Thankfully, you don’t have to feel this way.
In extending the life of your sermon throughout the week, repetition is key to helping the people you serve to learn and live the lessons God is leading you to share. Today, you have the opportunity to engage your people throughout the week with your sermon. You and your team can reinforce the message God is sharing with your church through many touch points.
Below are seven ways you can extend the life of your sermon. We understand this creates extra work. After you read through these tactics below, if you do not have a staff, then consider finding a volunteer to help.
Before we get into the tactical details, it’s best to have a plan in place. This way you can concentrate your efforts, get a team in place, and know that you’re making progress.
First, if you’re just getting started, then it’s best to start slow. This is a marathon. Not a sprint. We would rather see you set up to succeed than crash and burn in a fire of disappointment.
Now, below are some questions you can ask to develop your plan. Read through them now. But revisit them at the end. You will be in a better position to develop your plan then.
These questions will help you think through the content related to your sermon you want to share throughout the week.
There are several ways you can share Scripture and quotes from your sermon:
For this last point, there are several resources you can choose from, such as Canva, Over, and Adobe Spark.
The goal of writing a blog post is to reengage your congregation with your sermon in a written format.
Blog posts work best if they are based on a specific topic. Look for sections from your sermon you can adapt into a blog post. This can be a bulleted list, one specific topic you addressed, or something you think is important for your church to hear again.
For your blog posts, you can use your notes to expand your thoughts to help your congregation dive deeper into the passages from the Bible you preached from.
Does your church have some small groups that meet throughout the week? If so, then read on. If not, then feel free to skip to the next point.
The goal of using your sermon for small group curriculum is to help your congregation apply the message to their life. Think about it this way: Your sermon is a general message for your church. However, in small groups, you can help people take this general message and apply it specifically to their life.
To do this, here are four types of questions to consider asking:
Podcasts are a great tool to reinforce your message. They can be listened to at any time or place. Whether someone is exercising, mowing their lawn, or driving in their car, they can listen to a podcast of your sermon.
For your podcast, consider recording an intro. Your intro should run 15–30 seconds. During your intro, it’s important to share the name of your church, your mission or vision statement, and your website URL. When mentioning your URL, it’s a good idea to say it at least two times.
Does your church have a Facebook Page? If so, then consider using Facebook Live to share your sermon.
This is a great way to reach shut-ins, people who are sick or on vacation, and people in your community.
This option is free, easy to use, connected to your Facebook network, lends itself to engaging people, and it will live on your Facebook Page.
If you decide to this, then consider getting a tripod and tripod mount. This way your video will not be shaken.
If you are video recording your sermons, then consider sharing 1–3 segments throughout the week. This idea is similar to the blogging tip above. It is only a different format.
When it comes to sharing video clips. focus on one specific topic, make sure your clips are no longer than five minutes, and share them through your church’s social media networks.
Your sermon doesn’t have to die in your church’s parking lot. You can extend the life of your message throughout the week.
Question: What else would you add to this list?
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.