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
Little moments in the life of your church can make a big difference.
One of the regular moments your church will experience together is the offering.
Over the years, I’ve met plenty of pastors who dreaded this time. Instead of leaning into this moment to make the most out of it, due to their fear, they let it come and go.
They fail to give weight to the spiritual importance of giving and offering in church.
Hear me out on this: Your church’s offering is so much more than the gifts you receive.
By taking up an offering at church, your church service becomes an opportunity for you to lead the members of your church to experience a significant amount of grace, trust God with their money and possessions, and to participate in God’s work in your church.
Instead of letting your offering slide by as an afterthought, here are 11 things I’ve learned as my time as a pastor and working with churches around the world as the CEO of Tithe.ly to improve the offering in your church.
Generous giving isn’t natural for most people.
Think about it.
The first word most of us said was, “Mine!”
But as we grow in our relationship with Christ, our relationship with money changes, too. We no longer look to money as a solution to our problems or for power and prestige. We come to see that we’re only a steward of what we have.
Many pastors I know are timid when it comes to talking about money from the pulpit because they don’t have a personal revelation about money. It’s hard to talk about money from the pulpit or during your offering when you’re not convicted about what God says about tithing in the Bible, generosity, and giving.
To confidently talk about money, you have to get a revelation about money from the Bible. And don’t let your personal financial situation get in the way. Like everyone in your church, you too are a disciple of Christ and will grow, in time, in your relationship with money.
“Can you handle the offering?”
This is a question I’ve been asked on more than one occasion because the pastor was apprehensive to talk about money.
Here’s the deal: There’s no need to be afraid.
Your church desires to live for Jesus and they want to hear what the Bible has to say about managing their money. So boldly proclaim what the Bible says!
Toward the beginning of your offering time, let people know how they can give.
This reminder is something you’ll want to do every week during your offering. Give people an opportunity to get their phone ready to give with your church app, mobile giving, or online giving, or to get their cash or checkbook out.
At Tithe.ly, we provide our churches with an editable graphic they can use during their offering:
Sharing a graphic like this one above is an easy way to remind your church about the different ways they can give.
Your church will always have administrative costs.
From paying for your mortgage or rent, utilities, and office supplies, you’ll need money to pay your bills. But leading people to give money toward your bills isn’t inspirational. If anything, unless you’re behind on your bills, talking about covering your church’s needs is like pouring a bucket of water on a fire.
How does the financial support of your church further the Kingdom of God? Do you use donations to support local organizations or missionaries around the world? Do you have an opportunity to acquire a new building to serve as a launching pad for the gospel?
Cast a vision for your church to get excited about. Let them see how their financial support furthers the Kingdom and helps those in need, which leads me to my next point.
As you cast a vision for your church, invite them to participate in God’s work.
When you prepare to “make the ask,” focus on using invitational language, like “receive your offering," “your support helps all of us to fulfill God’s call,” or “your offering makes it possible to support missionaries around the world.”
From just these few examples, the offering can be easily tied into the vision you cast for your church, and it presents the offering as an opportunity—not an obligation.
There’s one thing you cannot miss during your offering: the Bible.
I’m not saying you have to provide a homily on giving, but at a minimum, you want to remind people of what God says about giving in the Bible at some point during the offering.
For a massive list of verses to use during your offering, I suggest bookmarking this post to keep handy: 106 Scriptures About Tithing in the Bible, Giving, and Generosity.
Including a story will further inspire the generosity of your church.
The story you share doesn’t have to be grandiose or a huge production.
You can talk about a conversation you recently had with someone or how the church’s giving helped to support a student ministry camp, and you can read a message from one of the students.
Don’t feel obligated to include a story every week. Just aim to share something every few weeks as a way of providing your church with updates.
The time you ask people to give is what I like to call “the moment.”
Up to this point in time, people in your church may have been wrestling with whether or not to give or stressing over their financial situation. Use this moment as a way of leading people to seek the Lord as they make an offering.
Here’s an example of what I’ve said in the past:
I want you to focus on me for a moment.
We’re going to worship God with our money, and then I’m going to pray over the offering."
Regardless of what you say, your goal is to lead people to seek God, receive his grace, and give by faith and with joy.
As a church leader, you can never say thank you enough.
Every offering your church receives is a sacrifice made by a member of your church. Remind them that their support is making a difference and tell them thanks at every opportunity.
The offering in your church will take place every Sunday.
Don’t get caught by surprise and just have a member of your staff or volunteer mumble through the offering.
Redeem this time by preparing what you’re going to say and practicing what you’re going to say.
Get your stories ready.
Know what verses from the Bible you’re going to use.
Write down your thoughts.
Every week during your offering, be sure to acknowledge your guests and allow them not to feel obligated to give. Taking a few moments to do this will provide a huge relief to people visiting your church and help them to feel welcomed.
To recap what we’ve talked about, here are 11 ways you can improve your offering:
Don’t be passive about the way you handle the offering in your church. It’s a few minutes of time you can redeem, lead your people to Christ, and help your church excel in the grace of giving (2 Cor. 8:7).