4 Ways to Implement Remote Work with Your Church Staff
These four critical strategies could revolutionize the way church staff works.
December 9, 2019
Struggle with complaining? Join the club. There's a way you can complain in a sinful manner that undermines God’s goodness and faithfulness and there’s a way you can faithfully express your complaints to God and combat complaining, and here's how.
March 28, 2018
Complaining is easy to do. From being dissatisfied at work, unhappy at home, or frustrated with your church, there’s an endless list of ways you may be tempted to complain.
The kids always argue.
I can’t believe they gave my colleague a promotion.
The coffee is too hot at church.
The way we used to do things was better.
Why won’t my congregation listen?
We can blame our fixation with complaining in general on culture or social media. But the temptation to be discontent and complain can be traced back to Genesis 3.
Satan tempted Adam and Eve to be discontent in what they had, and Adam complained about Eve and blamed everything on her (Gen. 3:12).
Today, according to research, "most people complain once a minute during a typical conversation.” This amount of complaining not only makes conversations unpleasant, but it also has adverse health effects, and, most importantly of all, complaining expresses discontentment with God.
I don’t know about you, but I know that I struggle with complaining. I’ve had to seek forgiveness from the Lord many times, and I continually need his help in redirecting my desires.
Over the years, I’ve found many helpful ways to kill my sin of complaining when it blossoms like an unwelcome weed, and I’d like to share them with you today.
“In the world you will have tribulation.” —John 16:33
If you’ve lived long enough, then you know that you’ll face a variety of problems, setbacks, or hardships. Life isn’t easy, and faith in Jesus doesn’t give you a “Go Directly to Glory” pass where you'll live outside of the reach of any struggle.
Regardless of the technological, scientific, or healthcare advancements we’ve made, we are still vulnerable to everyday problems, extreme weather, and dangerous bacteria.
My aim in telling you this isn’t to make your day go from bad to worst. I desire to wave a smelling salt under your nose to wake you up to the reality all of us face: We will face problems, and we need help.
“Do all things without grumbling… “ —Philippians 2:14
I don’t know about you, but I’m often tempted to complain when things don’t go my way. From an argument with my wife, a setback at work, or trouble with my children, I’m inclined to grumble about things.
It’s not my fault.
Why do they always do this? What’s their problem?
Ugh, I can’t believe this didn’t work out. Things will never change.
It’s easy to get caught up in a cycle of grumbling about things and people. Events in life can slowly lead you to have a negative; my glass is half-empty point of view and a belief that God isn’t for you.
As a follower of Christ, there’s a way you can complain or grumble in a sinful manner that undermines God’s goodness and faithfulness toward you. And there’s a way you can faithfully express your complaints to God, and ask for his mercy (see Psa. 142:1-2).
To have God’s perspective on what’s going on in our life, we have to renew our mind (Rom. 12:1-2) and see things from his point of view, which leads me to the next three points.
“Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” —Matthew 6:8
When you run into trouble of any sort, it’s easy to get distracted by what you see and forget about God’s faithfulness.
Today, whenever you find yourself reading this article, God knows what you need now and what you will need tomorrow and for the rest of your life.
God isn't distant.
God isn’t aloof.
God didn’t forget about you.
Heed the words of Christ, who said, “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them” (Matt. 6:26).
God has been faithful to his people throughout history, and, if you take a moment to think about your life, I know you’ll be able to identify many ways God has faithfully taken care of you—especially in revealing himself to you in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
So be encouraged.
God is faithful, and he will be faithful to you.
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” —Psalm 46:1
God is personally involved in your life.
You may believe in the depths of your soul that God is more interested in what’s going on around the world. But don’t believe this lie. Regardless of the troubles you’ve faced or will face; God is present with you.
When you feel discouraged or disappointed, or you’re facing what appears to be insurmountable odds, God is with you, and he is always available for you.
Instead of trusting in yourself, listen to the words of Jesus, who is calling you, “Come to me, all how labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.” —John 14:1
The verse above is not a suggestion from Jesus, it’s a command, and this may be precisely what you need to hear today.
Jesus knows you feel disappointment.
Jesus understands your anger.
Jesus gets your frustrations.
In the words of the author of Hebrews, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15).
Have you carried the burdens of life by yourself?
Is your heart troubled by the struggles you face?
Don’t hide from the Lord. Place your faith in Christ, trust that he will provide for you, and receive the peace that only he can provide.
What have you found helpful in combatting complaining in your life? Share your experience 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.