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
To unleash generosity in your church, you’ll need to put in place a framework for the generosity of your church to grow upon.
Similar to grapevines that need a trellis to grow upward, you can lead the members of your church to become generous givers in Christ with a practical system.
The frame you need to create for your church is a fundraising strategy, which is a process you can follow to boost the overall generosity of your church.
Here are four steps you need to take to unleash a generous church culture.
The first step you need to take is to think through the four types of givers in your church, which include these unique givers:
As for non-givers, they are people who haven't donated money.
This group is made up of a variety of people from different backgrounds and present-day circumstances. From first-time guests, new church members, and people who don’t give due to financial struggles, there are various reasons why people may not donate money.
Sporadic givers are people who have donated money, but they only give on occasion.
In your church, this can be someone who has only given once or has given less than $1,000 per year. There are several ways you can define this group in your church, but the main thing is for you to pick a definition and stick with it for the sake of consistency.
Regular givers are those who consistently contribute financially.
For your church, you may decide to classify a regular giver as someone who donates $250 per month or $3,000 per year.
What is more, regular givers are givers who don’t give proportionately from their income. For example, they may donate 3% of their income every year.
Again, as with sporadic givers, define this group using specific numbers and stick with your definition.
Generous givers are people who make financial contributions that exceed regular givers.
Again, how you classify this group of people will be unique to your church. Just choose the metric you’re going to use to identify this group of people for the sake of this exercise.
Knowing the level of generosity in your church will place you in a position to support your congregation in taking the next step God is calling them to take with their giving.
The second step you need to take is to provide ongoing instruction for your church.
To get started, let’s take a look at five ongoing strategies you should focus on throughout the year to build a generous church culture. After reading through these activities, add them to your church’s calendar and integrate them with your ministries.
The foundation of your church members’ views about giving is built on whether or not they have come face-to-face with Jesus.
In time, as the people of your church meet Jesus, you will see your church respond to his generosity toward them by becoming more generous. For it is God’s grace that will empower your church members to become generous givers (2 Cor. 8:1–9).
If preaching the gospel is the foundation of church giving, then stewardship in the Bible is the pillar.
Being good stewards of our resources is paramount to being a disciple of Jesus.
Lead your church through a sermon series on stewardship, provide biblical stewardship classes, or take your small groups through a series on giving.
Teaching on biblical stewardship will inform your church of their need to steward their time, talent, and treasures for the kingdom of God.
Cast a vision of the work your church is doing in the community and around the world, including how increasing church giving will help accomplish your goals as a community.
Highlight the work of different church ministries. Invite missionaries or ministries you support to share their stories.
Sharing stories will illustrate God’s tangible work in the lives of people. These stories will encourage your congregation to know they are participating in God’s work by supporting the local church.
To help your church further embrace biblical stewardship, considering offering financial coaching or counseling. Within your church, see if a certified financial planner can lead a class, or have a volunteer coordinate a Financial Peace class based on the book written by Dave Ramsey.
As the members of your church learn to live and love like Jesus, it’s essential to help them learn practical ways they can become the best stewards of their resources. Once people know how to manage their money, they'll feel more able to give, thus helping to increase church giving.
Finally, consider providing access to biblically-based financial resources for the members of your church. Among these resources, you can provide books such as Master Your Money by Ron Blue, The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn, and The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey.
Also, if you’ve preached a series on giving or biblical stewardship, make sure that series is readily available for the members of your church.
Many non-givers have not experienced the joy of giving to any church. To move non-givers to regular givers, your goal with this group is to help them experience the joy of giving.
In doing this, you don’t want to grab them by the leg and force them to take their first step. Rather, you want to make it as easy as possible for non-givers to place one foot in front of the other on the path toward consistent generosity.
To help non-givers enjoy a taste of giving, provide them with ways they can get involved through small acts of kindness.
Pete Wilson—the president of The A Group and the founding and former senior pastor of Cross Point Church—created a program called The Dollar Club, which served as a starting place for many people to give. For this program, the church collected one dollar from every person in the congregation and then spent that money on someone in the community who was in need. The church was careful to capture this experience on video in order to share it with the congregation.
When building a similar program at your church, keep the focus on small numerical amounts ($1-$10) that go toward a specific cause. When you do this, it’s best to provide several ways for people to participate in giving, such as online giving, mobile giving, with your church app, and text giving to complement your church’s regular weekly offering.
Does your church offer a membership class or program you walk people through before they become a member of your church? If so, use that opportunity to talk about giving, why people should give to their church, and why they can trust you with their money.
Talking about generosity from the beginning is one big step you can take toward creating habits of generosity within your church.
The majority of your congregation will fit into the categories of sporadic and regular givers. Because these groups have shown a willingness to give at different points, your goal in helping them move forward is to increase both the frequency and the total amount of their giving.
Here are two ways you can help sporadic and regular givers, as well as generous givers, move forward in their financial contributions.
Can people give to your church with their smartphone?
If not, you might be making it difficult for your church to give.
As of 2015, two-thirds of Americans owned a smartphone. People with smartphones carry out dozens of tasks every day on their phone — including banking.
So, make it easy for smartphone users to give by providing them with a text-to-give option or a mobile giving app connected with your church.
Giving people an opportunity to make recurring donations is an essential step for increasing church giving. Automated giving is a simple way you can encourage regular and reliable donations.
If people are not physically present in your worship services, then they are prone not to give. That’s just the reality of human nature (and forgetfulness).
Providing an automating giving option will lead people to give when they’re absent from a worship service.
Take a moment to define the parameters for the four types of givers in your church and tactics you can use to put together your fundraising strategy: