4 Ways to Implement Remote Work with Your Church Staff
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December 9, 2019
Independence Day Sunday is an opportunity to reflect deeply on the freedoms we're afforded as Americans. Here are 8 tips to celebrate Independence Day in your church with class.
June 6, 2019
This Independence Day Sunday at your church is an opportunity to reflect on meaningful themes of liberty, independence, sacrifice, and belonging.
It can be a rich experience of unity that your church uses to create unforgettable moments of engagement, growth, worshipping God, and reaching people in your community with the gospel.
Use these eight tips to make the most of Independence Day at your church so that you can attract more people, deepen the maturity of your current members, and communicate to your church and local communities that you are invested in the meaningful moments that make us proud to be Americans.
Politics can be a tricky subject.
In an increasingly polarized political age, pastors need to be evermore winsome about the way in which they connect politics to the message of Scripture.
There is a clear overlap in that both concern human behavior—Scripture explains truths which governs human behavior and prescribes certain policies which direct human action and society.
However, because of the strong overlap between the world of Scripture and the domain of modern politics, it could be tempting to construe Christianity as belonging to a single party.
Refrain from doing this.
The duty of the preacher is to present the gospel—Christ himself is enough of a stumbling block: “For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:22-24).
This doesn’t mean the church can never talk about politics.
But Independence Day should, simply from a communications perspective—when you may have many visitors at your church—should be more about celebration than condemnation.
So win those in your audience by winsomely presenting Christ, not using the church as your personal political podcast audience.
This isn’t an opportunity for you to bash members with opposing political positions.
It’s an opportunity to celebrate the unity we share as citizens of the United States, which reflects an even greater unity that we have as brothers and sisters in Christ (Matthew 12:50).
Veterans know veterans.
Mid-spring is a good time to ask veterans to organize a committee to honor veterans on Independence Day.
This committee could be composed of veterans, active duty military, military spouses, or spouses of veterans who have passed away—all of these voices should be heard and all of these stories should be honored in some form during your church service.
By allowing veterans to organize this committee, you are enabling them to shape something appropriate to the day that expresses the genuine voice and experience of military professionals and spouses.
Of course, a church staff should be on the committee to liaison with the rest of church leadership that is planning the Independence Day service.
This committee should reflect at least a 2-5 minute segment during your church service that thanks those who have served and spouses for those who have served.
The deliverable of the committee is a clear protocol and schedule for that time slot in which the church can participate.
It would not be inappropriate to thank each active duty military and veteran in your church by name for their service.
People are generally very reverent of military service because of its clear high cost in the sacrifice that comes along with serving your country in a military role.
Members and visitors alike will be very respectful of this time, and it expresses a reverence for those in your congregation who have served and who represent the virtues extolled in Scripture as worthwhile.
It would be appropriate for the senior pastor to reflect on this moment with an exhortation for the church members to look to active duty military and veterans as examples of the moral fiber Scripture prescribes us to have.
Jesus says: “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
The honoring of the sacrifice military members make is a great opportunity to explain the love God has for us in Christ.
Independence Day points to our fundamental American freedoms.
But those freedoms aren’t free.
They come at a cost.
There are many different angles you can take when preaching on Independence Day, but you’ll never go wrong preaching on the cost or entailments of freedom.
Freedom itself implies that we act a certain way.
With freedom comes the opportunity to waste one’s life.
The Apostle Paul says: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Gal. 5:1).
The liberty purchased for us by the American Revolution is a freedom to make the most of our lives, and the risk that some of us will relax in the luxury of that freedom and fail to do anything meaningful with our lives.
People feel this weight when they see veterans honored.
They see the sacrifice that it is possible to make.
How much more of a sacrifice has Christ called them to make?
Jesus says: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matt. 16:24).
Without Christ, we would be slaves to ourselves.
In Christ, we have the freedom to make much of Christ.
And in the United States, we have the freedom to make much of Christ publicly and unashamedly.
Cook the best food you’ve ever cooked.
Organize the best games you’ve ever organized.
The month before, every Sunday, tell church members to invite at least 2 people.
Sell the event with everything you’ve got.
Preach “invitation” every week leading up to Independence Day weekend.
Make sure there’s lots of meat and vegan/gluten free options for visitors.
Investing in this Independence Day Sunday party will give your church an Easter-like opportunity to grow, meet members’ families, and increase a sense of belonging and buy-in from your church community that community is in fact worth it.
There are two important logistical notes to make here.
First, you must capture a lot of new visitor information.
The best way to do this is through a church kiosk or through a digital signup sheet.
Make sure you get the visitor’s phone number, email, reason for attending, and person who referred them to attend the church.
This will give you all the information you need to make a meaningful follow-up contact with the visitor.
Second, make sure you give your visitors a reason to give their information.
Offer some kind of freemium (free gift) in order to incentivize them to give their information.
This incentive could be a free book, a gift card, entry in a raffle, free registration to the BBQ afterward, or free food vouchers to the food and drinks during the church picnic.
Independence Day Sunday is a great way to get new and uninvolved members to volunteer at your church.
Your post-church event should be so big and require so much man power that you need people to pitch in.
Find ways to need volunteers so that members have a reason to give.
If you do this, you will turn apathetic members into volunteers-for-life.
This volunteer opportunity can catalyze an opportunity to invest in the church that just needed to be sparked with a single volunteer opportunity.
People want to volunteer in church.
They want to be involved.
They want to be in the inner circle.
And volunteering gives them a way to do that.
So sell the fact that you need volunteers from the stage every Sunday until the Sunday before!
Capture as many new volunteers as possible so that as many people in your church as possible catch the “Volunteer” bug and you are able to get much more man power for future events.
You don’t have to host the fireworks, but you can tell everyone at the BBQ and in your bulletin:
“At [TIME] [DATE], we’re going to our local fireworks show near the [PLACE]. Contact [NAME] at [PHONE NUMBER] if you can’t find us.”
People often don’t know exactly who to go with, so your church can step into that “opportunity vacuum” and become the event toward which natural friend groups and church members gravitate.
This can also be an opportunity to bring more food and drinks, and for the church to build its reputation as a community that hosts and contributes to its community, rather than an exclusive club that people can’t access.
Will you let this Independence Day slip by as just another minor holiday?
Or will you capitalize on the opportunity to have an Easter-like boost in your attendance just by applying the right strategy to this Independence Day Sunday at your church?
Follow these 8 steps, and people will flock to your church this summer:
Summer growth really is that simple.
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.