Health and Growth

Leading to the Next Level

Growth brings change. Period. That’s true for a big company or a small church, and it’s true for people, families, corporations, and countries. If you want to function well at the next level, reinvention is absolutely necessary.

Leading to the Next Level

Growth brings change. Period. That’s true for a big company or a small church, and it’s true for people, families, corporations, and countries. If you want to function well at the next level, reinvention is absolutely necessary.

When a family starts having kids, reinvention takes place. New parents need to figure out what life looks like with less personal time and more demands. Another bedroom, a larger car, or a different neighborhood might be in order.

The church family is similar. An increase in attendance, a new service time, or a different location all require more volunteers, more detailed planning, a different communication strategy, and other adjustments. For fast-growing churches, reinvention is necessary for survival. For static churches, reinvention is an opportunity to reinvigorate the mission for another push forward. Either way, many of the considerations are the same.


When change is required or desired, it must start with the leader. This is especially true in a church, where the lead pastor’s vision, strengths, and style wield a great deal of influence through the ministry of preaching. When a fellow pastor turned 40, he took deliberate steps to transition from young-gun preacher to fatherly pastor. This shift sent a message throughout the church body that they were done with their childhood years and needed to move toward full maturity.

Each time when I am faced with a new season brought on by growth, I take Joshua’s words to heart when he said to Israel, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you” (Joshua 5:3 (ESV)). This verse comes from a time when Joshua was preparing Israel to move the Ark of the Covenant. The word consecrate can also be described as purify, or as I like to look at it “prepare your heart.” John Calvin’s Commentary calls out that “that the people were thus commanded to purge themselves from defilements.”

Before a leader can properly lead through a growth phase, that leader must go through a process of what I call “consecration.” This is a process where I might fast, pray, and allow the Holy Spirit to call out sin that is in my life. As we know from John 16:8 and Romans 8:26, the Holy Spirit will convict us of our sin and actually help us in our weakness for we do not know how we ought to pray.

Before any change can happen in your family, your church, or your company, you must first repent to the Lord and allow the Holy Spirit to convict you of sin and show you areas you need to focus on. Again, many leaders will start outward growth, but they must first focus on inward growth.


For churches, the most obvious next-level marker is attendance. By no means is attendance the only way to measure progress, but if a church doubles in size, it will be on a new level in terms of its need for volunteers, a system for assimilating new people, more small groups, better communication, and someone to architect all of those adjustments.

Besides attendance, a church may experience a new transition when a new leader takes over, when the congregation moves to a new building, or when young families start having kids, for example.

A church that waits for the next level to arrive before taking on these tasks will either be caught unprepared, or the lack of initiative will become a self-fulfilling prophecy with the church ceasing to grow and mature. If you fail to make the changes at your current level, you’ll probably never get to the next one.


Success for a new church starting out in the pastor’s living room will look much different when that church moves into the community center, and once again when they buy their first building.

I started my first business right out of business school with no practical business experience, so I was at the very beginning. However, I made progress by getting various certifications, attending conferences, meeting with mentors, and learning from my mistakes.

Then, I started over again when I moved to the Middle East. I was working with billions of dollars and thousands of employees rather than millions and hundreds.

For a church, starting over may include scrapping certain programs, drafting a new governance system, creating a new budget model, and in other ways rebuilding the infrastructure so that it can bear the future load.


Success at one level does not guarantee success at the next level. Never assume you’re an expert on level five because you were an expert on level four. Stay humble. Instead of comparing yourself to others, seek to learn from them instead. Find someone who is a few steps ahead of where you want to be, drop them a line, ask questions, and learn. Look for opportunities to do the same for someone else.


Progress inevitably includes failure, which is why many people and churches stay put. It’s far easier and far less scary to stick with what you know and slip into maintenance mode.

Without new challenges, however, new growth will cease. Try, fail, and at least you’ll end up learning something. Never try, never fail, and you’ll probably end up full of regret and bitterness against those who took a risk that paid off. Going to the next level most likely involves great pain, great humility, and great failure, but it all comes with the possibility of great fruit as the payoff.

Preparing for the next level is a healthy exercise, even if the transition is a long way off. It forces people to think about what’s working and what’s not, rather than settling for the status quo. Sometimes, the preparation itself can become a catalyst that sparks maturity and growth. As the lead pastor calls people to a vision or a destination, a strategic-thinking executive pastor figures out how to get there, level by level.

It’s never a bad time to consider the next level that Jesus has been preparing for you.

Why Write Church Donation Letters?

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:

  • Acknowledging that you received a donation
  • Thanking the giver for being generous with their finances
  • Sharing other ways the person can support your church
  • Allowing the donor to write the gift off on their taxes
  • Encouraging supporters to make recurring donations
  • Requesting future donations from church members

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.

Church Donation Letter Samples

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.

1. Donation Acknowledgment Letter

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]!
[your name]

2. Donation Request Letter

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.
[your name]

3. Monthly Giving Letter

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.
[your name]

4. Year-End Giving Letter

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.
[your name]  

5. Church Fundraising Letter

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.
[your name]

Tips when writing church donation letters

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:

  • Examples: Add specific examples of how your church will use the donation. Tell a story about the work your church is doing in the community and connect that with giving.
  • Personalization: For regular donors, don’t be afraid to add a short, handwritten personal note. This shows that you’ve singled them out with praise.
  • Timeliness: Sending donation letters quickly reminds people you’re thankful for them. But this also takes organization and efficiency. All the more reason to use pre-written templates.
  • Storytelling: Everything is better with stories—including donation letters. Weave in a specific narrative of how your church is making a difference and how the money will be used.

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.

What’s next?

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?

  • Customize these letters: Take the samples above and make them work for your church. Personalize the content. Remove the stuff that doesn’t sound genuine and add in stuff that does. Remember that these are just a starting point.
  • Create some systems: Develop processes that make it easy for you to replicate sending donation letters. Use a letter template that allows you to drop in names and details. Then develop guidelines for when these letters will be sent out.
  • Empower a champion: Find out who is going to be responsible for making these letters happen. Rather than thinking of this as adding more work to their plate, think about how you can elevate their work. This could be a staff member, or a volunteer.
  • Start sending: All of this will be for nothing if you don’t actually send out the letters. Take the time to get it right and get them into the hands of your church donors.

And if you’re looking for ways to grow your church’s giving capacity, Tithely can help.

We provide several different ways your church members can support your church financially—from online giving, text to give solutions, and giving kiosks.

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.


Leading to the Next Level