4 Ways to Implement Remote Work with Your Church Staff
These four critical strategies could revolutionize the way church staff works.
December 9, 2019
Here are four ways you can overcome busyness in your life.
April 6, 2018
“How are you doing?”
What’s the first response that comes to your mind when you read that question?
If you’re like most people in the United States, you probably answered, “I’m busy.”
Busyness is more than a half-hearted response we give to family and friends in passing. Based on a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research, busyness is a new status symbol we gladly adorn around our neck for everyone to see.
A life of busyness can make us feel important, and pulling back the curtain of our “tumultuous" schedule for others to see can give us a sense of pride.
For some adults, there’s a legitimacy to their busyness. The average full-time employee reports working on average 47 hours per week. And, if you happen to be a parent, forget about time management. Your time is consumed with a litany of activities with no end.
For many, busyness is less of a problem and more of a perception. According to The Economist, “people in rich countries have more leisure time than they used to.” For people living in the United States, we work 12 hours less per week than our parents or grandparents did 40 years ago.
Busyness is more than a problem of technological advancements and poor time management. It’s a long-term problem that can result in significant stress and health problems, and, most importantly of all, busyness can lead you away from pursuing Jesus. In the words of Adrian Rogers, “If Satan can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy.”
In scriptures about work, there are four lessons you will discover in confronting busyness in your life, and overcome its physical and spiritual effects.
Removing obligations from your life or becoming more efficient with your time are short-term solutions. If busyness for you is more of a perception problem, then the only way you can transform your perspective is to have it realigned by God.
In Crazy Busy, pastor and author Kevin DeYoung points out, “Making consistent time for the Word of God and prayer is the place to start because being with Jesus is the only thing strong enough to pull us away from busyness."
Before you consider making significant changes in your life or strive to become more efficient with your time, take a page from Martha’s book and sit at the Lord’s fit and listen to his teaching (Luke 10:38-42).
The flurry of activity in your daily schedule does not equal faithfulness in the sight of God.
God's not impressed with how much work we’re able to accomplish. He created the world in six days and rested on the seventh day (Gen. 1). I don’t think there’s anything we can do during the week that will remotely compare to what he accomplished with one day off.
I imagine God has the same question for us that he posed to Job several thousand years ago, when he asked, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?” (Job 38:4)
God has given us the gift of the Sabbath to take a break from our work. Not only did God give us this gift to enjoy, but he gave us the Sabbath as a way of reminding us that we’re dependent upon him.
This week, do yourself a favor and take a Sabbath. God desires for you to cease from your constant striving to rest and refresh yourself in him.
Do you sleep less than Jesus?
If you’re an adult in the United States, there’s a good chance you do. Based on a study conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one-third of adults are not getting enough rest.
Regardless of how hard you try to live your life with a lack of sleep, there’s no way you can avoid its reach. Several theories speak into our need for rest, but, at the end of the day, our need for sleep is another reminder that we’re dependent upon God.
Getting a good night’s rest is a gift from God (Psa. 4:8; 127:2), and Jesus himself was not opposed to getting some shuteye (Mark 4:37-38). So, if God was for getting some rest, I think we could benefit from getting some ourselves.
Living your life by faith in Christ will lead you to trust in the Lord as you sleep instead of laboring away at another “important” task.
It may feel like I’m crowbarring giving into this conversation since I work for Tithe.ly. But that’s not the case at all. Giving is another means of grace the LORD has given us to combat busyness.
Giving reminds us that we’re dependent upon God and that we’re not solely responsible for providing for ourselves. When we give, we affirm our trust in the LORD, and this helps us to fight the desire to accumulate more stuff and potentially struggle with money, which is the leading cause of stress for Americans.
Are you busy working to pay your bills? Is there anything you can cut out of your budget that will provide you with more margin? Take an honest look at your situation, and even consider seeking the advice of a financial advisor, to see if you can create more bandwidth in your life by cutting out unnecessary stuff.
What have you found helpful combatting busyness 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.