This week I’ve asked several friends to write guest posts to help bring a fresh perspective to the blog. I am so happy to introduce Ben Stroup.Â Ben is a thought leader in the area of generosity and wrote Church Giving Matters.Â I would recommend Ben to any church in America for generosity coaching!Â Thanks for posting with us, Ben!
Ever wonder what the biggest pitfalls are in church funding? Youâ€™ll be surprised to know that many of them are completely obvious. Consider these five sure-fire ways to create a giving DECLINE in your church:
1.Â Fund programs that donâ€™t matter and arenâ€™t making a difference. As pastor, my leadership heard me say often: â€œEverything is on the table. Just because it worked last year, doesnâ€™t mean weâ€™ll do it again this year. Conversely, just because it didnâ€™t work last year, doesnâ€™t mean we donâ€™t try again this year.â€ It frustrated them until they learned to present ideas that had been well thought out and planned, beginning first with a reason for the investment and the expected return on investment. The result? Better programs. Stronger alignment with church vision. Greater ministry impact.
2.Â Never communicate the ministry investments youâ€™re making and the Kingdom impact of those investments (ministry ROI). People no longer give special preference to your church when deciding how to give to others. There are MILLIONS of organizations screaming for their attention (and their dollars). Communication increases interaction which builds trust. Without trust, people wonâ€™t generously support your church. With trust, they will STOP supporting others and INCREASE their support of your church. People want to know their dollar is making a difference. Donâ€™t leave it up to them to figure it out.
3.Â Limiting the giving options of your members. Itâ€™s not the role of the church to decide how a member will give to you. Make it difficult for them to give, and they WONâ€™T. You should make as many channels available to them as possible.
4.Â Choosing not to know what members give. You canâ€™t manage what you donâ€™t measure. Even if you donâ€™t want to know names and specific amounts, you should have a list of your top givers. (By the way, youâ€™re best givers are most likely your top influencers.) These are people who are most vested in seeing you and the ministry of the church succeed. You need to see and hear things from their perspective. Further, a significant increase or decrease in giving may be an overlooked ministry opportunity. Often people stop giving well BEFORE they leave the church.
5.Â Believing the pastor is not responsible for church giving. Do you think the finance committee is going to take the fall for a decline in church giving? NO! They are going to look at you and say, â€œFix this!â€ If youâ€™re going to be responsible and held accountable, you should be sure to lead in this area, too.
Why arenâ€™t these immediately obvious to every church leader? Because many have had too little exposure to the subject of money in ministry and are too close in proximity to have any sense of clarity on the subject. Contrast that to what I do every day working with church leaders to bridge the gap of experience and perspective.
The more we ignore the subject of church giving, the more likely we are to fund SOMEONE ELSEâ€™S budget with money God intended to fund the work and ministry of your church.