A typical problem churches face is maintaining a consistent stream of funds to support ministry operations. The work of the local church, whether discipling teenagers or providing meals for the homeless, costs money, and if a church struggles to maintain a consistent stream of giving from its members, the work of ministry can be hindered.
How can churches encourage consistent giving from their church members without breaking trust or sounding “greedy,” a common fear of church leaders? Here are a few basic ways to promote consistent giving in the local church:
1. Talk about money outside of giving campaigns.
One of the biggest mistakes churches make is neglecting any talk about generosity, giving, or money outside of specialized fundraising campaigns for new facilities, new ministry opportunities, or other such projects.
A common line churches use is, “This is not about a building…it’s about cultivating generosity in your heart.” Unfortunately, if the only time you’re talking like that on a Sunday morning or in your small groups is when you’re trying to add a new facility, people are probably going to roll their eyes! And more importantly, you’re going to lose trust.
One of the best ways you can cultivate a culture of generosity and consistent giving in your church is to talk about money and generosity regularly so that finances aren’t as taboo a topic as they too often are. God cares about our money and how we spend, invest, or give it, and church leaders should be talking about our relationship with money as a regular part of the discipleship process, whether there’s a fundraising campaign or not.
Make conversations about finances a regular part of your discipleship efforts. You will not only cultivate generous hearts that are more like Christ, but you’ll also see more consistent giving from your church members.
2. Encourage regular service within the local church.
This is an essential but often overlooked point when it comes to encouraging giving. In general, even outside of the church walls, people are more likely to personally invest in projects or efforts with which they are actively involved in some way. Sure, plenty of generous donors give to nonprofits or philanthropic causes with whom they have little personal connection. Still, most small and medium-sized givers will be most faithful and consistent if they have a vested interest and participatory relationship with the recipient of their giving.
A really simple, underrated way to encourage consistent giving at church is to encourage your church members to serve regularly. The more involved they are through serving in the children’s ministry or taking meals to new parents throughout the week, the more likely they will be willing to open their wallets and give.
Two of the resources about which people are most stingy are their time and money. If you can get your church members to loosen their grip on their time and be generous on that front, you are more likely to successfully loosen their grip on their money and encourage them to be generous with it.
Encourage service and watch giving become more consistent.
3. Prioritize electronic giving and monitor it.
More and more people are paying their bills through automatic electronic withdrawals from their bank accounts. The number of people who write checks to pay their bills will only continue to decrease moving into the future. The same is true with church giving. Though church demographics tend to skew older than the average age of a community’s population, the digital financial revolution will hit your church soon if it hasn’t already.
If you hope to encourage regular, consistent giving at church, reliable electronic giving needs to be a top priority. There are seemingly dozens of options available for churches to make electronic giving available to their church members. Whichever option you choose, make sure that user experience is important in your decision-making process. Electronic giving that is difficult to use creates unnecessary friction and could even erode trust in your church members, which will only hinder consistent financial giving.
An extra bonus if the solution you choose makes communication easy with your donors, allows members to give via text, and makes it simple for you to monitor it all!
Consistent financial giving is important in the life of the local church because we should always be growing in generosity as we strive to become more like Christ, and those funds fuel the important ministry in your community and around the world.
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