We see it happen all the time…
A church is struggling to meet their operating budget. Yet, they also have some pressing capital needs and wonder if it is even possible to raise that kind of money. In faith, they launch a capital campaign to fund a much-needed facility improvement, and, to the leader’s amazement, the congregation raises significant new dollars. But they weren’t meeting budget – how can this be?
Here’s the sad truth: generosity best practices that are routinely used in successful capital campaigns are often ignored with the general budget. Why cast a vision? Aren’t people supposed to give? Do we need to tell life change stories, we are just funding the budget? You get the idea.
However, sometimes church leaders have an amazing ability to make the simple too complex. This often happens in the realm of growing the generosity of your congregation. And, as the complexity goes up, the probability of doing something goes down (often to zero and nothing is done). All that’s really needed are some basic steps that every pastor can take right now to begin developing a culture of generosity.
To grow generosity at your church, we are huge fans of the KIS principal — Keep It Simple. So, here is our simple four-step process — communicate, communicate, communicate, communicate!
- Communicate — say thank you. When was the last time you publicly thanked your congregation for their financial generosity? If it has been more than two months, you’re overdue. Thank them whether you are over budget or under budget. It doesn’t matter. Whoever decided that we only thank God‘s people when we are “meeting budget“? You can thank your people into faithfulness.
- Take action: Identify a Sunday when you will express a heartfelt personal thank you for your people’s financial generosity.
- Communicate — share ministry impact. Did you recently launch a new ministry that is experiencing early success? What about those unsung heroes serving in a long-standing ministry that just keep grinding out spiritual impact year after year? Simply tell one of those stories. But, when you do, be sure to connect the dots — “this ministry was able to be launched (or exists) because of your generosity.”
- Take action: Identify a ministry impact story to share. Schedule a Sunday and include someone from the ministry to help tell the story.
- Communicate — celebrate a changed life. Let’s face it, the primary purpose of the church is to see spiritual life change (not fund buildings or budgets). So, identify life change moments and celebrate them. Whether it is a testimony of personal faith in Christ, a marriage restored, or a homeless person given shelter, tell the story. Watch your people’s eyes light up as they lean in just a bit closer. Changed lives represent a believer’s spiritual “return on investment.” Show them the huge ministry dividends that are being paid.
- Take action: Identify a life change story and schedule a Sunday to celebrate it.
- Communicate — the Word! All of the above happens because of the power of God ‘s Word. As you communicate, always draw in relevant Scripture. Look no further than the apostle Paul for your inspiration. He was constantly thanking his churches (Philippians 4:14-19), sharing ministry impact (I Thessalonians 1:2-10), and celebrating changed lives (I Timothy 1:12-17). Paul had a simple first century plan to encourage generosity — it still works today!ged lives (I Timothy 1:12-17). Paul had a simple first century plan to encourage generosity — it still works today!
So, there you have it — simplicity reigns! You don’t need a complex program, large committee, or a glossy brochure. All you need is a bit of creativity and the determination to “just do it.“ And the beauty of the above plan is that you can “rinse and repeat,” thereby creating a virtuous cycle of growing generosity.
Want to drill deeper? Download our latest ebook. It picks up where we are leaving off by expanding from these foundational communication best practices into a comprehensive, long-term game plan that becomes self-sustaining. This resource is made available FREE exclusively to Church Answers readers from Church Growth Services.
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