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3 Tips To Increase Giving

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No one likes to talk about church giving, it’s like the first rule of Fight Club—you don’t talk about it.  Even I tried to procrastinate writing this article. However, I think the reason we struggle to talk about giving is that we—if we’re being really honest—don’t frame giving appropriately.  We never cast the proper vision needed to prompt people to want to give.  Instead, we structure out loose theological frameworks in hopes that someone will agree with our hermeneutical understanding of Levitical law.

I would suggest, that if you really want to see giving increased in your church, you need to do a few things.

  1. Practice what you preach. 

If we’re asking people to join and participate in giving to your organization or church, you need to make sure that you as an individual–and as an organization–are giving sacrificially. It’s impossible to articulate giving when you yourself don’t understand the spiritual significance of generosity. Pastors and leaders of organizations that depend on people’s sacrifice should be sacrificing themselves.  I highly recommend finding some strategic partners within your community (NGOs, non-profits, shelters, social programs, schools, ministries) that you can donate a percentage of both your salary and what you have coming into the church.  There is no better message about giving than giving yourself and sharing about the joys.

  1. Frame the “why” in giving

Framing the why can be a challenge.  I think it’s easy for leaders to miss out on including our parishioners in what is actually being done with the money. I would suggest that you use your time of worship, particularly the offering, as an opportunity to share exactly how the money is being used.  Show how your church or organization has its fingers stretched throughout your town, city, and the world.   There is nothing more compelling than seeing your generosity be used in positive ways.  People of my generation, I’m on the cusp between millennial and Generation X, will give– shocking I know–but you have to give us a compelling reason why.  It has to hit our altruistic buttons.  Having a few Bible verses and a small phrase that is regurgitated weekly isn’t enough. I went to a church the other day, and the pastor LITERALLY said that it pays their salary; that doesn’t compel me to give.   We want to see our worship of giving be impactful and meaningful.  Lastly, be enthusiastic and have energy.  There is nothing worse than someone pitching an idea that they aren’t even excited about.  I mean come on, we’re talking about transformation here–get fired up!  Yes, people should just give to God because God has blessed them—but the reality is that there are lots of other ways to give to God that are not the church.  So make sure that your church is giving people a reason to give.

  1. Make it easy to give.

I totally get that for some of the pastors out there, online giving is a theological hurdle.  Some of you are leery giving away a percentage to a company that is 3rd party handler.  I totally get it and this is a decision that you will have to navigate through prayer and guidance of those above you.  But, I want to encourage you to be mindful of patterns that are being played out in culture.  More and more people are using websites to conduct daily life needs.  In fact, most people my age neglect to carry cash—much less use checks to make payments.   Everything is being done online, through routing numbers.

For people, like me, who didn’t grow up using cash or checks, you want to eliminate as many barriers as possible for them to be able to give.  There are two essential ways to remove barriers.

(a) Online Giving

There are lots of services that take a percentage for online giving.  Again, I realize that this could be a theological challenge for some. However, I recommend finding one that fits your budget and needs.  Be mindful that this is, in fact, God’s money being used for Kingdom Transformation.  So you want to find a service that fits your needs.  We will link to a few services at the end of the blog to make it easier for you. Here is why I think online giving is important.  Online giving makes it easy for people to schedule regular giving to organizations.  I find it helpful because I can set it up to automatically withdraw, and I don’t have to remember to bring a check to church (which I never carry).  It also ensures that you’re receiving more regular donations because more people will be inclined to set up recurring gifts.  Online giving seems like a natural pathway for me to give as part of my weekly worship and participation with God.

Chew on this quick stat,

“The Millennial Impact, a report that looks at the way the 18-to-32 age generation gives, found that nearly half of all millennials follow between one and five nonprofit organizations on social media. More than 65% of survey respondents receive emails from one to five different nonprofits. Most Millennials say they would give via mobile phone, and 8% have given via social media.”[1]

(b) Less is more

Okay, once you’ve decided on online giving.  Make sure it’s incredibly easy for me to find and give.  Lots of services offer SMS (TEXT MESSAGE) giving or apps; you will want to have those.  Also, make sure on your website that it’s only one click to give.  There is nothing more discouraging than making multiple clicks in order to give.  You want to have several links on your web page that instruct people on how to give and will also want to have multiple ways to give, (IE: online, recurring online, check, cash, stocks, bonds, ECT. ) The fewer obstacles you can create for people to give, the more likely they will give.

LINKS TO ONLINE GIVING RESOURCES:

 

MORE INFO:

http://leadnet.org/new-innovations-in-online-giving/

http://churchm.ag/online-giving-whats-holding-church-back/

 

ONLINE GIVING COMPANIES:

http://www.easytithe.com/

http://get.planningcenteronline.com/giving

https://www.mogiv.com/

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[1] Warren Bird, “New Innovations in Online Giving,” July 14, 14, accessed October 5, 2015,http://leadnet.org/new-innovations-in-online-giving/.

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4 Influencers to Know

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So we thought it would be fun to highlight 4 influencers that are really making waves.   We find that leadership is essential to church culture, regardless of title, pay, and age—we all have an opportunity to lead and more importantly learn from other leaders.

Jeanne Stevens Chicago, IL: Jeanne Stevens is a co-pastor at Soul City Church in Chicago, Il. Jeanne finds her passion in developing leaders and encouraging them to be their fullest self. Jeanne has spoken at multiple conferences and shares teaching responsibilities at Soul City Church.

Twitter: @jeannemstevens

Andrew Mook Providence, RI: Andrew is a pastor of Sanctuary Covenant, a three-year-old church plant in Providence, Ri. Sanctuary is seeing incredible transformation happen in Providence due to the leadership of Andrew and their ability to mix liturgy with creative elements of post-modernism.

Twitter: @AndrewMook

Nicole Unice Richmond, VA: Nicole is a full-time author and Ministry Director at Hope Church in Richmond, Va. Nicole has most recently published Brave Enough, a book that challenges readers to move beyond places of fear and towards a life God has created you for.

Twitter: @NicoleUnice

Cole NeSmith Orlando, FL: Cole is the Creative Director at City Beautiful Church in Orlando, Florida and he is the Founder and President of Uncover the Color, a creative collective that seeks to move people deeper into themes and concepts through experiential art installations. Cole has recently authored a book, Spiritual Innovation, which can be found on Amazon and the link given.

Twitter: @ColeNeSmith

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Salt Conference Giveaway from WorshipHouse Media and SermonSpice

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Feelin’ lucky? The ultimate VIP experience is ready to be won by you. Worship House Media is giving away a Grand Prize package for the Salt Conference that will have your media mind reeling with possibilities. Come participate in the best Creative Arts Conference around and hear from speakers like Blaine Hogan, Erwin McManus and Gary Molander.

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Grand-prize

One lucky winner will be granted an exclusive VIP experience at SALT 2015. This winner will receive the following:

 

(2) VIP All Access Behind the Scenes passes

(2) Tickets to SALT 2015 Full-Conference

(2) Tickets to SALT 2015 Pre-Conference

(2) T-shirts from SALT Store

(2) Journals from SALT Store

(1) SALT University Membership

(1) Behind the Scenes tour from Experience Director

(1) Meet and Greet with Conference Director and Executive Team

 

*Winner must provide their own transportation and lodging for the duration of the event.

 

2ndprize

One lucky winner will be granted a pair of tickets to experience SALT 2015. This winner will receive the following:

 

(2) Tickets to SALT 2015 Full-Conference

(2) Tickets to SALT 2015 Pre-Conference

(1) SALT University Membership

(1) Behind the Scenes tour from Experience Director

(1) Meet and Greet with Conference Director and Executive Team

 

*Winner must provide their own transportation and lodging for the duration of the event.

 

everyone-gets

Don’t worry everyone who registers wins! Here’s what we’ll email everyone after the contest ends:

Glenn Packiam’s SALT 2014 Keynote (Video & MP3)

Service Pack of Free Media from Playback Media.

CLICK TO WIN!

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Setting Up A Successful Kids Church

IMG_0895How do you set up your kids service in church? Do you, or your Kid’s Pastor, give as much attention to your kids service as you would your adult service? As I took on our Kids Ministry at my church, I realized that most of the time the kids were sat in front of a movie, given some snacks, and would play a game here and there. This sounds fine for the first couple of weeks, but eventually the kids get bored, tune out, start acting up and the volunteers find themselves simply being babysitters.

After visiting some other churches and watching them do great Kids Ministry, I realized how much of a disservice we were doing not only to our kids, but to our families. I caught the vision quickly that by developing a dynamic, fun, exciting, kids ministry you set up these children to love going to church and succeed spiritually.

Here is how we set up our time for 5 years old through 5th grade for a 75 minute service:

Free Time / Game Room
This lasts about 15 minutes with the sole purpose of connecting with their peers and making new friends. This also allows for those kids whose family is running late not to miss any of the service.

Worship
We then immediately start out with worship for about 7-10 minutes. The beginning worship is always energizing, lots of dancing, lots of jumping, and we utilize our church youth to help the kids with fun motions throughout.

Announcements
We break our worship up half way through to take up offering, introduce any new series, go over any rules, and welcome new people. After praying, we roll back into worship again.

Bible Story (normally video based)
As soon as the worship ends we immediately play a Bible Story. This usually lasts about 4-5 minutes and sets the foundation for our lesson, something we can refer back to during our teaching, and provides a different type of media to keep it interesting.

Teaching
During the teaching, we mix it up with object lessons, volunteers from the crowd, and silly skits that get the kids laughing and engaged all the way through. The teaching, though, is centered around the biblical lessons and builds on what they just learned in the Bible story. We write our own lessons for church but there are also many resources for Kids Curriculum available.

Small Group
After the teaching we take time to break into small groups of about 10 kids each. We split them based on ages and have appropriate questions for each group. This allows them to apply the lesson from the day to their lives and we have found this is where kids will open up personally about their home or school life.

Game
After prayer, we gather back into our big group again and play a game until it’s time for parents to pick up.

Every week we are talking about what to teach the kids, what songs we should learn, how to best explain Biblical truths to our kids in digestible ways, all the while preparing them for the next stage of their lives. We focus on getting them ready for Youth so that our Youth Pastor has a solid foundation on which to build and to not have to start from scratch. It is our hope that these kids will continue to go to church and grow spiritually the older they get!

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