If I had to name the biggest leadership struggle currently in the church I serve, I believe I would choose the area of giving. How many of you can relate? It’s not that they’re not generous, most of them are. It’s just that small towns and rural communities typically don’t have as much to give. That’s why we have to do our very best to keep those who are currently giving and find ways to motivate those to give who currently are not.
I’ve read the national average of per person giving in the church is somewhere around $45 per week. We’re doing well if ours is $15 per person.
Which may lead some of you to believe that I may not be the best person to be giving money advice. You may be right, but humor me for a minute.
I’m actually quite proud of that $15 per person because for a few years, we were below $10 per person. How many of you know it’s hard to get a lot of ministry done for less than $10 per person? Especially if you’re trying to give people a great experience.
So, how did we make the lucrative jump from $10 to $15? By engaging our givers. Here’s how we did it:
- We did a better job of tracking givers. Someone in church leadership needs to know who’s giving and how much. Ideally, that would be the senior pastor, but if that’s not a possibility, then it needs to be someone else in leadership. Why? Because in order to see giving increase, you need to be able to interact with those who are giving.
- We started saying thank you. This is one of the easiest things a church can do, yet so few do it. You have people in your church who are helping pay the mortgage, the utilities, and your salary. Make sure you thank them. We send thank you cards out every week to people who are either first time givers or large givers. A large gift for us is $500 and up. If you’re worried about the senior pastor knowing what people give, then don’t give him or her the amounts just give them the names and addresses. Simple as that.
- We started celebrating them. Not in front of the church of course, but we’d invite them to events just for them. This year it was a cookout at the pastor’s house. The year before it was coffee and desserts at the church. At these events we would give them information on things coming up at the church to look forward to. Are we giving them special treatment? Kind of, but we figured if we celebrated our volunteers each year with a party, then why wouldn’t we do the same with our givers.
I know a lot of small town pastors and churches are uncomfortable with knowing what people give. And I get it, you don’t want to seem as though you’re treating people differently.
But aren’t you already doing that? The people who teach in your church, do you let anyone teach, or do you only let those who are gifted in teaching? The people serving in kids, do you let anyone serve, or do you have some guidelines? The people who sing, do you let anyone sing, or just those with actual talent? Don’t answer that last one.
What I’m getting at is the church celebrates those with different gifts. There’s no denying that, so don’t forget giving is a gift. Paul talks about it in Romans 12:6-8. So, let us celebrate those with the gift of generosity, and just see if you’re giving doesn’t increase.