Make the Most of Your Offering Time

I think everyone knows what I mean by offering time, but just in case, I’m speaking about the specific time during service in which you take up tithes and offerings. I realize some churches don’t have an offering time during service because they apparently don’t need the money that bad, but my church isn’t one of those. I bet yours isn’t either.

So, for all of us struggling to meet budget, I want to share a few tips specifically to help you see more people give during this time.

Some of these may seem obvious, but it’s still important to mention them.

For example.

Offering Envelopes

I’m guessing every church has these. If you don’t leave me a comment and let me know why. You want to make sure your offering envelope is easy to fill out, larger-than-expected, and bonus points if it can be mailed in after they get home with no postage necessary.

Timing

If you rush through this time, which many of us are known to do, you will miss out on gifts. Because, people need time to write their checks or count their cash. Many people are not planning ahead for this moment, especially new givers. So, allow two to three minutes for people to prepare.

Giving Talks

What do you do during those two to three minutes? You’re telling people why they should give. Here’s what that can look like, “In a few moments where going to worship God by giving back to Him. While our ushers are getting ready, let me tell you a story,” or “Let me share a scripture with you…” This gives them a heads up on what’s about to happen and gives them time to get ready.

Lighting

The darker the auditorium, the less likely people are to give. For one, they can’t see to write a check or fill out the offering envelope. For two, you lose the motivation that comes from people worrying about other people seeing them not give. If that last statement makes you uncomfortable, then you need to stop trying to guilt people into praying and reading their Bibles.

Timing

Sounds so nice, I had to mention it twice. Not really. I’m talking about when you take up the offering during service. The church I serve used to take up the offering at the end of service using two ushers at the back door holding buckets. This is a terrible way to take up the offering. It feels like an afterthought rather than an important part of the service. Not to mention many of our volunteers would have already left the service before we even took up the offering in order to get in place for the next service. We’ve now placed the offering time smack dab in the middle of our service at the end of the music and before the preaching. It’s made a world of difference.

These are a few simple ways I think you can see significant increase in your giving this year. If you’d like to build on this, I speak more about a complete giving system in this post.

What does your offering time look like? Are you satisfied with the results? Let us know by leaving a comment and don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to get tips on church growth, leadership, and more delivered to your inbox each week.

4 Important Vision Questions

Leadership and vision go hand in hand. You can’t be good at one without the other. If you don’t have a vision for where you want to go, you won’t really be leading anyone anywhere. Likewise, you can have a vision for where you want to go but not have the leadership skills to get you there.

When the church I serve was planted over a decade ago, it had very little vision.

It was an ever so slightly more contemporary copy of the other churches in the community.

Their pastors wore suits and ties; our pastor dropped the suit. Their churches played hymns; our church played a blend. If they were church version 1.0, we were version 1.1.

After the first year, our church attendance had grown by a negative one. No one was looking for church version 1.1. They were looking for version 2.0.

Luckily, our pastor discovered this and got a fresh vision from God for our church moving forward.

Moving from version 1.1 to 2.0 wasn’t without its difficulties. We’ve seen several people leave along the way, but it was still the best thing we’ve ever done.

Before you install a fresh vision into your church, you need to clarify these four questions.

  1. What is God calling us to?

What is God’s unique calling for your church? Who does He want you to reach? The popular answer is young families, but that may not be the case for your church. Look at the churches in your community. Is there a segment of the population that is being overlooked? Look at the gifts of the people in your church. Is there something you can offer that no other church in your community is offering? Clarify your calling.

  1. How are we going to accomplish it?

God didn’t just tell Joshua to take the city of Jericho. He showed him how it was to be done. It didn’t make sense at the time, but it worked out pretty well. Spend some time writing down exactly what you believe it’s going to take to accomplish this calling. You may have to remodel your church. You may have to make a hire that you don’t have the money for. You may need to remove some people from leadership. These are tough decisions that many pastors aren’t willing to make.

  1. Who needs to be involved?

One thing I’ve learned for certain is that it’s impossible to accomplish your calling without involving others. Gather a team around you to start talking about this new vision, get their ideas and support, and then you get their influence. Then work your way through the leadership of the church, to the volunteers, and eventually to the congregation.

  1. When should you begin?

You can have a great idea derailed by terrible timing. You may be looking to move to two services. Don’t try to start it during the summer. Be strategic about your timing. Make sure your church is experiencing momentum and capitalize on it. And whatever you do, don’t begin until you’ve answered the first three questions.

Implementing God’s vision for your church is going to be scary. It takes risk, it takes faith, and it takes perseverance. But if you’ll take the time to think through these four questions, I believe you’ll be much better prepared going forward. Good luck.

Name one big vision you’ve implemented at your church in the comments below. I’d love to hear about it. And while you’re here don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to get tips on church growth, leadership, and more delivered to your inbox each week.

My Apple Experience

Why you should always get it in writing?

I’m a big fan of Apple products. I just upgraded to the iPhone 7. I have a MacBook I’m using to write this blog, and I have a 27” iMac in my office at church. So, when my wife asked me for the Apple Watch for her 29th birthday, I was happy to oblige. But my happiness turned to disappointment when the face randomly popped off the watch a few weeks ago.

Upon doing some research, I discovered this was a fairly common problem with the Apple watch. So, I contacted Apple support.

I hate talking on the phone so I was glad to discover they had a chat option.

After just a few seconds, I was connected with an Apple representative and was able to explain the issue. They asked me to send a picture of the Apple watch, which I did, and then they explained to me my options.

This is where I started to get a little concerned. I had heard about the incredible customer service of Apple. I had even bought the book, The Apple Experience: Secrets to Building Insanely Great Customer Loyalty.

So, why was I getting the run around?

They let me know my watch was out of warranty, and there was no guarantee they would fix it or replace it for free. Even though the face of the $250+ watch popped off after 16 months.

If they decided it wasn’t their error, it would cost me $199 to fix.

I let them know I wanted to send it in to see if they would replace it for free, but to contact me if they were going to have to charge me.

The representative let me know this was fine, but informed me I may have to pay to have it shipped back to me. I agreed.

They sent me a confirmation email to confirm I was sending the watch in for repair, which led to me having to provide payment information.

This alarmed me. So once again I asked the Apple rep if they would contact me before charging me, and they said yes.

I sent my phone in, and within two days a replacement had been sent back.

I never received an email or phone call to confirm, so I assumed they had replaced it at no charge.

I was wrong. A $217 charge showed up on my credit card a couple days later.

I tell you this story for one reason. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to get things in writing and save important emails and documents.

Luckily, I had saved the transcript from my chat with the Apple rep. After a couple of phone calls, they had apologized and refunded my money and allowed me to keep the replacement at no charge.

I don’t think that would’ve been the case had it just been my word against theirs.

Hopefully, this saves you some time, trouble, and money in the future. And if you’re thinking about buying an Apple Watch, you may want to get the extended warranty.

What’s been your experience with Apple products? Have you been amazed by their customer service? Let us know by leaving a comment, and make sure to subscribe to the blog to get tips on church growth, leadership, and more delivered to your inbox each week.