Six Types of Church Givers You Should Know

If you pastor a small town church, you know that every giver matters, because every dollar matters. You and I don’t have the luxury of having millions of dollars in the bank. The median household income for a family in the community my church serves is $37,000. And believe me, most of the time our church isn’t getting close to ten percent of that. So, money is always a challenge, which is why you need to know the different types of givers in your church.

I have absolutely no problem with a pastor knowing what each person in the congregation gives, as long as they don’t show favoritism. Treating someone differently because of what they give isn’t necessarily favoritism, in most cases it’s about addressing each person where they are in their spiritual maturity. You engage them differently.

That’s what this post is for. It’s to share with you how we engage different types of givers. So, let’s get started.

  1. Never Giver – These are pretty self-explanatory. This is a person who has never given to your church, which is ok if they’ve only been attending for a short period of time, but if they’ve been at your church for awhile and still won’t give, that can get annoying. Try to engage them through giving talks before each offering, a yearly sermon series on giving, and opportunities to give to special projects during the year. In most cases a Never Giver will never be in leadership at our church, but that’s up to you.
  1. First-Time Giver – Seeing first time gifts is always very exciting because it means God is doing something in their lives. It also means there’s potential for them to become consistent givers. Our pastor makes sure to send handwritten thank you cards to every first-time giver.
  1. Hardly Ever Giver – They’ve given more than once, but never consistently. Try to engage them through a financial small group like Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace or get them to sign up for a 90 Day Tithe Challenge.
  1. Consistent Giver – Consistent givers fund my church. We have very few givers who give over $5,000 a year, so that means it’s those who are consistently giving $25 a week or $50 a week that keep our bills paid. Our pastor will randomly send them handwritten cards, and many of them get invited to an appreciation dinner just for givers each year.
  1. Over and Above Giver – We have a handful of people in our church who are able to give above a tithe. They’ve helped fund an addition onto our central campus, as well as our second campus location. We couldn’t have done it without them. With that being said, we’ve never had a single gift larger than $25,000. That’s the context we’re doing ministry in.
  1. Lost Giver – These are the people who use to give to your church, but no longer do. It would be wise for you to find out why. Every church loses a percentage of their givers each year, but when that number starts getting close to 25%, it’s past time to be concerned.

What’s the median income in the town you serve? How would you rate the giving at your church? Let us know by leaving a comment below, and don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to get tips on church growth, leadership, and more delivered to your inbox each week.

The Five Characteristics of a Great Volunteer

Being able to find a handful of great volunteers is often the difference between a small town church that grows and one that declines. Great volunteers are just as valuable as great staff members. In fact, they may be even more valuable because they’re willing to do the work for free. Before you start thinking about planting a church or transforming a church, it would be wise to find a group of great volunteers to help.

You know as well as I do that it is becoming increasingly more difficult to find people who are wiling to give up their time to serve the church. So, I’m not going to pretend that finding great volunteers is going to be easy. It’s not.

The fact is many of you are going to read this list and decide that you have no one in your church who qualifies as a great volunteer. Unfortunately, that may be true, which means you have to work with what you’ve got.

Hopefully, over time you’ll be able to develop someone with these characteristics, or God will bless the church by sending some to you. The church I serve has gained great volunteers in both of those ways.

In fact, I wouldn’t have labeled myself as a great volunteer in the beginning. Thankfully, I had a pastor who saw potential in me and was willing to develop the characteristics I needed to be a great volunteer and eventually a great staff member.

So, what exactly are the characteristics of a great volunteer? These are the five characteristics I would look for.

  1. They own the vision.

I’m looking for someone who is personally engaged in the mission and vision of the church. I want them pulling for me, and not against me. Are they supporting the ministry with their time and money? Are they inviting people to church? Are they positive about the direction the church is going? Normally, if someone has this characteristic, the rest come a lot easier.

  1. They work to make it better.

I want people to be frustrated when things aren’t done well, as long as they’re willing to help to fix it. When they see a piece of trash in the floor, I want to see if they pick it up or not. I pay attention to those who show up to church early and those who leave late. I want volunteers who are constantly thinking, “How can we improve this?”

  1. They help each other.

If you’re going to be a great volunteer, you have to be willing to work with others. I want people who are willing to step out of the media booth when there’s a shortage of volunteers in the kids’ ministry. I want people who are willing to serve in areas outside of “their” team. The only way church works is if we’re willing to work together.

  1. They replace themselves.

If you’re a volunteer who is able to replace yourself, then you become irreplaceable to me. I’m looking for people who aren’t afraid to hand over their position to someone else. I’m looking for those volunteers who encourage and empower others around them because as the church grows, more leaders have to emerge.

  1. They’re always willing to change.

The biggest reason why many rural and small town churches aren’t growing is because of their unwillingness to change. We know the Gospel never changes, but everything else around it does. So, I need volunteers who are willing to change. I know we’ve never had people greeting in the parking lot before, but we’re going to start. I know we’ve never allowed coffee in the sanctuary, but we’re going to start this week. Are they able to embrace change?

This is my list. I’d love to see yours. Share it in the comments below. If you’re small town church pastor who is struggling right now, and you need someone to talk to, visit my contact page. Let’s set up a call. I’d love to help.

5 Assumptions Your Church Should Make to Serve Guests Better

Guest Post: Brett Bixby

There’s no guarantee that a first time guest will visit your church this week, but if they do, will you prepared to receive them? One of the biggest mistakes small town churches make is not preparing with guests in mind. We can’t afford to make that mistake. Our mission is much too important. So, I’d like to share with you a training we did with our teams, that you can take and share with yours.

  1. Assume there will be guests every week
  • We do what we do in guest services under this assumption every single week.
  • We are glad everyone feels welcomed and accepted each week, however, we do guest services for the person or family that arrives for the very first time.
    • Everyone knows where to park – but not the first-time guest
    • Everyone can open the door on their own – but for the one guest
    • Everyone knows where the kids check in is – but not the first timer
    • Everyone can find their own seat – but we want the first-timer to be able to find a seat and not feel like we are full or that they are taking someone’s spot. This is why we set up chairs as we fill up.
    • Guests usually come early or late – serve at your post at least 15 minutes before the service begins and at least 15 minutes after the service has started.
  1. Assume guests will not introduce themselves
  • Most guests are looking to stay anonymous
  • We need to make the first move in greeting someone we don’t know. They might have been attending for 3 years – but if you don’t know them, please introduce yourself. “How long have you been coming to _____________?”
  1. Assume guests do not understand WHAT we do or WHY we do it
  • This is why we wave people in at the driveway
  • This is why we help people know where to park
  • This is why we take people with young children to show them the children’s area
  • This is why we need to explain the security and safety of the kid’s area
  1. Assume every first-time guest has some degree of nervousness
  • They may be trying to find the person who invited them
  • They may be from a different church or religion and are out of place
  • They may just have a fear of the unknown
  • Some are worried the building is going to cave in on them
  • Parking, finding the bathrooms, and sitting down are three nervous points.
  1. Assume God is strategically working in the lives of everyone who drives onto the property and walks through the doors of your church on a Sunday morning.
  • Regardless of whether someone is a first-time attender or a regular, whether they are young or old, tall or short, fancy or plain, we assume God has prompted them to come to church today!
  • With this mindset, we present them with an over-the-top welcoming experience because we believe God has already been involved in them coming to church.

Brett Bixby is the Executive Pastor at Bridgewater Church. They have 5 campuses spread across Northeastern PA and the Southern Tier of NY. He has been a pastor for 20 years and has been at Bridgewater for the last 8 years. He is married to Nicole, and they have 5 children.