Tony Morgan may not have been the very first church consultant, but he seems to have perfected the craft. We brought him in to evaluate our church a few years ago, and it was one of the best things we’ve ever done. He gave us several valuable insights about our church, but none more valuable than telling us to move our offering time.
Before Tony showed up, we had always waited until the end of service to talk about the offering. To make matter worse, we just asked them to drop their offering in some buckets by the back door as they left.
Tony saw what we couldn’t. By waiting until the end of service to take up the offering, we were communicating that it wasn’t that important. We were treating it more as an afterthought.
Our congregation treated it the same way. Some of them gave, but many of them did not. It wasn’t that they necessarily didn’t want to give. We just did a terrible job of asking.
When your church is located in a town where the median household income is $29,000 a year, you can’t afford this type of mistake.
So, we took Tony’s advice, and our offerings tripled. Just kidding but they did get significantly better, and they’ve continued to get better as we’ve become more intentional about how we talk about money and giving.
Currently, these are the four things we’re doing that we believe is making a difference in the finances of our church.
- We make giving easy by offering people three different ways to give. They can give through cash or check as we take up the offering each week. They can mail in their offering through a postage paid envelope we have available at our Guest Services desk. Or they can give online. If you don’t offer online giving, you’re making a huge mistake. Get online immediately.
- We speak on giving throughout the year. The past couple of years we’ve done a financial series in the fall. These series not only teach people the concepts behind giving but also are designed to teach people better money management.
- We make the offering a part of our worship set each week. After the third worship song, someone on staff will come up and talk for two to three minutes on why we give. They’ll sometimes share a personal story, other times it’s a scripture, and other times it’s a story of life change taking place in the church.
- We offer classes once or twice a year on financial management. Many people would like to give to the church, but they just aren’t in a spot where they feel they can. So, we try to help them set up a budget, save an emergency fund, and find ways to pay down debt.
Our per person giving is still nowhere near where I’d like it to be, but we continue to make progress. I’m just glad we called Tony when we did. His advice couldn’t have come at a better time.
How’s the giving at your church? What are you currently doing to increase generosity within your congregation? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.