This fall has been filled with the busyness of another campaign season. Much like you, I’m running from one meeting to the next. And when I’m not in a meeting, or traveling to one, I’m preparing for the next video conference, giving analysis, or on-site visit. It is a true blessing to be very busy in this ministry!
But I saw something recently that helped me slow down. It helped me remember the main reason why I do what I do. My guess is that you could use a reminder of why you do what you do on occasion too, so I took out the smartphone and snapped a picture that has already become a favorite in my library.
I’ve said it for 15 years now – ever since beginning my work in generosity and stewardship consulting. It’s not about the building (or the renovation, or the money, or the fill-in-the-blank). As churches conduct generosity initiatives to fund God-inspired vision, we always need to remind people that while the building they are hoping to fund is a desired outcome of the project, it in itself is not the true vision behind the initiative. The building is but another tool in the ministry toolbox that we pray God will use to reach others with the good news of Jesus Christ.
What you say and how you say it has a direct correlation to what your givers give. Have you ever considered that? Have you ever considered what it might look like if you were to leverage your communication to accelerate giving? It could truly change your ministry and fund the God-sized vision of your church!
That’s the premise of our new e-book called Generosity Speaks: Designing Communication to Impact Giving. And this new 38-page resource is available to you for free starting today!
In this new e-book, Kaycee Parker and I have teamed up to provide you with:
- the often missing link between ministry and generosity (and how to fix it)
- a bit about why givers give, and how you can reach your givers
- practical, step-by-step instructions on how to make sure generosity is not just part of an annual sermon series
It’s e-book launch month again! And after the feedback I received from my last e-book, I can hardly wait to get this one in your hands. As I promised in my last blog post, this is another very practical resource to help your church accelerate generosity – this time with a focus on intentional communication.
While my co-author and designer Kaycee and I are finalizing the very last details, I wanted to provide you, my faithful blog readers, a sample of what this resource holds for you and your church.
So let’s take a look today at chapter 4 – specifically the section on worship bulletins. (I told you it was super practical!)
FROM GENEROSITY SPEAKS:
Part of the purpose of your bulletin, whether you are intentional about it or not, is that it informs and educates those who have just come through your doors, especially the very first time.
What you say (or don’t say) impacts what your people give (or don’t give). There’s a direct correlation between the two. And, if done well, you can increase the generosity of your church by implementing a basic (but strategic) communication plan.
That’s the premise of our new e-book called “Generosity Speaks: Designing Communication to Impact Giving” launching here in just a few short weeks.
I’ve teamed up with Kaycee Parker, founder of KP Communications, to write this one. I know you’ll appreciate her insight from 15 years of experience in the communication world – namely the last few as communication director for a mega church in the St. Louis area and now working freelance to support churches across the country.
So what’s in this new resource designed to help you accelerate generosity with solid and intentional communication? Here’s a quick list of wins for you and your church:
Last weekend was awesome! I had the privilege of worshiping in a brand new worship center at a church I’ve been partnering with for the last couple years – Harvester Christian Church in the greater St. Louis area. It was their grand opening weekend, and excitement filled the air.
It was a blessing for me to see the fruit of their dedication and efforts, and to celebrate with them. Seeing what happened that day, and hearing of what happened at another church a colleague of mine has been coaching, made me want to share these successes with you – to encourage you and to give you ideas on how to make something similar very special for your people. So here are several ways to ensure the success of your church’s grand opening.
1. Conduct a Soft Opening
Much like a new restaurant serves their family and friends before opening the doors to the public, it is wise to have a soft opening a weekend or two prior to your publicized grand opening.
A few years ago I wrote a blog post called “Eleven Reasons NOT to Offer Online Giving” – a rare tongue-in-cheek post meant to encourage the implementation of electronic giving solutions in churches across the country. It’s a quick and easy read if you want to revisit it. But little did I know then just how relevant that post would prove itself today.
This summer a Dunham+Company / Campbell Rinker study showed only 42% of churches in the US offer an electronic giving option. Less than half. While larger churches have an increased likelihood of having electronic giving solutions, that percentage drops to 29% in churches with fewer than 200 in attendance.
While the percentages themselves may not surprise you, another recent Campbell Rinker study showed that 70% of other (non-church) non-profit organizations offer online giving. Now there’s a discrepancy worth talking about!
What’s the difference? Non-profit organizations throughout the country (of which there are over 1.5 million currently, by the way) understand the importance of this technology. It’s really pretty simple: Non-profits employ giving technology because it works. Your people have a choice where they give, and these non-profits make it easy for the giver.
People just don’t like to talk about money. Maybe you’ve already come to that conclusion. But did you know this? More people dislike talking about money than death or politics or taxes. (Yes, you read that right!)
A survey from Wells Fargo last year revealed “nearly half of Americans say the most challenging topic to discuss with others is personal finance.”
It’s not just your church. It’s not just the people at your church. No one seems to like it!
Interestingly, although conversations about money seem to be avoided or heated, financial concerns are staying top-of-mind. Two in five people in the survey said money is the source of the most stress in their life, and one in three people said they’ve lost sleep worrying over finances.
And when you look generationally, 71% reported learning to spend and save from their parents, but only one-third of today’s parents reported teaching these principles to their children. You see, there’s a fallout happening.
Last Friday more than 250 church leaders across the country listened in on a moderated discussion on the topic of generosity and technology.
I was honored to be a part of the conversation, along with Derek Gillette of Pushpay and eChurchGiving, and DJ Chuang a strategy consultant.
In case you missed the webinar live, you can watch it now without a login or email address required.
And be sure to listen for the question asked by a participant that we couldn’t answer! (You guys ask really tough questions!) In case you’re interested in a good laugh, it happened around 26:45 in. Sometimes even a panel of experts doesn’t know the answer!
During this one-hour conversation, we covered some really compelling points:
- The recently changing methods of giving, and maintaining the worship of the offering moment.
- Church attendance rates – how they’re impacting giving, and how the church should adapt.
- How leaders can improve communication around giving to encourage future gifts.
- Best practices learned after working with thousands of churches to increase generosity.
- The importance of technology for new and future generations of givers.
Now that my latest e-book has launched, I’m happy to let you know about a related webinar I’m really excited about! This Thursday, June 18, I’ll be partnering with my friends at Pushpay to take a behind-the-scenes look at the stories, stats, and best practices of churches using technology to inspire generosity.
So, first, in case you haven’t already downloaded and read my e-book “Leveraging Technology to Accelerate Giving” I would encourage you to do that right now. I’ve heard from several pastors across the country they really appreciate its easy-to-read format and practical application.
If you have already downloaded this free resource, I want to thank you! Please let me know what you think. I greatly value your feedback and input as I continue to serve you.
And please join me for the webinar, too! I will be joined by Derek Gillette of Pushpay, and DJ Chuang, a church tech specialist who both have loads of experience and expertise in this area.
In this 60-minute webinar we will cover topics like: