While engaged with churches across the country, I get the opportunity to work with some really outstanding people and organizations. Sometimes these people have resources and expertise I suspect my readers might value.
And that’s the case with Don Corder, Founder of The Provisum Group - an organization driven to assist pastors and leadership teams in the effective day-to-day management of the church. Don and I met while I was engaged with his church in a recent generosity initiative. His church is also a Provisum Group client, and they speak very highly of the assistance they receive from their partnership.
I had a recent conversation with Don to get a bit more information about the book and his work with churches. Here’s what he had to say:
Q: You recently wrote a book called Minding His Business - what prompted you to write it?
A: I wrote Minding His Business for one reason: To make pastors’ and ministry leaders’ lives easier by sharing 35 years of experience conducting business in and out of the Church. If you think about it, the people God calls to be pastors are usually creative, relational lovers of people. That person is more like an artist than an accountant. Yet, sometimes pastors are expected to have expertise in accounting, finance, marketing, web development and more. They are sometimes expected to be pastors and CEO’s. It does not happen in all churches but it does happen in many. It is a recipe for burn-out and failure.
Minding His Business is a business primer written specifically for churches and faith based charities, but written to the right side of the brain. The book is divided into 40 short, easy to read chapters and the content is written in parable and anecdote. On its pages you will read of church after church facing similar challenges, what was done to meet the challenge, and how it turned out.
Q: Tell me about the book and how it helps “make life easier” for those in ministry.
A: After years of helping churches all over the United States with their business administration, I kept seeing the same problems and challenges happening over and over again. I began to realize that there are very few “new” problems in the Church. There are just “new” people having the same “old” problems, usually for similar reasons and requiring similar solutions.
I did something a couple years ago that was super helpful to me and to the churches I serve. I asked for feedback. I asked for input. I asked the church leaders in the trenches day in and day out what they needed most in the realm of generosity.
That feedback led to several practical blog posts about creating a culture of generosity, preaching on generosity, and how to talk about it outside the offering moment. (Great stuff – thank you for requesting it!)
It also led to the creation of several e-books about giving technology, communicating to impact giving, and the importance of recurring giving.
And now it’s time to circle back and ask again:
What do you need, want, and desire most to help you and your team impact the generosity of your people to fulfill the God-sized vision of your church?
As is always my focus, I want to make sure I’m providing you what you need – not just what I think you need. So I would love to give you an opportunity to share with me exactly how I can best help you.
Please take five minutes to answer a few quick questions for me. I’ve put together a short survey (yes, it’s short – I promise!) to allow a quick and easy way to speak into what’s coming in the near future.
Now is the time. The floor is yours.
I look forward to hearing what you have to say.
TAKE THE SURVEY
Your people have questions. And they’re not just about the next children’s ministry event or where to take their canned goods for the food pantry. They have questions about giving – big questions about why they should give and what happens to their money when they give.
As their pastor, it’s your responsibility to make sure they have answers to these questions. This is an opportunity for you to make sure your people are being guided and encouraged on their generosity journey, all while making sure your God-sized vision for ministry is being funded.
So here are 5 questions your people are likely asking, based on 5 things people need to know before they will give. (Trust me – most of your people are asking at least one of these questions!)
1. CAN I TRUST YOU?
The news is unfortunately frequent with stories of improper use of charitable gifts – the Wounded Warriors Project being the most recent example. People want to give where they know their gifts will be stewarded well. Be transparent. Work to build integrity and trust in your personal leadership, and in those in positions of leadership. Communicate well, and often.
Follow through. Do what you say you are going to do. Don’t ask people to do something you yourself are not doing. (Be an example.) People give to those they can believe in and trust. How have you shown your church is trustworthy in the last six months?
2. WHAT’S THE VISION?
Givers give when the mission of the organization aligns with their passions. Most people aren’t as motivated by need; they give to vision. It’s not about the money, but what the money will accomplish. It’s not about facilities, but the ministry the facilities allow.
Late last year I reached out to more than 500 church leaders across the country with a survey on the topic of generosity. At the end of the survey, I offered an opportunity for respondents to ask me any questions they had on the topic.
I must say, you and your fellow church leaders posed some great questions. Thank you! (In fact, one of the most common questions has started developing into an e-book I’m eager to get into your hands soon, so stay tuned for more on that!)
But first, I’m excited to start answering these questions one by one with a string of blog posts in a “You Asked For It” series. Today’s question was one raised by several respondents, so I figure that’s a good place to start.
Q: How can we include generosity as a regular element in worship beyond the weekly offering?
Last week’s post – “An Annual Giving Statement That Will Impress and Delight Your Givers”
– stressed the importance of leveraging your church annual giving statement mailing. A couple of dedicated readers and executive pastors sent questions to me after reading the article, expressing some frustration with the cost of following the eBook’s recommendations. They are larger churches. One even outsources their mailings to a professional fulfillment house. The expense to prep and send the personalized mailings via the US Post Office would be considerable.
“Are there affordable options to mailing out giving statements?”, they asked. Absolutely! And here is the suggestion, which is applicable for most any church, regardless of size.
The recommendation would be to move from mailing hard copies, to emailing. There are several advantages to this approach:
It happens every weekend. Well, I’m guessing you at least pray for it to happen every weekend. A family who has never been to your church walks in the front door. You identify them by the “I’m-not-sure-where-to-go” confusion on their faces. Your friendly greeter welcome them. You introduce yourself and thank them for coming. You offer them directions to the children’s ministry for the kiddos. You encourage them to get free coffee in the guest area.
We’ve become very good at this part. It’s almost natural, isn’t it? Offering a bit of warmth and hospitality just feels good!
Has your church developed multisite locations? Are you considering going multisite in the future?
If you answered “yes” to either of these questions, this message is intended specifically for you!
The multisite movement is booming across the continent. There are currently more than 8,000 multisite churches in America.
In a couple of recent posts, I’ve introduced the idea of a perspective shift from giving to something (building campaigns, mission projects, and so on) to giving from something.
When I talk about giving from, I’m not talking about our checking accounts or retirement funds; rather, I’m talking about heart and head issues. Specifically, there are three general categories of “froms”: the shoulds, the cans, and the want tos.
Recently I had the opportunity to connect with Rob Kuck of Philanthrocorp. We discussed some of the changes that are coming in tax law if the looming “fiscal cliff” isn’t resolved by December 31.
Several options are being discussed, including one that would limit and/or entirely eliminate tax deductions for charitable contributions. Additionally, estate tax changes are on the horizon. Here are notes from our conversation.
What possible implications in the charitable tax area that might result from the looming fiscal cliff we are hearing about in the news?
This is the final in a three-part post on Eliminating Generosity Obstacles through effective online giving.
The previous two posts can be found here:
Part of the local church’s work is to help Christ followers identify and eliminate barriers on our transformational journey. And sometimes, the church inadvertently creates those obstacles, many of them in the area of generosity.