Eliminating Generosity Obstacles – Part One

Technology // August 27, 2012

Much of becoming a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ involves removing obstacles. Our sin creates barriers between us and God. Our overflowing schedules create detours and blowouts on the road to Sabbath rest. Our financial priorities can develop massive hurdles on the path to generosity.

Part of the local church’s work is to help Christ-followers identify and eliminate these barriers on their transformational journey. And sometimes the church inadvertently creates these obstacles, many of them in the area of generosity.

So what are those potential obstacles? I’ve thought of at least six. Here’s a couple of them to get us started:

Obstacle: Assuming people carry cash or checks

Imagine a guy named John sitting in your worship service.

You’ve just given a compelling invitation to participate in a new generosity initiative at your church.

The words you spoke and the Holy Spirit’s nudging have John – for the first time – reaching for his wallet during the offering. 

The wallet … it’s empty.

John sighs and sits back. He feels an odd mixture of disappointment and, because the moment has already passed, a bit of relief. “Oh well,” he thinks. 

No, it’s not your fault that John’s wallet is empty. But if you don’t offer alternative ways for John to participate, you’ve thrown up an obstacle.

Imagine what would happen if you reiterated your invitation in this week’s e-newsletter and provided a link to give online? Chances are that John may get that same nudge and be able to respond this time.

Obstacle: Requiring an account to give online

Sam’s catching up on her personal e-mail during a quick 30-minute lunch break at work. She reads your latest message about your church’s new online giving portal. “Perfect!” Sam thinks. “I left my purse in the car during church last week!”

She clicks the link you’ve thoughtfully included in the blog, only to discover that she has to create an account to make a simple donation. She looks at the clock, gauges how much time she has left in her break, and decides to deal with it later.

Life moves on, and Sam forgets all about it.

You’ve been there, right? “I don’t want to create an account! I just want some information!”

People who are new to giving feel most comfortable with a quick process that doesn’t require them to memorize yet another username and password. Nor do they want to answer ’20 questions’ in order to make an online gift.

At the same time, regular givers appreciate the opportunity to have an account so they don’t have to type in all of their information every time. Bottom line: Make account creation an option. Check out how Community Christian approaches this.

What questions do you have about online giving? What fears do you have? Do you already offer online giving options and have you seen growth? I’d love to hear from you!

More obstacles to come… stay tuned!

leveraging technology to accelerate givingLooking for more in-depth information about giving technology? Download your FREE copy of my e-book “Leveraging Technology to Accelerate Giving.”

About Rusty Lewis

As a church leader, there’s nothing more frustrating than not having the funding to do what God’s calling you to do. But when you think about trying to address that problem, you feel overwhelmed, you dread the potential pushback from your congregation, and you’re not sure where to turn for help. Over the last 18 years, I’ve helped more than 120 churches close the gap between their current financial reality and what they need to move forward in ministry.

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