What are the secrets to increasing your church’s financial resources? They’re simple and anyone can do them!
Spend time and energy where it counts
How can you attract anyone to a church if they see you overworked, frustrated, and despairing?
Worrying about the bottom line or ramping up your fundraising to make ends meet so your church survives another year will wear you out―body and soul! Forget about the money and focus on inspiring people about your mission.
Get back to basics
I am a Christian today, over 2,000 years after Jesus’ death and resurrection, because of the passion and mission focus of the early Christians. They lived out their faith in such a way that others took notice. People of their day thought, “These people are giving up all they own to follow Jesus, even to death. How can I be a part of something that incredible?” Those early followers focused on making a difference in people’s lives, in Jesus’ name. This also needs to be our starting place.
Focus on your mission
In his book Not Your Parents’ Offering Plate, J. Clif Christopher shares the main reason people give to the church: belief in the mission. To grow our resources, we have to concentrate on clarifying, communicating, and doing our mission so potential donors can see how we make a difference in Jesus’ name.
Communities of faith that have a clear, shared mission and update it regularly have higher per-capita giving than those that do not. Their mission informs, focuses, and challenges everything they do. When people who are inspired by that work are invited to participate, they give generously.
Communicate your mission
What is your congregation’s mission? Does everyone know what it is? Do you discuss and pray about it regularly? Does it inform your ministry and vision? Do people from the surrounding community know what you are about? If the answer to any of these questions is no, that is your starting place.
Don’t be afraid to ask!
Research shows that eight out of 10 people who are clearly and directly asked to give will make a donation. Once you define, state, share, and are excited about your congregation’s mission, it becomes easier to invite people to support that mission with money, time, and ability.
United Church resources can help you focus on inspiring and inviting people to more fully participate in your congregation’s ministry. Called to Be the Church: The Journey is a good place to start. The Stewardship Best Practices module and the Congregational Giving Program module both begin by helping you focus on your mission and include coaching so you can be successful.
The Rev. Roger Janes, Stewardship and Gifts Officer, is passionate about encouraging new ways of thinking about stewardship. You can contact him at email@example.com.