Three Simple Steps to Survive the 2021 Church Giving Slump

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A 2021 Church Giving Slump??

I’m calling it. I predict that churches in the summer of 2021 will see a giving slump that surpasses many previous year’s slumps. 

Traditionally, churches see a dip in giving during the summer months. We have discussed summer giving slumps before, but this summer has the makings to be much different. 

Why? 

Well, we’re looking at a summer where many people, for the first time in over a year, feel comfortable traveling outside their local community.  

With a global pandemic and the resulting lockdowns and travel restrictions put in place, vacations and traveling were out of the question for many people. In fact, air travel in 2020 was down 60% compared with 2019 numbers.  

With precautions starting to relax in the last weeks and months, domestic travel, at least, has become more feasible and desirable. More people feel comfortable traveling and seeing extended family members. Many are now seeing opportunities to make up for lost time and take those vacations they had previously been unable to schedule. 

In other words, now that people can travel again, you can bet they are going to do just that.

So what does that mean for churches?  

More than likely, we’re going to see giving decrease as people use some of that discretionary income or their vacation savings to now take that vacation they had been putting off. More people have dealt with anxiety, stress and burnout in the last year and they are looking for a chance to get away and just relax and unwind. 

The good news is that a potential giving slump doesn’t have to blindside your church or leave you struggling to pay the bills.  

As a pastor, here are three simple steps you can take to prepare your ministry to survive the upcoming slump.  

1. Don’t hide from the church giving slump; talk about the importance of tithing and giving to your local church 

If you’re struggling to figure out how to talk about it, you can check out this article and this one. Many churches that have giving issues or struggle with revenue, sometimes have a problem because they don’t make generosity part of their DNA.  Don’t make talking about money taboo in your church.   

Talk about it, all the time. And when you think you’ve said it enough, talk more. 

Giving is a spiritual discipline much like prayer, bible study, discipleship and worship.  People that take issue with pastors talking about giving, more than likely haven’t developed this spiritual discipline or fail to understand why giving matters.   

Heading into this summer, be bold to talk about giving.  Proclaim with boldness the value of being faithful to those things that God has called us to and make people understand that the next step in their relationship with Jesus is following the things He has commanded. 

Preach boldly and unapologetically about giving. You’re called to shepherd people; this is part of their spiritual growth. 

If you are looking for additional resources for how to talk about giving or struggling to figure out how to make generosity a part of your church’s DNA, we’ve created a free guide to walk you through the process. You can access it here

2. Manage the church giving slump by looking at expenses and managing cash flow  

Practically speaking, one thing you can do to combat the giving slump is to better manage your cash flow.  

There is a common business adage that says if you don’t know your numbers, you don’t know your business. 

The same is true for your church. If you don’t know your numbers, you don’t know the health of your church. 

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “But I’m the pastor. I just shepherd people and let someone else manage the money. Church finances are not my responsibility.” 

You’re partially right. Should you be responsible for paying the bills and tracking income for the church? Probably not.  

BUT… 

If you are the leader of the church, you absolutely should understand where your church stands financially.  Finances are a very real part of the health of your church. And the truth is your church could be headed for very real financial trouble if you don’t take steps to correct the problem. And how do you know if your church has financial issues? You have to know your numbers. Additionally, if you don’t know the financial health of your church, it’s much more difficult to make wise financial decisions and lead and grow the church. 

At a minimum, you need to know what your average monthly giving amount is.  Along with that, there are several other metrics you as pastor need to know. We discuss them in this post here. By knowing those numbers, you can better lead the church and know the financial health of your organization. 

When you know your numbers, you’ll be able to identify trends and have an idea of areas where spending is required, and perhaps things that can be turned off or delayed until cash is in a better situation. 

A practical step here is to look at your monthly expenses. Are there any discretionary expenses or subscriptions that maybe can be turned off or cancelled all together to save some money?  This will help with cash flow during an income slump. 

Still feeling stuck with exactly what you need know about church finances as the pastor? Download our free guide where we walk you through the five financial metrics every pastor needs to know. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a numbers person to understand. We’re all about S-I-M-P-L-E. We walk you through exactly which metrics you as pastor need to be aware of, why these numbers matter and how you can get easily find and review these numbers so that you can more effectively lead and grow your church. If the thought of finances and budgeting makes you cringe a little inside, this FREE guide will give you greater clarity and confidence in your ability to steward the financial resources of your church. 

3. Minimize the church giving slump by utilizing online giving  

Okay, this is probably obvious, but if your church does not offer an online giving option, you are preventing some people from being able to give to your church. Online giving is an opportunity for your congregation to participate in the act of worship through giving. 

This may sound a little harsh, but a resounding percentage of people (especially the younger generation) prefer to make electronic donations. Yes, some people still carry cash or checks with them, but more and more people do not. Let’s be honest, some don’t even own a checkbook! 

There was a time when an argument could be made against giving electronically for the reasons of potentially encouraging debt, or the other arguments that could be made.  However, our economies have shifted, and more money is transferring electronically now than ever.   

If you are not providing an electronic giving option, besides the fact that you are preventing some people from being able to give, you’re missing out the full income potential of your church. It’s true. You could be losing out on money every month. Numerous studies have shown that adding a digital giving option can increase donations between 20-35%! 

We recommend SimplifyGive, our online giving solution created with small and growing churches in mind. SimplifyGive is focused on keeping costs down, so that more money from each gift comes to the church for ministry. At the same time, it offers you easy-to-access valuable church giving metrics, so that you can better lead and grow your church.  

SURVIVING THE 2021 CHURCH GIVING SLUMP…MADE SIMPLE 

This summer of 2021 is an exciting time for many people in the United States. After over a year of staying home, there is a strong desire to travel and to engage in activities that were postponed or unavailable for a while. But the flip side of this excitement is that engagement with and giving to church might not be at the forefront of people’s minds. Churches can and should prepare for a potential decline in giving.   

But if you’re prepared for and aware of this potential, your church will be able to endure the season and come out on the other end equipped to finish the ministry year strong. 

If you’d like to know more about how you can better manage your church finances or have a team of church finance experts available to you to help navigate the ups and downs of church finances (at a price that’s affordable for small and growing churches), schedule a discovery call with Simplify Church. We’d be happy to show you how we serve local churches across the country, enabling them to better focus on ministry and reach more people for Christ.  

Disclaimer: The information presented in our blog is intended to provide general information for your church.  Because your situation may be fact dependent, please reach out to us or a local church expert for guidance on any specific situation that may pertain to your ministry.

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