As summer approaches days get longer and ministry gets slower.
Pastor, if you haven’t already you’ll start to see attendance numbers drop over the next few weeks. Days at the lake and vacations will soon consume the lives of your church folk. With the drop in attendance you may also see a drop in weekly giving totals as well.
Now if you’re offering an online tool where people can setup an automatic payment that’s one way to help, but what are some other options you can use?
Here’s a quick suggestion that my pastor has used and had some success.
Now I’ll admit, this suggestion isn’t for everyone. I can see how some pastors may have animate objections to this idea so just take it for what its worth before you comment.
The idea is to offer a 90 Day Giving Challenge.
The premise is to encourage non-givers to give it a shot. God has already shown us that giving is the one area we can test him.
“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!” – Malachi 3:10
If you’ve been around church long enough you know what the frustration that talking about giving can be. You’ve heard the negative comments when you preach about generosity. It’s no doubt that this area is one of the most difficult parts in our spiritual development.
So how do you present the challenge?
It’s basically this. Preach a sermon about generosity. As part of that message, make an offer to the congregation and the offer is simply this.
If you’re not a tither currently, start today and let me (you the pastor) know you’re taking the challenge. If at the end of 90 days you have not seen the blessings that God can provide or you’ve not been taken care of by taking an amount of your income and giving it back to God, I’ll give you a full refund of the amount you gave.
Now pastor, this challenge will take some fortitude on your part. You have to stand by your word and give the money back if they ask. (But I’ll add, in all the times we’ve done the challenge no one has ever come back and proved it wrong)
Secondly, we’re not talking about prosperity Gospel, health and wealth or any of that crap. If you’re planning to use this for that then just stop reading here and open your Bible.
Ok, rant over!
Seriously though, we’re not talking about God’s blessing monetarily like some cosmic bank deposit where suddenly a mass of money as a blessing from God is going to show up for the person taking the challenge.
What we’re talking about is the reality that God takes care of those who are faithful. Does that mean he’s going to magically provide a new car because we’ve suddenly started tithing? No way.
We do know, however that God is going to meet our needs. It’s amazing how God takes what we have and multiplies it to fit our needs when we’re faithful. As a businessman, it makes no sense to logically look at the facts of living of 90% of our income when up until now, we use every dollar that comes in.
But the truth is, it works. God provides and we’re on track taking that next step in our spiritual development.
OK, back to the challenge and experiences we’ve seen.
In most cases, the people that took the challenge not only didn’t ask for their money back, they also have turned into faithful givers. We even had skeptics take the challenge to prove us wrong.
Now I’ll admit, there’s a level of subjectivity here and that has to be taken into account. I’ll also concede that some will not agree with this method and call it a gimmick or heresy. You’re right, it’s not for everyone and every ministry.
I present the idea as just that, an idea to help encourage giving in your church and during the summer when giving gets tight, it’s a good time to remind people of the importance and blessing that giving back to God can be.
This is also not a hard fast, proven system. It’s open for refinement and customization for your congregation and ministry.
Ministry is hard and as a pastor you may feel sometimes like you live in a silo. While there are somethings we’re unable to help with for you we hope that we can speak into the financial management of your church and help you be better at wearing that hat.
If you try the challenge with your church, let us know. Comment below and tell us you’re going to try it and then follow-up and let us know the results. When we work together to build better ministries, the Kingdom is blessed in the strength of our numbers.