Tag Archives: money

Tithe Challenge

There are some who believe that tithing is a legalistic approach to giving.  But I believe that God has called us to bring our tithes and offerings to Him on a regular basis.  It’s a physical act that demonstrates that He is the Lord of our life.  The New Testament didn’t lower the expectations of giving.  If anything it actually increased it to the point that we should be willing to sacrificially give to glorify God and further His Kingdom.  We should teach regularly on the biblical perspective of giving using both the Old and New Testament as our guide.  Jesus talked more about money than he did any other subject while He was here on earth.  He knew that if we were going to learn to trust in Him, we would have to learn to let go of our main object of trust, our money.

I have found that once or twice a year as you are teaching a series on giving or one Sunday on giving, you can use the tithe challenge to jump people from initial givers and systematic givers to tithers.  It’s just as easy to ask for a 30 day commitment as it is to ask for a 3 month tithe challenge.  If your asking for a 3 month challenge, you can also modify it to a 4 month challenge.  In Malachi, God says test me.  Encourage people to test God.  “For the next 4 months I want to encourage you to take this challenge and see what God does in your life.”  Along with this challenge, you could give out copies of the treasure principle to those who take the challenge.  Either hand it out that day or mail it to them.  Mailing it could be better because in the packet with the treasure principle you can include a letter from the pastor with info about the challenge and a mail in envelope and even ask them to use auto debit.  After the challenge Sunday, send an email from the pastor encouraging them about their commitment.  Then one month in, send another encouraging email, “Right now your being challenged and are wondering what is going on and you are considering taking back what is God’s…”  Again at half way through the challenge, send another email requesting stories about what has happened since they took the challenge. (Tangible or Intangible)  Do they feel better, have inward peace, seen financial blessings, seen financial struggles, etc…  And one month before the challenge ends, send out all of the stories you received to encourage others and invite more stories from those in the challenge.  If you’re ambitious, you can also do a daily devotion dealing with money to people who took the tithe challenge.

Note: Know that there will be some people that will not continue tithing after the challenge is over.  But there will be a good percentage of those who took the challenge who will realize the value of giving and continue to do it on a regular basis.

Times of change are good times to start a tithe challenge.  These would be the months January or Feburary and then again in August or September.

A Side Note on Tithing

Malachi 3 is the basis for tithing.  The best time to teach on giving is when things are going good.  It should be a part of the normal routine.  If you taught on money as much as Jesus taught on money … it would be every third week.  A third of Jesus’ teaching is on money.  You should challenge people to give more so they can grow more.  When you are not tithing, God is not proactively against you.  But at the same time, He is not proactively for you.  The curse from not tithing is the absence of God’s blessings in your life.  Partial obedience in the tithe is complete disobedience.  Genesis 4 is another good passage where it talks about Cain and Able.  Cain gave what was left over … it says he gave some of his fruit (not his best fruit).

A common excuse for not giving is debt.  But, the way to get out of debt is to pay God first and let him manage the debt, not to pay down the debt and ignore God.  Proverbs 3:9&10 tells us to honor the Lord with our wealth.  Additionally, the tithe should be given to the church not other organizations.  The church belongs to Jesus Christ.  It is the organization He left behind.

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Should we use Credit Cards for the Church?

Credit Card

Having a good plan in place for proper use of funds will help with the overall stewardship process of your church. Often the use of credit cards and churches do not mix well.  Some are afraid of unwise use of cards or spending that may or may not be accounted for on a monthly basis.  And there have actually been leaders and pastors who have misused the church funds for their own purposes.  We shouldn’t judge all leaders and pastors on the actions of a few.  There are certain aspects of daily church business that requires some type of cash flow that is available to the leaders, pastors and/or business managers of the church.  I have found the system below to work well in providing accountability of spending and giving freedom to make necessary purchases on a daily basis for ministry functions.

The truth is if we can’t trust those who are leading our ministries and our church, then how they handle the money is the least of our concerns.  How they are leading our ministries and our church should be of a greater concern.

I hope this structure below helps as you develop guidelines for credit card use in your church.

Church Credit Card Policy

Those who use a credit card to make purchases within the church should follow the procedure listed below:

  1. Get a personal credit card in your name that will be strictly for the purpose of church business.
  2. Use that credit card for all budgeted purchases you make.  (If a purchase has not been budgeted, it will need to be approved prior to the purchase.)
  3. Keep your receipts
  4. Any purchase of more than $250 will need to be approved to check for availability of funds and cash flow.
  5. When the bill/statement comes in either to your address or to the church, you will need to fill out a monthly report indicating account totals (i.e. if you have made several purchases for supplies within your ministry, you will need to enter that on one line with a total that goes into that account)
  6. Turn the Accounting sheet along with the bill & receipts in to accounting to be paid.
Once you receive your bill, identify the account numbers and the total spent within each account and log this below.  Do not show each account more than once.  Simply give an overall total spent within each account.  Place the receipts in an envelope, attach envelope to the bill and turn in for payment

Account # Description of Account Dollar amount spent
$
$
$
$
$
$
$
$
$
$
$

Timeline Plans for Stewardship

I work best with systems in place.  I don’t have to continually reinvent the wheel, just tweak it from time to time.  The timeline below has worked great in setting up some simple stewardship plans within our church.  Many of these things I have learned by reading after Steve Stroope, Nelson Searcy, and other trainings that I go to on a fairly regular basis.  This plan has been put together as I have taken various aspects of those trainings to create a system.  I hope it is helpful to you.

Annually

Secure an Annual Commitment (Usually in January)

  • Use a card in services: Will you recommit yourself to being in a small group (which group), sharing your faith (who is on your card), quiet time (morning, afternoon or night), Serving (where), Giving (What will you give to general fund, building fund, missions fund). This is usually about the third week of January.  This is recommitting to basic Christian discipline. Allow people to specify how they plan to fulfill their commitments this year (including the amount they plan to give to the general fund, capital campaign and missions).  Don’t base your budget off of this amount – it’s for the individuals themselves. People are 15 times more likely to keep a commitment that they write it down and hand it in.

Receive Christmas Eve Offering (In addition to General Fund Offering)

  • This offering can go towards the Benevolence fund to help meet needs as they arise in the upcoming year.

Receive an Annual Offering (In addition to General Fund & Christmas Eve Offering)

  • This can be done every December.  Most nonprofits send out a lot of requests at this time of year, because they know that it is a time when people are most willing to give.  Identify what the Annual offering is going towards.  If it is missions, identify those areas specifically that people can give to.  Be detailed.  People want to know specifics.  Mail a separate envelope to the homes.  Additionally have a separate envelope in the chairs for this offering.
  • This offering is a special offering given during a set period of time around Christmas.  It encourages people to give over and above their regular tithe and offerings.  The areas this offering goes towards needs to be “Heart” projects.  It encourages people and challenges people to get involved and offers blessings for people who get involved.  The goal for this offering should be set initially to be 2 or 3 times your weekly offering.  Once your church has done this a few times, your goal will more likely be 4 to 6 times your weekly offering.
  • Identify One-time causes and new initiatives to work towards and promote.  Have no more than 3 or 4 heart causes (non-recurring).  Types of “Heart” causes could include: Missions, Church Planting, Servant Evangelism, Counseling, and Benevolence, Help for Poor & Needy, Children’s Ministry, Youth, Seniors, New Church Plant, New Multi-site Locations.  The good thing is if you don’t raise it, you don’t fund it.  These should be things that you can’t do unless people get involved.  Any money given over and above your goal can be divided equally between missions and the annual budget.
  • If you hit your goal before the season for giving is over, you can always expand the goal by adding additional elements to the goal.  Tell the church that “God has bigger plans”.  This would be a true statement if He is bringing in additional funding.
  • Note: If all of the leaders in the church give, you’re more likely to get all of your people to give.  If only half of your leaders give than likely only half of the church will give.  The Pastor and staff needs to step up and give the first gifts towards this offering.  Make it the first and best gift you can give.  If you need to pay over a few weeks, then do it.  Be sure you are a part of setting the example.
  • When you mail out your packet for the Annual Offering include, a letter from the pastor, 2 page overview sheets, Q&A Pages, Giving Envelope – Put all of this in a 6×9 envelope.  Mail this out the week after the offering is announced.  Send it to everyone who has an affiliation with your church.  If you extend the annual offering into the new year, you may want to mail another packet at the beginning of the new year.
  • You should begin your kick off for this offering the Sunday before Thanksgiving (even sooner if possible).  Include it in your Week at A Glance email newsletter every week.  Give updates and tell people where you are at in the campaign beginning in mid December (talk percentages or hard numbers, which ever works best for the time).
  • You should promote the annual offering from the stage, in sermons, in small groups, at events and activities, in leadership training meetings, etc… When you get tired of talking about the Annual Offering, the people will have heard it for the first time.  Use creative redundancy.  Think through how you say it.  Focus on the Why of the offering.  Focus in on a different area of the offering each week.

Limit Special Offerings each year

  • Don’t nickel and dime your church.  You cannot hype something new every month and expect your people to respond fresh every month.

Annual Gifts

  • At the end of each year, everyone who gives over a certain threshold will receive a gift and a letter of appreciation to those givers.  The gift might be “The Treasure Principle”, a DVD of life changes that year, or even a book on spiritual growth. You can determine what the baseline threshold is.  This investment in these people will help them develop in their gift of giving and/or see what their giving has done to impact the Kingdom.

Quarterly Letter/Statements

Send quarterly statements to give people a chance to correct their giving before the end of the year. You need to maximize these quarterly giving statements.  Include a Financial Newsletter; keep it simple and easy to understand.  Make it about more than just finance by including small group involvement, ministry involvement and other areas.  Let people know what their gift has helped you to accomplish over the quarter.  Identify life change stories because of the giving – not just numbers … include names (remember that stewardship is a heart issue).  Let people know how you are accountable for money spent and identify how the money is spent (If you are audited, let them know).  This is a chance to communicate to your people how you (leadership) are being good stewards of the resources they’re giving.  The more formal your giving statements look, the more people give.  There is trust in professionalism.  This letter or newsletter needs to come either from the lead pastor or the executive pastor.  It is always good to remind people to be consistent in their giving (2nd Quarterly statement usually has this theme).  Always put a “P.S.” in your letters – People usually read this first.  Make it more personal by signing it first name only.  Place your title below the P.S.  When sending out your letter, find a strategic time.  You may use it to coincide with helping promote a new series or something that is going to be happening.  Include some add in promotional items with the quarterly statement. It doesn’t have to be right at the end of the quarter.  To grab attention, put teaser notes on the front of your envelope.  Let people know about projects.  Include a list of designated giving options they can give toward ($50 leather-bound bible that is given to new Christians to $50,000 van for the church … this can be things that are in the budget).  This is usually about 14 items. Also tell how to give online, etc… Put camp scholarships in newsletter.  If it is 4th Quarter statement, the front of the envelope can be, “Important 2012 Tax Documents Enclosed”.

Note: You could do another statement at the end of November to help promote year end giving.  This is an opportunity to let people make sure their records are up to date.  If you do send one out at the end of November,  your Third Quarter giving statement should go out at the first of October.  Make sure the 3rd quarter statements go out First Class; this allows you to know if the address is wrong.  Bulk mailing just gets thrown out.  A website resource for ideas on mail outs is lumpymail.com.

Monthly

You can promote giving in your monthly newsletter.  Make a constant box for online giving or automatic giving.  You can also use this section to insert testimonies from members who have seen how giving has changed their lives and their perspective on God.

Weekly

First Time Givers (Send Something)

  • Send out first time giver email… thank them for their gift.  According to our records this is the first time you have given
  • When someone gives to your church it’s a great time to ask for them to give again.
  • Can send a gift to first time givers.  “The blessed life” (Randy Morris) or “Treasure Principle”.
  • First time giving letters should come from the Lead Pastor.
  • Count the number of first time givers and the number of total givers to be able to track trends within giving.

Regular Givers (Thank Them and encourage with books etc..)

  • Get a big giver report every week …  ($1000 for the first time or out of the ordinary).  They will get a handwritten letter from the pastor.  “Dear ___, Thank you for honoring God with your finances.  Your giving helps support the ministry of our church.  (signed by Pastor)  Keep a record of who those notes go out to so you don’t continue to send out the same note. If they have never received the treasure principle book … they get the treasure principle book.  If they have that you can send The Generous Giver book, The Rest of God, Margin, Fields of Gold by Andy Stanley or other life development books could be helpful.

Extravagant Givers

  • Follow the regular givers layout above.  You can also write a personal handwritten note to key givers to thank them for being willing to give.
  • Consider lining up a meal (breakfast or lunch) once or twice a week with key donors.  Once they hit a certain point in giving, have these meals be automatically set up.  This meeting is not to show favoritism to those who give, but to invest in a leader within your church who has been blessed with the spiritual gift of giving.  When you go to this meeting, get a record of their giving.  This card should have the name of the spouse, kids, activity in small group, where they are serving, etc.  Ask the giver, “Is there any way our church can do a better job of helping you grow in Christ?”  Do you have any questions about where our church is going or anything that is going on in our church?” (If they have any concern about the direction or vision of the church it will affect their giving.)  Thank them for giving financially to the church.  Tell a story of a life that was changed in the recent past.  Ask them how you can pray for them and add them to your permanent prayer list.  You generally do not ask for money at these meetings and often times it is not discussed heavily. (If you’re in a capital campaign, ask them to pray about giving the biggest gift that they have ever given.)  The main goal of this meeting is developing relationships and trust with these givers.

The timeline above is really based on the idea that stewardship is discipleship.  We must invest in people and encourage them along the journey as they grow spiritually.  I pray that some of the above plans can help you move forward in developing a culture of generosity within your church.

The Joy of Record Keeping

I know if you’re not administratively gifted that keeping records are a thorn in your flesh.  I mean, who really needs to know what people gave on a certain week or exactly how many were in small groups last week?  Aren’t we really seeking to glorify God in what we do?  I would say the answer is we need to know where we have been to know where we are going and by doing that we can glorify God in the results.  It’s interesting to me that as I read scripture, I see that someone was administratively inclined.  There was someone who counted that 3000 were added to the church on the day of Pentecost.  Someone counted that Jesus fed the 5000.  When Jesus sent out the 72 to the towns and cities, how did they know it was 72?  Someone counted that Gideon started with 30,000 men and ended up with 300 men.  The fact is that throughout scripture God is tracking what is happening in the life of the early church.  We can learn from this example and keep records of what is happening in the life of our church as well.  I’ve discovered as I look at real numbers, it is often different from my perception of how things are going.  Sometimes the real numbers encourage me and sometimes they challenge me to reach new goals.  Either way, they are valuable in measuring the physical and spiritual growth of our church.

You can track, attendance of your weekly worship service, tithes and offerings, per capita giving, baptisms, first time guests, new members, small group attendance as well as projections for some of these areas.  By tracking many of these you will be able to see over a period of time how your church is doing at evangelism and outreach, discipleship, assimilation, and other areas.

Many of the church management software today allow you to track and print reports on many of the areas above.  If you don’t have that capability, I am including a digital form (in excel format) I have used over the past several years that can help you keep records of what is taking place on a weekly basis.  You can click here to download it: Church Data Sheet


Defining the Reality of Giving

I believe that Stewardship is a process of discipleship.  Because of this, we need to be able to measure the growth of the discipleship in this area of ministry just as in any other area.  There are some who have the spiritual gift of giving, but there are others that this must be cultivated in as they develop in their walk with Christ.  As such, it is important for a pastor to not only identify the types of givers that are in the church, but also develop a plan to disciple these givers into the next step of giving.  As we take an initial look at giving there are three things we need to do:

1.  WE NEED TO IDENTIFY TYPES OF GIVERS

There are 5 Types of Givers in Every Church

Never Given  (Non-Givers)

  • How many are giving nothing?
  • This number may surprise you if you haven’t been paying attention to your giving numbers.
  • The first law of leadership is to define reality (Max Depree).  By looking at “current reality” statistics, you create a benchmark to measure progress in your church’s stewardship.  You can track individual giving in a database.  From that giving record, what percentages of the households of my church are giving? What percentages are not giving? Measure the “overall stewardship health” of your church by comparing these percentages from year to year (and do the same with serving, small groups, etc.).  Find and keep the same measurement for growth year after year for comparison.

1st Time Givers (Initial Giver)

  • How many are giving between $1 and the “poverty level income”?
  • What is “Poverty Level Tithing? Determine what the government defines as the Poverty Level income – 10% of that number is “Poverty Level Tithing”.  For example, if poverty level is $12,000 then $1200 would be a poverty level tithe.
  • Motivate first time givers by being generous to people.  When you give something to people, they are more likely to give something back to you.  This is the law of generosity.  You’re goal is creating opportunities where people’s hearts become open to giving.  Your goal is not to twist their arm to give, but to allow them to give.  If your church has a culture of holding tightly to things, you’re people will too.

Regular Givers (Systematic Givers)

  • How many are giving between Poverty Level and 10% of the median income of my community?
  • How can you determine how many people are actually tithing in your church? Determine the median household income in your area and use 10% of that number.  This will give you at least an estimate number to work through.
  • The average church has about 3% of their church who actually tithe.   (Note:  Generally 20% of the congregation is giving 80% of the income in most churches. We need to change this trend.)

Tithers (Proportional Givers)

  • What would it look like if everyone at your church tithed based on the median household income of the area where you live?
  • Determine the median household income in your area and use 10% of that number as a guide for estimated tithe.

Extravagant Givers (Sacrificial Givers)

  •  How many are giving above tithe level?
  • Regardless of income, you can become an extravagant giver.  Giving away money prompts people to give.  This gives them a standard to live up to rather than a need to meet.  If you’re church isn’t doing much … these givers will give to many other organizations, because they want to give.  Make sure extravagant giving is part of your culture.
  • What is the gift of giving?  It’s a gift that takes you immediately into the sacrificial giving area.  They have the ability to encourage others to give and teach them how and why they moved into this area.  You can identify the gift of giving by the actions of the giver.
  • Use testimonies of these givers to motivate others.  Givers can share their gift of giving without sharing the amount that they gave.  They can state that they reevaluated their priorities to make sure that they put more into giving.  You don’t have to be rich in order to have the gift of giving.
  • We have to invest personally in these people in order for them to trust us enough and the vision of the church enough to give the big gifts.  Big gifts are treated outside the planning of the budget.
  • You should challenge people to give sacrificially.  This shouldn’t be an every week request, but you can effectively make it a couple of times a year.  Sacrificial is OVER AND ABOVE the level of tithes and offerings you give now.  Sacrificial giving is consistently giving over and above the tithe.

2.  IDENTIFY WHERE OUR CHURCH IS STRONG AS WE LOOK AT THE ABOVE AREAS.

  • After identifying each area within your church, which area identifies the highest percentage of your people?
  • Are there factors that have caused one of the five areas to be higher or lower because of the area where you live?

3.  IDENTIFY THE NEXT STEPS WE NEED TO TAKE TO MOVE TOWARDS DEVELOPING A CULTURE OF GIVING WITHIN OUR CHURCH.

  • What needs to take place in order to begin to make giving a bigger part of your church culture?
  • There are some related articles at the end of this blog that could give you some ideas of some steps to take to develop a culture of giving.
  • You can encourage the gift of giving, just as you would encourage any other spiritual gift.  If someone gives beyond a threshold, send a handwritten note from the pastor thanking them for their sacrificial giving.  Keep records of who it goes to so it doesn’t go out more than once.  Send an annual gift to recognize their Kingdom investment.  This could be a book about something that could inspire rest or something that would benefit them; a DVD of baptisms (visual of how their money made a difference); or even a book on giving.
  • You can take key givers out for a meal together.  Just as you would invest in developing any other ministry gift in the church or any other leader in the church, you should invest in this as well. This shows that you are willing to invest in them – ask key questions (know about them –family, where they serve, work, etc…):  How can we better minister to you as a church?  Do you have any questions about the direction of our church?  How can I pray for you?  By answering these questions it gives them value but also clears up unanswered questions that may also be hindering their giving even though they are key givers.  (Note: Don’t try to raise money at these gatherings.)


Identifying these types of givers at our church and a plan to move people forward has had an impact on not only our church as a whole, but the spiritual growth of many within our church.

Related articles


Receive an offering at midnight!

The Moon is the most common major object viewe...

Okay, so midnight is just a random time, but what if you could receive an offering at any point in the week and any time during the day?  That would change the way we view receiving an offering weekly.  There was a point in the not too distant past that receiving an offering on Sunday during services was the only option to allow people to give.  There are a few problems with that being our only option today.  One of the main draw backs to this is that when people are not there on Sunday, they have no other way to give their offering to the church.  We expect that they will make it up the next Sunday, but all too often, they don’t.  We need to learn from the world around us and provide multiple opportunities for people to be able to worship God through giving.  Below are a few different options that you could set up at your church.  Increased options provides opportunities for increased giving.

1.  Sunday Giving

Sunday Giving shouldn’t be eliminated.  It is a vital part of our worship experience and a great opportunity to cast vision about giving.  Below are a few options of how you can use this time effectively on Sunday:

  • Use this time to celebrate what God has done as a result of giving (i.e. campaign goals reached, missions that have been supported, etc…)
  • Have someone share a testimony about how giving has changed their perspective on money (either live or by video).
  • Let people know how your church has been able to help families in the community through benevolence.

Keep in mind that this is an opportunity to inspire and cast vision about how giving can make a difference in the life of the giver and the life of the church.

2.  Mailed in Giving

  • Business reply mail envelopes
    • Set up at USPS.com.  You can set up a courtesy envelope or a postage paid envelope.
    • Put a place to give to general, building, missions and other on this envelope
    • Use this envelope for onsite giving as well.  This way you only have one type of envelope and people can take them home with them for future use.
  • Have givers set up in bill pay at their bank.  This will be mailed in to the church throughout the week depending on the schedule set by the giver.
  • Use an envelope service
    • You can bring in as much as 5-8% more by mailing envelopes to homes.  Have people opt out before you start sending the envelopes, this will save some money in the initial setup and mail out.  Then send to people’s homes once a month.  Include a postage paid our courtesy envelope in the mailed envelopes.  Address for envelopes: Lifeway Envelope Service, PO Box 269 Chester, WV 26034-0269    1-800-875-6319

3.  Online Giving Options

  • This needs to be on the home page of your website and easy to use.  Make it easy to navigate through the online giving system.  Tell them the steps.  Have a place to give to general, building, missions and other.  Have it automatically send an email to allow them to know their donation has been made or if the donation has failed.  This email can go out in the form of a “Thank You for your gift”.  You can start by using paypal  (You can negotiate paypal fees).
  • Send out email reminders to give online in place of envelopes.
  • Put stewardship articles on your website as well as financial helps and budgeting tips.  Stewardship is part of discipleship, therefore provide tools to help your church learn.

4.  Automatic Bank Debit giving

  • Your overall goal should be to move people to Auto-Debit.  This is the preferred form of giving because it is automatic and less expensive for the church to manage.  Have them download and fill out a form that can be sent to the office.  This will make it easier for them to give.  You can set this up through the church.  It is an amount that can be deducted from your account on a weekly, bi weekly or monthly basis.  It is important to send emails to everyone who does auto-debit to let them know their account has been debited.
  • You can include in your new member orientation a form to sign up for automatic giving.  Use this as a time to express how this can help in consistency and truly giving God ‘first fruits’.

5.  Debit/Credit Card giving

  • Set this up for online and onsite giving.
  • Get a merchant account.  Your church database software may have recommendations for easy interface.  If not, try Authorized.net as a place to start.
  • With this, you can also use this same merchant account to allow credit/debit cards to be used at resource tables, coffee house, book store, etc…
  • When you use this option, put a disclaimer on any printed material or opportunities to give that ‘credit cards are to be used in a God honoring way and not intended to be abused.’
6.  Set up a Giving Kiosk
  • You can make it easy for those without their checkbook to give on site by simply providing a computer or ipad setup in a prominent area to allow them to give.  Sign it and make it noticable.  Promote it during the offering time to bring attention to it.

7.  In Kind Gifts

  • Securities & Stock – there are tax benefits for giving in this way.  You will need to set up an account with a brokerage firm.  Then you will give the name of your brokerage firm and a code to the individuals who are interested in giving this way. This allows them to avoid the capital gains tax. Promote this for special campaigns, capital campaigns, yearend giving etc…
  • You can also leave the church in your will.
  • Annuities
  • Planned Giving

These are just some simple ways to broaden the opportunities for our membership and attendees to be able to give in a God honoring way.  As we provide more opportunities as a church, our people will be able to find a system that works best for them.  As a result, they will become more consistent in their giving.


Giving has more Options

I must admit that when I first heard that it was possible to increase giving in our church just by increasing our options, I was skeptical.  (I was learning from teachings from Steve Stroope who wrote Money Matters in the Church and Nelson Searcy with Church Leader Insights.) We had always collected for the general fund and seldom promoted other areas of giving.  I actually thought that if we gave more options for people to give towards that it would just cause our general fund offerings to go down.  But then I heard it explained that there are different types of givers in our church.  There are those who give because the Bible says to, those who give towards special projects, those who give towards tangible needs, and others.  By broadening our ways to give, we actually were able to include more types of givers which caused our offerings to go up even when the economic times dictated they should be going down.

5 Areas of Giving

You need to collect all five areas every year!  If you don’t, you leave money on the table when these 5 areas are not in use.  When it comes to giving, options are not optional.  You should broaden options for giving to include the following:

  1. General Fund: These are rule keepers who will give to the general fund to keep the ministry going.  This pays for the light bill, insurance, chairs, buses, etc…
  2. Building Fund: These are people who will give to building funds but will never give to the General Fund initially.  Often when someone begins to give toward the building fund, they will begin to give to the general fund.  There should always be a building fund in place.  This can be used toward facilities any way needed.
  3. Designated Fund:  These are areas you can direct people to give toward.  Keep it simple and general as far as designations.  You can cast the vision specifically.  You can turn down designated gifts if it doesn’t go toward the overall vision of the church.  Quarterly Giving Statements are a great place to promote designated giving opportunities by simply placing 10 to 15 areas of need (usually specific ministry needs) in the envelope in addition to the statement.
  4. Benevolence Fund: You can take up the benevolence offering once a year on Christmas Eve.  100% of this offering goes toward this fund.  Reference this offering when you meet a public need in the community.
  5. Missions Fund:  Every year you can work towards having a special missions offering to help support the missions vision of your church.  November/December or February/March are good times to do this offering.  It should run for 4 to 6 weeks to be able to emphasize not only the offering, but the missions opportunities as well.

Many of the people who initially started giving through funds other than the general fund, started giving to the general fund as well.  The other funds actually helped jump start their tithing in their home.  Additionally, the other funds gave regular tithers a place to give towards heart felt needs that they were passionate about and allowed them to give more in these areas than above their tithe.


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