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Monday, June 13, 2005

Summer Giving Slump? 5 Things NOT to Do!

Money3 Many churches suffer from a temporary decline in giving over the summer months.  For smaller churches, especially, this can make things really tight.  Brian Kluth from Maximum Generosity suggests five things that you should NOT do if you are experiencing a summer slump in giving.  (Tomorrow, we'll look at Brian's five things you SHOULD do).  Brian says:

  1. DON'T publicly pray for the tithers and  non-tithers: One time I visited a church in LA and before the offering the Pastor asked all the tithers to stand so he could pray God's blessing on them!  After he  prayed for all the tithers, he then asked the rest of the congregation to stand so could lead them in a prayer of repentance!

  2. DON'T take more offerings: I was visiting a church in another city that took the offering and then immediately had the ushers count it.  The pastor announced the total amount of the offering and said, "it's not enough, we're going to take another offering".  He did this two more times before he finally "had enough"!

  3. DON'T have the Pastor promise to resign if the bills aren't paid by next week: A new pastor at a church discovered his first week at the church that lots of bills hadn't been paid in months.  On the next Sunday he announced to the congregation that ALL the bills were individually taped up on the wall in the church lobby and that when people left they should each take one of the bills home and paid it in full.  He said if any bills were still left taped to the wall when he walked into the lobby after church he would resign as their new pastor and would not be back next week!

  4. DON'T offer casino nights and beer at the church: I once talked with a man that had a hangover because the night before he had worked at the beer tent during a casino night (with real money) to help raise money for his church!  Other churches offer raffles, bingo nights, bake sales, dinners, and carnivals to try and "get" people's money for the church instead of Biblically teaching them to give to the Lord.

  5. Don't report everyone's giving totals: There are some churches that "list" all the giver's names and the amounts they've given (or not given) to the church!

FOR DISCUSSION:  I think often times churches feel that 'desperate times call for desperate actions" and try to handle things themselves rather than relying on God.  How has your church handled times of short cash-flow?

You can read many more great resources on church giving at the Maximum Generosity website.

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June 13, 2005 in Church Finances | Permalink

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Comments

This year we find ourselves behind the budget considerably more than normal. I will admit that we have long and spirited discussions on how to handle the shortfall. We don't resort to extreme measures, and I certainly won't resign if the bills aren't paid. We do not even announce the giving in the bulletin. We do in communication to the congregation through e-mail, letters and the newsletter. But not the bulletin because of visitors. We will curtail ministries and programs until the shortfall eases. If one letter is not sufficient, then another one is sent out. But not too many because they lose effectiveness if they are too frequent.

Posted by: Kent | Jun 13, 2005 2:44:35 PM

Great topic Todd.

In my first church, we never took an offering. They had a small box on the wall next to each exit with a slot in the top for folks to drop their offering into. One summer we were really struggling with low offerings so the Elders decided to purchase and pass plates like other churches. Bad idea. In a church that had always relied on God to supply, it seemed like the Elders were becoming greedy (I actually had several people tell me that). The offerings were actually cut in half within the first month. I have found time and time again that its best not to panic when giving isn't meeting expenses. Instead it is best to pray and faithfully watch for God's provision.

Posted by: Rich Viel | Jun 13, 2005 3:14:11 PM

Great book to read: George Muller (his life story).

Most churches I visit take an offering. The Bible College I went to has a tithe box in the back and rarely made mention of it.

I was taught "we're not under the law" yet many times we preach one law we are all still under - Tithe?

BTW - if a person were to search "free will" in the Strong's concordance, it rarely has anything to do with a salvation choice... it usually references those that give of their money of their own "free will".

God knows the needs of individuals and The Church, He'll provide.

Posted by: BeHim | Jun 13, 2005 4:06:21 PM

One of the most serious mistakes is teaching that Christians should "tithe" to the church. I heard and read lots from pro-tithers, and it's contrary to true stewardship and generousity. The only reason I see to push tithing on the congregation is because the Pastor doesn't have faith that if they gave from their heart, as directed from the Lord, it would amount to much. Contrary to tithing, we should consider 100% of our time, treasure, and talent as belonging to the Lord, and we will account to Him for it... not just 10% of our salary... And instead of churches exacting money from the poor, under a false Malachi Ch. 3 interpretation of blessing/cursing, they should do the opposite and help the poor! This "give-to-get" preaching is starting to hit even the churches that claim to honor the Bible!

...Bernie
http://www.freegoodnews.com/logos/

Posted by: bernie dehler | Jun 13, 2005 11:04:25 PM

Bernie,
Great post! 100% agreement.

Others who have posted:

I think a distinction needs to be made however when it comes to "trusting God".

Taking an offering with a plate (while it is a tradition) is not an act of doubt... it is a conviction that the offering is an act of worship. BTW... for all I know the black box at the back of the church serves the same purpose.

I have heard some say that to take up an offering in that manner (passing the plate) is to lack faith that God is able to meet the needs of the church. However, if we take that line of reasoning to it's logical conclusion, then any outward act of obedience that a congregation does corporately is a lack of faith. Why sing when the rocks can cry out? Why preach purity when we all know that Jesus will deliver us as a pure and spotless bride? Why apply the word corporately at any point?

If we ask our members to commit on any level to the lord (i.e. using their talents, time, resources), then why don't we ever hear people complaining about being publicly asked to donate time, or talents. It would seem that in America, money has achieved a "hands off" status that the average pastor is scared spitless about.

I guess it's true that you can't serve two masters.

lance

Posted by: Lance | Jun 13, 2005 11:18:38 PM

A house divided will fall. The issue isn't the fall or the house but the "divided" - from what? Or, more appropriately, Who?

Things that make you go hmmmmm.

Posted by: BeHim | Jun 14, 2005 12:58:02 AM

Let's keep the discussion on track... really don't want to get into the 'tithe/no-tithe' teaching arguement as we've already been there on numerous occasions (actually anytime we've ever discussed the issue of stewardship.) :)

FOR DISCUSSION: I think often times churches feel that 'desperate times call for desperate actions" and try to handle things themselves rather than relying on God. How has your church handled times of short cash-flow?

Posted by: Todd Rhoades | Jun 14, 2005 8:49:46 AM

"How has your church handled times of short cash-flow?"


They cut my salary. Now the church doesn't suffer, but I do.

Posted by: Pastor Good | Jun 14, 2005 9:00:12 AM

The classic adage is that "All problems are merely opportunities in disguise". For instance, if giving drops (as it has currently in our church), it may be the perfect opportunity to highlight the ministries that are going on and what is being accomplished. Testimonies about stewardship are great, but we plan to mix those with testimonies about ministry. The message is that the money we give translates directly into ministry. You're more likely to give if you're a partner in what God is doing.

Posted by: Bob | Jun 14, 2005 1:23:51 PM

"How has your church handled times of short cash-flow?"

We pray and ask God to provide for our needs.

Posted by: BeHim | Jun 14, 2005 1:44:03 PM

My experience has been that a drop in summer giving is simply a reflection of the fact that people are away more. They may intend to "catch up" in their giving when they get back, but find that post-vacation finances are tight. The result is that they end up giving less.

Maybe the answer is simply to find ways to make it easier for people to give while they are away. The congregation I serve uses giving envelopes like many other churches. We started having the name and address of the church printed on one side of the envelope so people could mail in their giving if they knew they were going to be away. The result for us has been that our summer giving drop off has practically disappeared. There are also many companies that allow churches to offer EFT giving as an option for a very nominal cost. If you want people to be faithful in their giving, make it as easy as possible for them to give.

Posted by: Jim Behrendt | Jun 14, 2005 1:45:56 PM

People give when they become aware of a need(s) that's meaningful to them or that the Spirit has directed them to give to.

So...bring specific needs to the forefront of their consciousness through whatever medium.

food for a hungry family.
clothes for a kid without.
rent for a single mom.
car fixed for a elderly lady.
Air conditioner repaired for a young family.

you get the point.

If you're trying to motivate folks toward paying for building, staff, utitilities, programs, etc...

good luck. :)

You've got the tough (if not impossible) job of coming up with and communicating the value of those things (bldgs, programs & staff) in a way that motivates folks in the same way the above list does.

Posted by: Rick | Jun 14, 2005 1:52:14 PM

Jim wrote:

"The congregation I serve uses giving envelopes like many other churches. We started having the name and address of the church printed on one side of the envelope so people could mail in their giving if they knew they were going to be away. The result for us has been that our summer giving drop off has practically disappeared. There are also many companies that allow churches to offer EFT giving as an option for a very nominal cost. If you want people to be faithful in their giving, make it as easy as possible for them to give."

That's a great idea! Isn't it great that something like putting an address on an offering envelope can make a difference? I know there are times when I have my giving all set to go and leave it on the kitchen table. It doesn't get to the church until the next Sunday. But if it had an address on it, I'd just pop it in the mail (although our envelopes are too small). We're all creatures of habit (and in my case a little laziness) :)

Posted by: Todd Rhoades | Jun 14, 2005 3:30:22 PM

What do you do when it comes down to a decision to pay the pastor's salary or the electric bill? And what do you do when the electric bill wins? We recently faced that decision ~~ and the electric bill won. What am I supposed to do? I hate being put in this position.

Posted by: Rev Rob | Sep 26, 2005 4:19:34 PM

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