9. Human need trumps brick and mortar
Pastors tend to like ministry and facilities large. People like church to feel small and relational. Pastors understand how facilities are tools to reach more people. Most people, however, are less concerned about the facility and more concerned about human need. It is the new normal now to include the human element in vision expansion projects. Church planting, multi-site, a clinic in Africa, homeless ministry in the community, and similar high human touch elements are increasingly expected in major projects. Human investment validates the construction.
A colleague worked with a client’s vision expansion project that had nothing to do with any construction undertaking. Every investment dollar flowed boldly to planting churches around the city. The multiple of annual income raised was incredible! A clear connection on how personal giving reduces human need throws gasoline on generosity.
10. Free yourself from the past. Your church members have
The recent Barna report on giving in 2007 repeated the same theme from prior years. Just 5% of American adults tithed. The most generous segment, evangelicals only topped the charts at 24%. The numbers have remained steady over the decade. We are anemic as a church in prompting generosity.
Trends in giving, however, are shifting more radically than ever before. For those of us passionate about the local church, Barna sends up a bright warning flare. People are changing how they relate with the church. No longer content with standard church interaction, they are “expanding their circle of Christian relationships beyond local church boundaries.” People increasingly give their money to organizations other than the church.
I served a client this past year that had small groups unofficially connected with their church in multiple states. This strategy was not intentional nor were these groups even supported by the church. The groups emerged from a meaningful interaction with the church podcast ministry. These groups gave generously to this church without a hint of request by the church.
There is an increasingly sophisticated donor in an ever increasing competition for the faith dollar. A challenging economy will accelerate the competition. Many donors fail to connect how their attendance at your church translates into giving practices to your church.
If inspired, motivated, and simply prompted, however, people would still rather give to their church. Our silence leaves them uninspired, unmotivated, and believing that we have no need of financial resources. The church that shifts generosity dialog and practices to better match the shifting patterns will receive substantial resources.
As we consider ministry plans for the new year in the midst of economic uncertainly, understand the urgency of making adaptations to your giving practices. You will find the process engaging, energizing, and incredibly meaningful to your people. They will be transformed with an amazing collaboration with their investments and God’s call on your church.