Without church giving, places of worship can’t keep the lights or the heat on, can’t minister to the poor, and can’t care for their members. Yet church giving can still be a difficult topic to address.
Leaders fear being stereotyped as “the one who always talks about money,” and it’s true that some church members, based on past negative experiences, may bristle at the mention of the topic.
If your church giving is on the decline, it’s time to do some detective work and find out why your members aren’t contributing — and what you can do to turn the tide.
1. They Don’t Know the Need
This is foundational: Do you talk to your church members about the importance of giving? Church expert Chuck Lawless says, “Few preachers have intentionally and strategically called [members] to give.”
He says that mentioning church giving once a year or only when the church is in dire need is simply not enough.
2. They Don’t Carry Cash
More and more people don’t regularly carry cash. Here’s an anecdote: NPR recently reported on some restaurant chains that don’t even accept cash anymore. If your church is unprepared to receive electronic, credit card, and mobile donations, you’re leaving some would-be givers out in the cold.
Thankfully, it’s easier than ever to implement a modern solution for your church giving needs. Once you do, your cash-free members will thank you for offering them a convenient way to contribute — and their giving will likely increase, too.
3. They Don’t See the Vision
When you do talk about giving, be straightforward and transparent. It should be no mystery what happens to the money once it is given to the church. If your congregation knows your vision and priorities—and they buy into them—they will most likely give.
If it’s murky or unclear just where their donations will go, or if the church’s vision is confusing or not clearly communicated, the purse strings may well tighten.
4. They Don’t Have It
When you talk about church giving, don’t alienate a portion of your congregation by speaking as if everyone is upper middle class and adequately employed. Your church is most likely made up of people of varying socioeconomic statuses. The very poorest in your congregation may be choosing between giving to the church and actually putting food on the table.
Also, when an otherwise middle class family finds the breadwinner(s) suddenly out of work, they may struggle to give during that season. Be sure you communicate compassionately, acknowledging the real world difficulties that some of your members may be facing.
5. They Don’t Think They Have It
Americans have financial planning issues. 46% of Americans say they couldn’t cover an unexpected $400 expense. Shockingly, 19% of those making more than $100,000/year say the same thing.
Some people in your church may think they don’t have money to give, but they might with a little bit of coaching. Consider offering a financial planning seminar as an elective at your church to help your people steward their money more wisely. Love this idea? We’ve got four more here.