The church world is not immune to the “ups” and “downs” in attendance and in budget numbers. Matter of fact, the average attender only gives 2.3% of their income to the church in an average year. That being the case, the summer can be especially tough on church budgets. Because attendance is down for various reasons, offerings reflect this trend as well. For many churches, this is recognized in advance, but can really put churches in financial binds. Hence the question, how can churches overcome the summer budget crunch?
First, there is not just one answer to solve this problem. However, a church that recognizes this issue can take proactive steps to solving it. It is not just a monetary issue, but spiritual as well. Here are a few ideas to generate excitement in your church and strategize how can you have success through a summer program of giving.
- Pray – giving a tithe or an offering is ultimately a spiritual issue. People that are tithing with regularity give like clockwork no matter what season of the year it is. The power of prayer should not be overlooked.
- Offer alternate ways to give – One of the more popular avenues to give is called, “online giving”. 50% of protestant churches still no offer no way of electronic giving. This tool allows the attender to give without having to drop money in an offering plate or be present at a worship service.
- Be transparent – Many folks will give if they know a need exists. Be open and honest about the needs. You will be surprised how many of your members will step up to the plate when a real need is presented.
- Have a strategic plan – Be creative and come up with innovative ideas to keep this need in front of your congregation. There are many ways to keep this need a focal point without the pastor having to preach on it every week.
- Have a goal – Everybody love challenges. Before summer hits, work with your leadership team in setting a summer goal of giving. Keep this information in front of the people and promote it each week in all your communication. Use your ChMS to automate this process.
- Lead by example – It is important that the pastor and staff buy in to this challenge. Don’t ask your congregation to do something you are not willing to do. People follow leaders that they trust and are equally sacrificing.
- Be specific – Share with your congregation what the money is going to be used for. Today’s generation loves to step up to causes or specific needs. Give examples and utilize people in your church that these funds will support.
One church I attended met the summer challenge head-on with a financial goal for June, July, and August. This goal was a huge focus and brought energy and unity to the church that summer. We even had the children and youth involved. In their VBS and worship times they were taught the Biblical principle and practice of giving. One concept that was shared by the entire church was; “We could do more together, then we can apart.” At the end of the summer, we had a huge dinner on the grounds that Labor Day weekend to celebrate the church’s accomplishment of meeting the goal and overcoming the summer budget crunch.