The Power of Compelling Mission Clarity
In my early days of ministry building the church budget for the next year was a bit of a mystery to me. There were LOTS of excellent stewardship campaign resources which focused effectively on making the biblical case for generosity. While the campaigns were well received by the congregation, it seemed to me that there was something missing. Most often, we experienced the same giving level as the year before, keeping the essentials of the church budget in place. What were we missing?
Who Are We?
It shouldn’t be any surprise that most church households are not particularly excited to voluntarily share their annual household income.
What if we had a way to understand better the financial capacity of the active households in our church or parish?
Using Experian’s Mosaic household types, we can do exactly that. By creating a Mosaic profile of your congregation, each household is assigned a median household income.
Using demographic analytics, we no longer have to “guess” about the giving potential of our church or parish.
The sample plot of households above resulted in 449 households with a total gross median income of $39,259,289! At a 2% giving level, this church would have a budget of $1,177,779. A 1% giving increase would generate an additional $392,593 for the new ministry! Generosity, however, is something quite different than capacity.
The Power of Mission Clarity and its link to Generosity
How do we move a church from simply understanding its “financial potential” (which is a powerful thing all by itself) to experiencing real “financial power”? I am confident this happens when a church budget is built around a clear and passionate sense of shared mission and communicated clearly to the congregation, which then results in an increase of generosity inspired by that mission clarity. People always give to what they believe in. Money always follows the mission.
Tom Bandy talks about the need to have a “heart burst” for the people in your ministry area. I have often said that demographics don’t have much energy until you view them “with the heart of God.”
Galatians 5:14 says: “For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” That’s where the power of demographics informing decision-making and resulting in mission clarity REALLY kicks in! You can’t love your neighbor until you know your neighbor.
The number three Mosaic household type in the same sample mission area where we plotted our 449 households is “Urban Legacies.”
Urban Legacies households are most often middle-aged sophisticated singles with modest incomes. They live in urban centers in modest housing, some of whom live below the poverty level. Watching broadcast/streaming tv and listening to the radio is common.
They are technology “wizards,” meaning that technology use and adoption influence every part of their lives.
So what if this church made the decision to love their “Urban Legacies” neighbors? What if they started groups specifically for these singles who are interested in sports and are most likely looking for relationships since we know that they are single adults? What if the leaders of the church “told the story” to the congregation about the 3,247 “Urban Legacies” households in their ministry area? These households represent 5.9% of all the households in this ministry area.
Perhaps the church doesn’t have the funds to upgrade its technology. There may be no tech staff at all.Or a singles ministry leader? What if the church were absolutely clear and entirely passionate about their “heart burst” for these neighbors? What could the church do with an additional $392,593, a 1% increase in giving?
In my experience, every time a church tells a compelling story about the love for real “neighbors” in their community, tying generosity to mission clarity, the results are extraordinary. I have never failed to raise a church budget when the church is focused by the power of mission clarity.
If you want to know more about how demographics can help focus your church’s mission, naturally encouraging increased generosity, then ACS Technologies would be pleased to be a ministry partner with you.
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Rev. Chuck Salter, Vice President of MissionInsite and Ministry Advancement, joined ACS Technologies in 2019. He is a clergy member of the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church. Chuck has over 30 years of experience in the strategic use of community demographic information. He has served as a church planter and has provided UMC Conference leadership in missional development and ministry advancement.