At the outset of the pandemic, there was an immediate focus on giving (born out by the mass transition made to online/eGiving) as churches recognized the potentially devastating impact Covid could have on their ability to function. Many congregations responded in an amazing way, and the financial disaster was averted for the time being. However, after 18 months of ups and downs, streaming, hybrid, work from home, and a thousand other changes…pastors and church leaders have to come to grips with what giving now looks like and how to engage and reestablish that mindset in our congregations.
As always, and especially now, the importance of communicating vision is crucial. Going through, and now coming out of, the pandemic – many congregants may be unsure about what the church’s vision is, whether it’s changed somehow, and how it’s going to be carried out. “Buy-in” to the church vision is probably the strongest motivator for giving. Pastors must be cognizant of this and take every opportunity to communicate the church’s vision and the plan for carrying it out. Don’t get bogged down in trying to make it perfect or pristine. Especially post-Covid, many congregations will accept some levels of uncertainty – but the goal is to share where you are, where you are going, and invite them to once again join you in the journey.
Another great tactic to use is to share ‘wins’ your congregation has experienced. Pastors and leaders have gone above and beyond during Covid. We’ve pivoted and adapted in ways we wouldn’t have thought possible – stretching resources to make the most impact. Share those stories with your people. Show how their sacrifice and faithfulness made it possible to do what was needed and the results of those efforts. Reinforce that their ongoing participation is just as important going forward.
Another important facet to addressing this challenge is to understand who you are communicating to and then adapt accordingly. Not everyone in your church will respond the same way to the same methods. Gen X’ers and Millenials are motivated to give by very different things. Your Boomers and Gen Z’s look at giving in very different ways. Take the time to understand these generational differences and then make the effort to connect with them appropriately.
The last recommendation I’ll give is to provide your congregation with flexible giving options. The days of ‘cash or check’ is over. Even “online giving” – while still very important – is moving towards the commonplace. Does your congregation have the ability to donate non-cash gifts? Assets (vehicles, stocks, legacy gifts)? What about cryptocurrency? Much like the point we just made in understanding the different giving motivators, we must also be ready to address all the various giving methods we may run into. Having them understand the importance of giving tithes and offering no matter how they do it. Don’t assume what your congregations may be capable of – provide them with the opportunity.
As pastors, we must remember that it’s not our job to do everything. We are called to shepherd our people – and that often entails walking patiently with them, encouraging and exhorting them to align their thoughts and actions with the Truth. Coming out of a time of such uncertainty, where the default reaction is to turn our focus on ourselves, it is so important to help our congregations reengage with the mission of the church. The opportunity, responsibility, and honor to join others in the giving of our resources to the work of the Church is another important component of that mission.
Use this free resource guide, Gearing up for Fall Giving, to educate and encourage your members to engage in this Biblical stewardship of tithing.
Cal joined the ACS team in 2004 and is currently the Market Strategy Manager serving denominational ministry partners. He received a degree in Secondary Education at Southeastern Bible College before pursuing graduate work at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. He has served on various local nonprofit organizations, including The King’s Academy, a Christian school in Florence, SC. and R.E.A.C.H., an educational resource group based in Florence.
Visit Church Growth for more information on Church Giving