So, what’s the plan? By now, you and a few other hundred thousand churches in the US and abroad have been forced to stop and RE-THINK the plan or the strategy. You have probably been working up a new strategy on how to...
- Engage the church
- Work through groups or Sunday school classes
- Provide resources for parents to minister to their kids (children and students)
- Lead in worship, prayer, communion, and preaching
By now, for some subtly and others overtly, the question may still be remaining: How are we going to fund the ministry in this season? What is the plan or strategy in the area of giving and stewardship while we wait for this season to end? In the last blog, we wrote about how to minimize the loss financially in this season. In this blog, we want to pick up on 2 more areas – how we can guard what is present and how we can prepare for what is ahead.
Guard What is Present
You already have an existing donor base, communicate to them often and clearly. Consider the diagram as a pattern to follow:
Vision & Opportunity - If the church has ever had a reason for being or a moment to shine, this is it. Not just in theory, but in practice. This is the moment that we have been talking about, preaching about, and praying about. Remind your church of why it exists (corporate & individual) and the opportunity that is before each of us where we are (individual in our community).
Clarity of Next Steps – We often speak in vague terms that sound good but may be unclear at times. This is not the time to speak in broad strokes, but in precise bullets.
I invite you to (be specific):
- Go and knock on your neighbor’s door or give him/her a phone call to check in…
- Meet with your small group via zoom…
- Continue worshipping God through your giving and obedience…
- Share your faith in light of the opportunity…
There are many places online that provide video training. Add these to your Facebook feed or website under resources.
Compel your Audience - When they do these steps of trust and obedience, ask them to send you pictures. As they come in, celebrate them appropriately via the different channels and remind the church: “This is happening because of your trust, obedience, and faithfulness in giving” or “We are able to continue seeing God’s work through your generosity in this time.”
Affirm Trust & Obedience – Do not forget, “THANK YOU FOR YOUR GIVING TO THE LORD.” Each of these moments reinforce your discipleship values and mission as a church. Each of them reminds your church that while the ‘doors are closed’, the opportunities are wide open. And every opportunity taken is one that demonstrates trust and obedience at various levels; it is part of the discipling process.
Preparing for What is Ahead
Once this season finishes, there will be a ‘new normal’ for your church, for every church. Take this moment to consider the culture of giving and stewardship that exists today versus that one that should exist or the one that you want to be associated with your ‘new normal.’ Consider the following as it pertains to your giving strategy:
- What is missing?
- What needs to be different?
- What systems are absent or broken?
- How often do I need to teach about this?
- What opportunities to engage during the week should I be considering?
- Is our expectation really that clear for members and parishioners?
- What is my philosophy of giving, truly?
- What can we do to make it easier for folks to give when onsite or offsite?
- Should we consider online giving? Text to give? Giving through an app? Go fund me? Or any other remote/digital giving options?
- How is our membership actually doing in this area? What does follow up look like?
- How are we following up with new givers? (digital or traditional givers)
Your culture of generosity is being revealed now and there is likely room to grow. What changes can we implement today to make us more readily prepared for the next trial or pandemic?
If you have never thought through these concepts or want to process them together, I would be happy to jump on a zoom call and chat through the unique dynamics of your church and the opportunity ahead, just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.