Following the release of the first three videos in the series, we invited you to share comments and questions. You did! So, here are our answers.
#1 comes from the Director of Children’s Ministry at a church outside of St Louis. She wrote:
You mentioned making a concerted effort to reach out and specifically thank the church’s consistent givers, and you offered a threshold of “people who give at least 15 times a year”. But that got me thinking, my family for one always tithes on the very first Sunday of the month, for the whole month. So even if we give a special end-of-year gift on top of that, it still only comes to 13 times a year. Not trying to split hairs at all, but curious what made you land on the “15 times a year” figure.
Answer: My error in the “15 times a year” threshold didn’t take into account faithful monthly giving versus weekly or bi-weekly. So let’s revise the guidance and encourage churches to reach out and specifically thank those who are among the top 15% of givers from a frequency standpoint. Again, no one needs to know the amount being given…but if someone is faithful to the point where they fall into the top 15% of your church, they need to be personally thanked.
#2 comes from a Pastor on staff of a large church with multiple live and online livestream services where timing and service flow are a factor…
He wrote: we struggle with the “information over inspiration” aspect of our pastoral and giving moments. What should happen in the Pastoral moment as it pertains to giving? Can you separate the “how to give” from the “why to give” in your service flow?
Answer: Instead of separating the how to give from the why to give…why not ALWAYS keep them together, but in proportion to what the congregation most needs to hear? In other words, if it takes you :30 to cover all the different giving avenues – text to give, website URL, box in the back of the sanctuary, drop off an envelope at the office on Tuesday…whatever the options, let’s say it takes :30 to cover them.
How about a 2-to-1 ratio where the “why to give” (inspiration) wins? So if it takes :30 for the how…take :60 for the WHY. Share an example of how the people of the church have made a difference for the Kingdom through their giving. Always couple the how with the why.
And if your services are so tightly programmed that an extra :60 for inspiration is a bridge too far…then your service is too tightly programmed. Period. Are you performing or are you worshiping and asking the Lord to speak through you? Then give Him the time He deserves to inspire your people to worship through giving. Inspire them. Always.
Question #3 – how do you use “belonging” as part of the giving moment?
I know a man who would empty his wallet and throw all his cash in the plate when he visited our church. I asked him why and he said “because it makes me feel a part of things.” I think it is a HUGE mistake when churches say “don’t feel obligated to give if you are visiting, this is for our regulars.” Giving makes people feel like they belong, doesn’t it?
Answer: I’ve never understood why any church would use the “don’t feel obligated” line during the giving moment. Of course they’re not obligated. But in using that phrase, you plant a negative thought in the minds of visitors that they had likely never considered…and it raised additional questions for them as they now wonder if there are some things they ARE obligated to do, other than put their phones on silent.
Instead of that clumsy “deactivation phrase,” how about this instead? “Here at 1st Baptist Presbyterian Methodist Melting Pot Congregation, we believe that giving to the Lord is an act of worship as important as singing and preaching. If you choose to give today, please know that it will be used to support missionaries around the nation and the world…as well as the outreach we have in this community. We’re glad to have you here with us whether you choose to give or not, but wanted you to know that the invitation is open to everyone to worship through giving.”
I would love to hear from you as we continue TGS in the days ahead. We’re just getting started, so what topics would you like to see addressed? Whether it’s focusing on churches or other faith-based organizations and the relationships with those who give…please share your thoughts with an email to TheGivingSeries@gmail.com