Originally posted – January 7, 2010
December is almost always the month of the year where the most money is given to the church. People are moved by the season of generosity as we celebrate the most generous gift ever given to man; Jesus. Many are moved to give for other reasons emotional and intellectual.
In November most churches will send out end of the year giving letters encouraging their people to give as we want to end the year strongly and often times make up some deficits in the budget. We remind our people of the tax benefits of giving at the end of the year. Often times end of the year giving reminders are in the bulletin, newsletter, on the website, facebook and twitter and often times in worship services. Many churches rely heavily on end of the year giving.
I have observed that December 2009 giving was no exception to the requests, reminders, and pleas like the one from Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in California. http://content.usatoday.com/communities/Religion/post/2010/01/rick-warren-24-million-saddleback-evangelical/1 People respond to clear vision and appeals to their generosity. Every church I have spoken to in January who made end of the year giving efforts in 2009 reported to me their people gave generously in December of 2009.
My question for you is how many churches make as big a deal in January to say thank you and celebrate the December generosity? Why don’t we spend more time saying thank you than asking? I hesitate to guess how much money would consistently be given if we spent as much time celebrating our people’s generosity as we do asking them for their money.
I came across an interesting website the other day http://www.octanner.com/. This is a company that makes their money by teaching companies how to say thank you to their employees and how to appreciate their employees. This is really cool and sad all at the same time. It is cool that someone like O.C. Tanner realized the need to appreciate people on a regular basis and if you do they will be more productive employees. It is sad that there is a need for his services.
How often do we say thank you to our congregations for their generosity? How often do we genuinely say thank you without the ‘but’ coming right on the heels of the complement? Do we truly appreciate our people?
If you are a pastor I encourage you to find 10 opportunities in the month of January to say thank you to your congregation for their generosity in December and for the entire year of 2009. If you are a lay person I encourage you to find 10 opportunities to say thank you to your staff members for their faithful and unselfish service to you and your church.
According to O.C. Tanner “We believe appreciating people reveals talents, builds confidence, and encourages contribution. And the most influential way to appreciate people is to provide a fertile environment where they can grow.” How fertile is your church’s environment?