Things are crazy hectic right now for me and my family as Christmas approaches. We have gotten better at managing the stress and craziness, but it still sets in every year. Churches are no different. Christmas is one of the busiest times of year for churches with all of the festivities surrounding the season. It is difficult to think about tomorrow much less next year but I want to challenge you to begin thinking about your Generosity Game Plan for 2011.
Here are 3 strategies I encourage you to employ. I can’t guarantee success, but I certainly can gurantee your chances of success will radically increase if you implement one/all of these strategies.
1. Create a Generosity Team or modify your existing Stewardship Committee. If you have an existing stewardship committee, I would encourage you to remove the word stewardship from the title as well as committee. Unfortunately, the word stewardship has a bad connotation in many churches today and it is actually not the best word to describe what the team is designed to do. Stewardship is management of resources. Generous, according to Webster, means “liberal in giving : openhanded”. We want our people to be generous first as well as good stewards of the resources God has entrusted to them. Every church needs a group of people who focus on generosity 12 months out of the year; not just in the fall when it is time to do the budget campaign.
Committee also has a negative connotation in many churches. Many perceive committees to be formal, business like, and sometimes divisive; not ministry building. Team has a more unifying feeling for people as we perceive teams as working together to achieve a common goal. I would actually encourage you to remove committee from all your church language. It will make a difference; try it.
2. Create a Generosity Team Calendar. Write down the Generosity Game Plan and then work the plan! Most churches have strategic plans written down for their major ministries; why not for generosity? The generosity team needs to plan the entire year of generosity, write it down, and then execute. The team will all be on the same page and everyone will know what to expect, how to plan, and how to implement. We execute what we write down and commit to at a significantly higher percentage than we do to things we verbally agree on.
3. Identify at least 4 Sundays in 2011 to publically celebrate generosity in your church. People like to see life change. People are moved by life change. People want to see an “ROI”, if you will, on their investment. Show your people how the dollars they are entrusting to the church are being used to impact lives and grow the Kingdom. It is a great time to say thank you as well as inspire others to get on the giving pathway. Public celebrations create trust among the people by letting them know the leaders of the church are being good stewards of the dollars entrusted to them. Public celebrations give the church leaders an opportunity to be in front of the people with something positive to say regarding giving rather than the normal request for extra giving to catch up on the budget. Everyone likes to celebrate!
It is time to begin planning for 2011. Put the ball in motion. Don’t wait until the end of January. Take action now so your church can enter 2011 with a strategic plan to cultivate generosity which can lead to a contagious culture of generosity.