Every where I go these days churches are moving into end of the school year and summer strategy mode. Easter is over. Graduation is coming. VBS is on the horizon, summer camps, and the like are being planned. I always ask pastors and church leaders “What is your summer giving strategy?”
Let’s face it; most churches have drop offs in giving over the summer months. See if any of this sounds familiar:
- Many church finance chairs will stand in front of their people sometime during the summer and request (beg) people to give more.
- Many pastors will send out a letter in May to encourage their people to give during the summer.
- Many pastors will stand in front of their people sometime during the summer and request people to give more.
- Many finance teams fear having to cut ministry and staff this summer due to tough economic times combined with the ‘summer swoon’.
- Many churches will end the summer with a negative feeling going into the fall due to the tough economic times during the summer. This affects everyone.
If any/all of this sounds familiar to you and your church or you fear some of these will happen in your church, then I ask you the question that I ask everyday to pastors and church leaders: “What is your generosity game plan? Does your generosity game plan have a strategy to address the impending summer swoon?”
Here is a strategy for you to implement before school lets out for the summer:
- Celebrate the life change of 2012. Every church has an amazing amount of activity in the first quarter of the year but it often gets overlooked as we focus on Lent and then quickly turn our attention toward summer. Make sure you celebrate generosity in worship during the final weeks of the school year. Connect the financial giving of the people to the life change that was facilitated by the church during the first 4 months of 2012. Use live testimonies, video, pre-offering messages and sermons to celebrate the life change in your church.
- Preach at least two sermons on financial giving. It is a proven fact that when pastors preach on generosity/stewardship; giving increases in the ensuing weeks. People need to hear what the bible says and what the pastor believes about the giving of finances. We don’t need to incorporate service, time, and talent in these pre-summer sermons. Just focus on financial giving. There are other times for the other components of generosity. Use the sermon time to talk about the life change of 2012 and also to talk about the electronic giving strategy of the church and how that can help cash flow through the summer. The people need to hear straight talk from the senior pastor during worship.
- Promote electronic giving. There are many reputable companies out there who can get you up and running quickly. The processing fees have come way down in the recent past as competition for this market has increased. If you do have online giving, the spring is a great time to remind people it is available and how to utilize it. More of your people would use online giving (either paying by debit/credit card or automatic payment) if they knew you had it and the senior leadership promoted it on a regular basis.
If you incorporate these three steps you may not completely avoid the summer swoon, but you will radically reduce the effects. School’s almost out and your people are about to scatter; get busy.
How can I help you with this? Please do not hesitate to contact me. firstname.lastname@example.org