Alan Wildes

Alan Wildes

Financial Updates in worship? Really????

Financial updates in worship?  Really?

Yes, really.  Why wouldn’t you give your people financial updates during worship?  You get to talk to your people 52 times a year and IN PERSON!  Do you realize what a HUGE advantage that is over ALL other non-profits in the world?  If they could, non-profits would go to great lengths to be able to talk to 75% (average amount of active people in your church you see each Sunday) of their donors at the same time and in person!

I guarantee you those non-profits would make the most out of that opportunity.  What do you think they would talk about?

  1. Their mission (churches do this fairly well)
  2. Impact of their mission (churches do ok at this)
  3. Volunteer opportunities (churches are decent at this)
  4. Financial update to show the $ in action (churches are terrible at this)
  5. Opportunities to give to change lives forever (churches are not good at this at all)

Churches miss the last two.  Non-profits do not and they definitely would not miss the last two if they were talking to 75% of their donors at one time!  Yes, churches give people an opportunity to give every Sunday, but it is typically a ritualistic part of the service with little or nothing said about what the offering is about and what it is for.   Even less is said how the offering helps us grow closer to God as individuals and how giving is one of the final spiritual disciplines we follow as Christians.

With all of that said I am not suggesting that churches should make a great big deal about finances in worship EVERY single Sunday.  That is not what I am suggesting at all, but what I am suggesting is that every church should strategically consider how they receive the offering (that is a blog post all by itself) and when they should give “financial state of the church updates” throughout the year.

I suggest you give financial updates in worship quarterly.  The first Sunday of the next quarter should see the Finance Chair, Business Administrator, Executive Pastor, or Treasurer standing in front of the congregation and giving a brief financial update.  The senior pastor should not do this.  He/She should address the congregation after the announcement but should not make the announcement.

The announcement should at least include following:

  1. Annual budget for the year.  (Be sure to explain that a budget is an “educated guess”.  The budget is not an exact number!)
  2. Receipts to date.  (You don’t need to tell the people if we are ahead or behind.  They are smart people.  They will figure it out.)
  3. Thank people for their giving.
  4. At least three items their giving in that quarter has allowed the church to do to change lives.  (Video works great right here.  It breaks things up and takes the pressure off of the speaker to tell the story.  Most people making this announcement are not comfortable talking in front of people in the first place.)
  5. Thank people for their giving.
  6. Give people an opportunity to pledge for the remainder of the year if your church does pledges.  Have pledge cards available in the bulletin and/or the chairbacks/pewbacks.
  7. Thank people for their giving.
  8. Make people aware of your church’s electronic giving strategy as well as all of the other methods they can give (worship, mail, bring it by the church offices).
  9. Thank people for their giving.

It may seem odd and/or scary to do this in your church but in the words of the LIFE Cereal commercial from the 70’s “Try it you might like it.”

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2 replies on “Financial Updates in worship? Really????”

Thanks for the comment Scott. Our people are smart about finances, but the church often times keeps them in the dark and only talks about finances when times are tough. If we talk more regularly (and in short bits) throughout the year, things are easier to handle; even if it is bad news. I hear all the time from people “If I’d only known things were so bad, I would have done something to help.” On the flip side, we have people in our churches every day that are mature people, but are not mature givers. We need to model giving behavior for baby Christians and immature Christians. One of my colleagues said the other day “people give to expectation.” If we do not talk about giving and teach giving and model giving then the expected behavior we are expressing is “you don’t have to give.”

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