Isn’t that the way you feel about the fall planning session for your church? Here are some common sentiments of lay people and staff as it pertains to the traditional fall generosity/stewardship emphasis.
“Yeah, I guess we need to do the operating budget campaign again this fall.”
“Who’s going to lead it this year?”
“How can we not make it boring this year?”
“It seems like all we ever talk about is money.”
Here are three ideas to consider as you move into the fall and the planning process for the 2014 operating budget emphasis:
- Talk about generosity first; then stewardship. According to freedictionary.com, generosity means “Liberality in giving or willingness to give.” While stewardship means “One who manage’s another’s property, finances or other’s affairs.” We have to be generous with the money God has entrusted to us before the church can be good stewards of the resources given. I think it is a both/and (generosity and stewardship) in that order.
- Celebrate life change before you talk about money. Churches are great at planning events, retreats, and mission trips. Most of them are pretty awesome and typically yield some wonderful stories about people and how God moved in their lives during the activity or trip. The problem is churches are not great at sharing those stories. It is easy to ‘move on to the next thing’ without celebrating the life change that is taking place in people’s lives; both inside the church walls and out. Make sure you help people see how dollars given = life change.
- Offer people an opportunity to invest. We want people to see how investing money in their local church is worth it. Businesses talk about ROI all the time. We need to celebrate life change (#2) to show the return on the investment. Then offer the opportunity for people not only to financially invest again for next year, but to invest more because we have more life change to facilitate. Often times that means more financial resources are necessary. According to freedictionary.com investment means “the investing of money or capital for profitable returns.” Lives being changed for Christ = profitable returns.
It does take money for churches to function and fulfill the God-inspired vision they are called to. As leaders we need to continue to share that vision and offer opportunities for people to help fulfill that journey.
This strategy doesn’t sound boring does it? What are your plans for your fall generosity initiative? Let’s have a discussion.