To say that the past week was tumultuous is an obvious understatement. We all have been adapting to everything the Coronavirus has caused. The local church is definitely not exempt.
Most churches did not gather on March 15 and are not gathering for another week or two at least. Many have gone to virtual worship in all of the different formats that are out there. It is less than ideal but I am thankful that we live in this technologically advanced world that we can still ‘gather’ for worship. (If you need help in evaluating your online worship or getting it off the ground please leave a comment or contact me directly.)
I have been on the phone with pastors over the past several days discussing plans for how to communicate about giving with their people. I have had multiple conversations with pastors who are wanting advice on how to handle the giving conversation under the current circumstances.
Here are a few suggestions to help you navigate these interesting times.
The media is certainly putting out information so the church has to try and keep pace. Let your people know what is going on with worship services and other scheduled church events. Only sending out one announcement to cover the next several weeks is not good enough. Communicate often over the next few weeks even if you don’t really have anything to say; tell them that things haven’t really changed but you love them and are praying for them. Use all of the communication channels you have. This may be the time to adopt some new methods if you are not using them or have been resistant to adopting them (social media, group texting apps, video announcements). If your people know what is going on at the church they will be calmer and confident that their church is on top of things. Confidence and calm makes it easier for people to keep giving or maybe to give for the first time.
This may sound odd but I’m serious. Tell your people how the church is responding to the circumstances. I have one church that is turning their Family Life Center into a food pantry for their community. They have the space and are willing to open their doors to their community to offer food for any family but especially those families with school age children who depend on the schools for two meals a day. This is fantastic! Tell your folks about this. Make sure they know how they can help and serve. Tell your people “Your financial giving has made this possible. As your pastor I am so humbled that we can serve our community in this way. Your time, talent and treasure has made all of this possible so that we can serve our friends in our community.” Your church probably doesn’t have this exact example but I am sure your church is serving people during these times and those need to be celebrated. The people of the church need to be thanked for their financial generosity because most of these special opportunities require financial resources that were not in the operating budget for 2020.
Most churches have an electronic giving option. Electronic giving is going to be absolutely essential over the next several weeks! Electronic giving has to be easy. I would encourage you to go online to your church website or your church app and try and make an electronic gift yourself. Is it easy? Can you make the gift in less than three steps. Can you make the gift in less than 5 minutes if it is the first time? Less than 3 minutes if you are a returning guest? If you answered no to any of these questions then you probably need to reevaluate your giving platform. There are options out there that can make it easy. Contact me and we can have that discussion. Electronic giving HAS to be easy and quick! We are all spoiled by consumer sites that make online transactions easy and fast. Giving back to God through your church should be easy and fast.
Please communicate. Please celebrate. Please evaluate.
Please reach out to me and let me help you.
Have you had any success you’d be willing to share to help encourage other churches? Leave your story in the comments, we’d love to hear them!
Thank you for what you do.