Beryl Jantzi is the director of Stewardship Education for Everence.
People attend church less regularly than they used to. I hear from pastors how church membership may be growing but their Sunday morning attendance is declining. There are any number of reasons why this is taking place. But even given this reality, the church sees its people face-to-face more than any other non-profit. Pastors and lay leaders have a strong home field advantage when it comes to capturing the hearts and minds of people to support the ministry of the local church. The question is how are we doing at creating a culture of giving when our people are present?
Below are five practical things leadership can do to keep loyalty strong when it comes to generous support of the mission of the church.
People will not give when trust is low. Build on the trust that is present by being transparent with how money is used. Make the connection between their financial giving and meaningful Sunday worship, Christian education classes, pastoral care for members of the church, and engaging in both local and global mission.
Have a vision for your future.
If all we are doing is maintaining program, it is not enough. Develop a three to five year plan for where you want to go and make a case for the resources of time, talent and money that is needed to get there. Everyone has a role to play for the church to be a faithful participant in God’s work. Is that word getting communicated, and is it compelling?
Sam Chand has said that, “toxic culture trumps vision.” Church culture is never neutral. It is either moving us forward or moving us backward. What can you do as a pastor or lay leader to build a positive culture if that is not present?
People give to people. As a pastor you need to get in front of your people more than just on Sunday. Visit members in their homes and in the work place. Show an interest in their lives and let them know that all their gifts are needed for the church to be a vibrant and growing community of disciples.
Are good things happening? Then talk about it! Affirm the good work of your members and promote a culture of encouragement. Even if you are struggling with giving or attendance there are still those who are being faithful in their attendance and giving. Make sure people know they are appreciated and find appropriate ways to affirm the congregation for the difference they are making both within and outside the church walls.
For more ideas on how to develop a culture of giving in your church contact Beryl at firstname.lastname@example.org.