A Three-Legged Approach to Economically Negative Terms

A Three-Legged Approach to Economically Negative Terms

50% of U.S. Protestant pastors say the current economy is negatively impacting their churches.1. “Most churches are not seeing growth in offerings that keep pace with inflation (currently at 3.7% annually according to the Consumer Price Index,)” says Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research. “The good news is the economy is not negatively impacting more churches than last year, despite persistent inflation and slower economic growth,” said McConnell. “The bad news is that most churches continue to feel pain and discomfort from current economic realities.”

So, how should your church respond to these realities? I’m going to share my thoughts in this edition of the Coach entitled A Three-Legged Approach to Economically Negative Times.

I am recommending a three-pronged focus for increasing giving with all my clients.

Focus on the present. The first is obviously to build out weekly giving. How? By putting an emphasis on discipling the next generation of givers. Here are three practical ways to do this:

  • Establish a weekly time during every service that focuses on the positive benefits of a life of generosity based upon biblical principles. Why not give the offering time an equal amount of time as the announcements?
  • Schedule a yearly stewardship series. A sermon series on stewardship always raises more than a one-off sermon.
  • Schedule a yearly time of studying biblical stewardship through your small groups or Sunday School classes.

We have ignored teaching biblical stewardship because we mistakenly thought that any teaching on stewardship would drive away our crowds. It is not that we talk about money that drives people away but how we have traditionally talked about money. It’s time we changed that, starting now.

Prepare for the near future. Build what you need and pay it off by 2030 has been my advice for the last few years. Thus, the second leg is a capital-giving strategy that will assure future stability. Whether it is to pay off debt, provide additional buildings, or simply fund the start of an endowment, a capital-giving plan can give you another stream of revenue to fund your present and future. Properly executed capital-giving plans can unite your congregation around a single purpose and vision. Notice that I didn’t say capital campaigns. Due to deteriorating facilities and future growth needs, churches will always need capital expenses. The traditional campaign can help raise funds quickly, but while those can and should be used to meet immediate needs, we must think not simply of the near future but of our future beyond 2030.

Sustain the distant future. The final leg to sustained giving is implementing estate planning. Amazingly, less than 10% of churches in America have any type of estate planning. It is unsurprising that churches get less than 10% of bequests annually in America. For more information on this, please read my post in the Bonus Section dealing with seniors.

Your end goal is to build an endowment that will essentially serve as a bank for your church in the future. A properly set up endowment can help you fund your future.

By establishing your three legs of giving now, you will more readily assure the future of your church’s missions and ministry.

Mark Brooks – The Stewardship Coach

Missions and Ministry Moment (aka Offering Talk) – This week’s talk can be accessed after you register at: http://acts17generosity.com/simple-file-list/Offering-Talks/2023-53-Talks-for-53-Sundays/October-22nd-Join-a-Winning-Team.pdf

  1. https://research.lifeway.com/2023/10/10/pastors-report-the-economys-continued-negative-impact-on-churches/

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