One of the first things Elon Musk did after buying Twitter was laying off thousands of employees. The Left went crazy. Then Meta, formerly known as Facebook, laid off eleven thousand. Soon afterward, Amazon followed suit with layoff announcements totaling 10,000. This morning in the Wall Street Journal, I read of multiple large companies laying off employees. What gives? The economy. Inflation is rising, impacting everything. Corporations, from social media to delivery firms, are laying off, anticipating further economic stress in 2023. What should churches do? I will address that in this issue of the Coach entitled Ensuring Financial Stability in 2023. Here is my advice.
Be aware of the economic news. Most pastors know a lot about church history and virtually nothing about economics. That was true for me. I helped overcome my lack of knowledge by subscribing to and reading the Wall Street Journal daily. This helps me be aware of what business leaders I interact with are facing and how that could impact the churches I work with. I’ll never be an economist, but I can read what they say and think and use that to lead better. You must do the same. It’s imperative to know the state of the economy you are living in and to factor that into your planning.
Keep an eye on your giving trends. Right now, without calling up your Finance Chair, do you know where you stand in terms of making your budget? Are your giving trends going up or down? How can you plan and lead if you don’t know your giving trends? In this blog post, https://www.onlinegiving.org/support/the-importance-of-knowing-your-giving-metrics, I show you the key trends you need to be aware of to ensure financial stability in 2023.
End well to start well. Right now is the best giving time for churches. With a good strategy, you can raise an amount equal to at least one week’s offering. Ending well ensures future stability. See the Bonus Section for more information.
Start the New Year strong. I encourage my clients to start the year with two primary focuses. First, we focus on recurring giving, encouraging people to make their giving automatic and recurring. Secondly, I encourage churches to hold a special “I Love My Church” offering in conjunction with Valentine’s Day.
Let me end my advice with something I wrote a few weeks back when I asked, Is the economy hurting your church? The answer is yes, but the real question is, what should you be doing about it? Here was my advice:
- Keep casting vision. Good vision trumps bad economies. Cast a compelling vision, and people will give.
- Keep making disciples. By teaching biblical stewardship consistently, you will increase present and future giving.
- Keep an eye on your budget and expenses. There are many things out of your hands, but this is one area you can help manage your church through our current economic malaise.
I changed my original title from Assuring to Ensuring. Do you know the difference between assuring and ensuring? Assure means to provide a guarantee through words but ensure means to make certain through actions. Words alone will not bring about financial stability, but actions will! Act now to ensure your financial stability in 2023.
Mark Brooks – The Stewardship Coach