If You Fail to Plan, You Are Planning to Fail

I’ve been helping churches increase giving and givers for over twenty years. In my time as a Minister of Stewardship, I have observed that one of the major reasons churches experience financial difficulties is, in part, a lack of planning. I have a saying, I call them Brooks Mantras, that says if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. We have been focusing on budget planning for the last few weeks here in the Journal. As we wind down this series, I wanted to emphasize how important planning is.

Churches that see giving increases understand how the lack of planning leads to planning to fail. Do you understand that? I am amazed at how many churches have plans for all kinds of things yet never think to have a giving plan. Scores of churches are coming out of the summer months lagging in their giving. What are they planning to do to reverse this decline? NOTHING!

To address this issue, I came up with a saying a few years ago to add to what I call my Brooks mantras. Here it is, If you always do what you have always done, you will not get what you always got. That might be poor grammar, but it is the truth. What worked before back in 1999 won’t work as well in 2022. Why?

Our times have changed, and how people view things have changed. We are amid a great transfer of wealth as our primary donor’s age and move off the stage. If you doubt that, ask your Financial Secretary to give you the number of your top ten donors over 60. Then add up what they collectively give. Now divide that in half as that will be close to what they will be tithing in five years. Divide that number by 10% to 25%, accounting for their deaths yearly, and that will show you a picture of what your future giving will look like. This is just one of the challenges you face in making your budget in the future. A lack of giving education and planning to address this challenge will lead to further declines in giving. You cannot assume that your current rate of giving will continue forever. The times have changed, and how we connect with our donors must change. Why is this important?

Because church giving has been on a steady decline, and by 2050 Americans will give only 1% of their incomes to the church! That will be essentially half of what they currently give. This means that you could see your giving receipts decline by 50% in less than thirty years. Do you have a plan to make sure your church’s giving stays strong?

Churches that see giving increases have a plan, and they work their plan! Do you have a giving plan? Are you even thinking about your church’s giving?

Let me be blunt and frank. One reason churches lack a giving plan is the Senior Pastor does not have it on his radar. The tyranny of the urgent presses in upon them, and Sunday is coming, and that sermon still needs work. With all that surrounding you, who has time to plan or think about giving? How often do you think about giving?

Your reaction to that question, indeed your reaction to this post, might be one of the following…

  • I don’t know what to do.
  • I don’t have the time to invest in planning.
  • I can’t afford help.

As a cooperating church of the Missouri Baptist Convention, none of the above should apply to you. One reason why your state Convention puts out this journal weekly is to provide pastors and church leaders across the state with easy executable plans. You get for free what I charge other SBC churches hundreds of dollars for. In essence, you have your own Minister of Stewardship through this Journal.

No other state convention in the SBC provides this kind of tool for their churches. I know; I’ve spent the last three years trying to convince SBC entities to do what Dr. Yeats boldly did, devise a plan for their churches to see giving increase. He knew he needed a plan to help MBC churches in stewardship, and in the fall of 2020, he reached out to me, and we began planning the launch of the Stewardship Journal.

I think about giving all day long, every day! My passion, my life’s mission, is this, to reverse the decline in giving one church at a time! I have been blessed to have helped churches running 30,000 on the weekend to those running 100. Every one of them has one thing in common. They need people to give them money to help fuel the dreams they have. Yet, if you don’t have the financial resources to fuel your dream, seeing it become a reality is much more difficult. This is why you must have a stewardship plan. The Stewardship Journal can help you put a plan in place for your church to help assure your financial stability in the days and years ahead.

So, stop making excuses. Stop doing nothing and start using the help provided for you for free. I promise that if you follow the advice in this journal, you will see an increase in your giving. Join us, and let’s make sure that you are fully funded! Because if you are not planning, you are planning to fail.

Mark Brooks – The Stewardship Coach

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