The Fundamentals of Effective Offerings

The Fundamentals of Effective Offerings

“This is a football!” Legendary Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi once started a team meeting after a loss, stating that the team would return to the basics. He held up a football and said, “Gentlemen, this is a football.” Sometimes, you must go back to the fundamentals. The same is true for every local church when it comes to giving. We must get the basics right first.

When it comes to building a culture of generosity built upon biblical stewardship, the fundamental foundation is the offering. This post is entitled The Fundamentals of Effective Offerings.

Welcome to your Stewardship Training Camp. For the next few posts, I will teach you the basics of building a culture of generosity at your church. My former boss, John Maxwell, is famous for saying, “Everything rises or falls on leadership.” When it comes to increasing generosity and stewardship, everything rises and falls on the offering. In my nearly twenty-five years in the stewardship ministry, I have found that the easiest way to increase giving and add new givers is through your offering time. This is why I’m beginning this New Year by focusing on the fundamentals of the offering.

How the Right Question, Interpreted the Wrong Way, Led to a Demise in Giving

If the offering is so important, why is it that so many churches fail to make the offering, well, important? I blame the Contemporary Church Movement for its attractional mentality of designing church services for the unchurched. Many pioneering large mega churches today tell a similar story of canvassing neighborhoods, asking, “What don’t you like about church?” Surprise, surprise, the answer was, “All churches talk about is money.”

So, the founders and leaders of the Contemporary Church Movement put any talk of money, finances, and especially giving way, way on the back burner of importance. Many stopped passing offering plates altogether. Giving was seldom, if ever, mentioned. Today, the average church spends more time on the announcements than setting up their offering.

“Just when we really get going in worship, it is time for the offering, interrupting the flow of worship!” I actually had a staff member tell me that once when I attempted to help their church reverse a decline in giving. I remember thinking, no wonder their giving is in decline. That statement sums up most churches’ view of the offering. When they do take up an offering, it goes something like this…

“As we take up the offering, we want all our guests to know that this is a time for our members. You don’t need to participate.”

I call that The Apology! You have heard it. You may be saying it. If so, please stop. Why? It isn’t working! The percentage American Christians give to their local church has been in a slow but steady decline for years. By 2050, giving as a percentage of Americans’ incomes will be at 1%! In part, I blame The Apology and the devaluing of the offering time as one of the major culprits.

I believe we misinterpreted the answer to the question of why people didn’t want to attend church. We assumed that any talk of money or giving was what they meant. But what if they meant something different? Consider that study after study shows most churches talk about money infrequently, if at all. So, how is it that unchurched people thought churches talked too much about money if very few churches are talking about money?

I believe they were reacting to how we talked about money and giving. We never helped those attending realize the power of generosity through a local church. This has resulted in the demise of giving.

First, all too often, when we preach about giving, we do so from what I call an “ought to” approach. That is a kind way to say we take people on a guilt trip. Guilt is never a good motivator to give. Those who hear that kind of message get turned off. It leaves a long-lasting bad taste in their mouths.

Yet, at the same time, we fail to connect the dots for them. How a dollar given here, at your church, impacts the world for good. The Church does amazing things, and people like to give to organizations that do amazing things!

So, the right question was interpreted the wrong way, leading to the demise of giving.

Nice theory, but how would you prove it? Charities. Think about it. All charities do is ask for money. All the time. In every appeal, they are asking you to give them more money. Guess what? Charitable giving is at an all-time high because of their asking. Charitable giving in the United States in 2017 topped the $400 billion mark for the first time and is now back to that level. So, something is working for them.

Take the Red Cross, for example. They not only ask you for money, but they also ask you for your blood. And we give it. Yet, when was the last time you heard anyone say, “All the Red Cross talks about is money?” Or “All the American Cancer Society wants is my money!” You never hear that. Why is that? Because…

We know what they do, where our gifts go, and what it does. I call that The Connecting Power of Vision, and I will teach you how to accomplish this through your offering time this year.

If we in the Church want to stabilize giving we must bring back the offering to a place of prominence in our services. How?

Get the basic fundamentals of the offering right, and you will see an increase in generosity.

I was born in Kansas City, MO, and am a Chiefs fan. As such, we never cared for the Green Bay Packers and, thus, their Coach, Vince Lombardi. Yet, his talk to his team made an impact. They went on to win the first two Super Bowls, breaking my heart by beating my Chiefs in the first Super Bowl. The basics work, even for professional athletes. They will for you!

Mark Brooks – The Stewardship Coach, the leading online giving processor in America, sponsors my writing. OG is owned and operated by committed Christians active in their local church. Find out more about their services at You can also read my blog post I write for them at

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