Unfortunately, more money for ministry is a common need among pastors. Every Monday a pastor’s demeanor can be greatly affected by both the attendance and giving report. One would think that the greater the attendance on a given Sunday, the greater the offering. However, there is not always a direct correlation between Sunday attendance and giving. The giving pattern is more affected by other factors like discipleship and engagement.
Here is a principle that has proven true over the years in many different research projects related to generosity. The more engaged a person is in a particular ministry, the more often they give, and the more they give. So giving is greatly impacted by the level of engagement of the individual, not the level of attendance in the worship room on a given Sunday or even the amount in a person’s wallet.
This is easy to reverse engineer for yourself. Create a list of your most faithful people. Measure faithfulness in three ways: regular giving, thriving faith, and personally fulfilling the mission of the church. Then take this list of 10-20 people and seek to discover the path that led them to this place in their faith journey. Here are a few questions to ask.
- How did they come to know Christ and how long ago did this occur?
- What growth catalysts have they experienced in their lives helping produce such a vibrant faith?
- Are they releasing their spiritual gifts and passions?
- Are they enjoying meaningful relationships with other believers in a small group or ministry team?
- Are they clear on our church mission, personally fulfilling it in their lives?
- How did their faith and life achieve this place of spiritual development?
Here are the three keys that often tie your strongest, most faithful givers together.
- Discipleship – They have a personal faith that is thriving because they have taken responsibility for their spiritual growth. Often, they have experienced great parents, leaders, and models in their faith journey, ultimately helping them grow a passionate heart for Christ regardless of their surroundings. Their faith goes way beyond regular attendance. Does your church have a clear personal growth track?
- Assimilation – They have made their way through the maze of church activities finding a place of meaningful connection. They have multiple relationships with others in leadership, in a group, or on a team. This often comes with longevity in one place. However, churches that help people connect quickly and are focused on closing the backdoor have a great advantage. But just because you have a New Members Class, Sunday School program, or Small Group Ministry, do not assume you are actually assimilating people well. The truth is below the surface. When was the last time you measured how deeply guests are becoming assimilated beyond the regular worship service?
- Fulfillment – Giving people are often led by their passions. Whether they have been through a process or not, they tend to know what makes their heart tick. Their strengths, spiritual gifts, and life experiences guide how they fulfill their life mission. Generous people often have a greater sense of life purpose and direction. Everyone has a calling from God. This gifting and calling are directly tied to the body of Christ and the mission of the Church. Having a clear mission and a strategy to release the God-given resources in people is extremely helpful to all, the individual, the church, and the mission of God in the world. Is your church helping people discover their life mission?
So, if you would like to see your offerings steadily increase, quit focusing on the money and increased attendance. Financial generosity is the result of discipleship, engagement, and release into the mission. Financial and numeric growth are results that occur when other things are happening the way they should.