6 Tips for an Incredibly Effective Offering Talk

The offering talk is one of the most critical moments of your Sunday service.

Why? Because it is the time when people in your church make the decision to put God first in their money - the number one competitor for their hearts. This is a portion of your service that cannot be taken lightly because it has massive implications for the church from a ministry level (i.e. being able to pay the bills, meeting ministry needs in the community, providing a safe place for children to learn about Jesus, etc.), but it also reflects the hearts of your people.

Unfortunately, communicating this invitation to give back to God a portion of what He’s already given us fills many pastors and ministry leaders with timidity, confusion, and fear. If this is you, it is OK to feel these things! The good news is you can begin to learn how to approach this time in a healthy, effective way, and we want to teach you how.

Here are 6 tips you can apply to begin to, confidently and effectively, communicate to your congregation during the offering talk:

1. Understand the spiritual implications of people’s giving.

  • When someone makes a decision to give money to your church, they are making a profoundly spiritual decision. Ultimately, the Church is in the business of seeing God’s Kingdom come on Earth, as it is in Heaven. That is exactly what happens when someone gives financially to your church. People give tithes and offerings when they see who the Lord is, and surrender to His will for their life. True generosity is joyful surrender in light of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Recognize the weight of what this moment could mean for every person in your congregation.

2. Create a moment.

  • In light of the spiritual implications of of this time, what would be an appropriate way to engage people? John Maxwell said, “Our level of preparation shows our level of expectation.” Does your preparation show you are expecting God to set people free in their personal finances each week? While it can look different on a week-to-week basis, don’t forget to emphasize this section of the service as an invitation to worship. Here are a few good ideas to implement:
    1. Use Scripture to illuminate who God is and what He says about resources, surrender, tithing and offerings.
    2. Tell stories about why giving is important and the difference it makes
    3. Provide a time for prayerful and silent reflection on how good The Lord has been to each person

3. Switch it up.

  • The reality is, a lot of seasoned church-goers can anticipate exactly what will be communicated during this time, because they have seen it so much. Instead of following your usual format, take a different approach from what is normal. You don’t always have to read the same scripture or reiterate the same core value of your church about generosity. Remember, generosity is a spiritual decision; so make this a time where people can hear from God and do what He says.

4. Get creative.

  • You don’t always have to have someone stand up in the service each week and speak on this from stage. While this method is standard and very helpful, there are so many different ways to connect with your congregation on giving. Utilize pre-service sliders, social media, video stories, blogs and the church website to encourage and educate people on giving.

5. Recognize the different levels of givers.

  • Not everyone in your church is in the same financial situation. You don’t want to disenfranchise people by only speaking to a certain level of giver. For example, there may be new Christians in the congregation who don’t tithe. Don’t communicate in a way that ostracizes them for not giving 10%. Help them along in their personal journey of generosity by pointing them to a next step. Others may need to be encouraged to live more generously and give offerings above the tithe. In these cases, it is important to communicate your heart clearly, and not sound pushy, or make it a spiritual imperative to give more. Remember, as you help your people see more of who Jesus is, He will encourage them to obey the next steps He’s calling them to take.

6. Don’t allow this to be the only time your church talks about money.

  • If the only time your congregation hears you speak about money is during a weekly offering talk, they will begin to think you really are just after their money! Instead, incorporate biblical teaching on finances and stewardship into the church calendar. Preach on it from stage, provide free financial coaching for your people, launch a small group study to help them understand how to steward the resources God has given them according to His Word and will, or create a daily devotional. These are all great ways  to disciple people on a deeper level, naturally leading to more generous people.

The weekly bringing of tithes and offerings is immensely important, because it is incredibly spiritual. Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Do not overlook your offering talk. Rather, recognize the spiritual implications it carries, and intentionally prepare for it every single week. After all, our level of PREPARATION reveals our level of EXPECTATION. So how high are our expectations for our churches when it comes to giving?

We don’t want your church to just go through the motions in this area, we want your church to excel in this area, because the implications are massive. In fact, to help you capitalize on the full potential of your weekly offering talk, we want to give you 4, done-for-you, GIVING SCRIPTS for FREE. You can download them HERE. So take advantage of this resource and use them to help you raise your level of expectation when it comes to giving! Don’t miss them!

How to Grow Your Giving in Three Simple Steps

This is a guest post written by Alaina Gutierrez, who is a member of the team at SecureGive. You can learn more about Alaina, and SecureGive, at the bottom of this post.

Our main focus at SecureGive is helping all of the ministries we serve to grow their giving as much as possible. Part of my job is to help you encourage donors to use your new giving options. There are three best practices that I always suggest implementing because they have been proven time and again to increase donations.

1) Train Your Team

Before launching your new giving platforms, it’s very important that you and your team become as familiar with your new platforms as possible. The more information you have about how to use the software, the easier it will be to lead your donors through the process. We have many training videos and printable resources to guide you through learning the system, which are available to you as soon as your account is set-up! Once you have your account customized to fit your ministry, and your team is well-versed in how the donation process works, you’re ready to launch!

2) Communicate Consistently

The most important thing to remember when rolling out a new giving platform is to talk about your giving options during every service or meeting that your organization has. For churches, this can be as simple as mentioning something like, “Whether you give during the service, online or at the kiosk, we appreciate your generosity.” To apply this practice to a non-profit, I would suggest including a similar line in each email newsletter you send.

Talking about your giving options doesn’t have to be lengthy every time, what matters most is consistency. It’s also most effective if the person giving the announcement is in a senior position within your ministry, at least for the first few weeks. If your congregation or donor base hears someone they know and trust telling them about your giving platforms, they are more likely to trust these new options as well.

3) Provide Simple Instructions

Whenever a new account is set-up with SecureGive, we send out an email filled with free promotional material to help your ministry be successful. We’ve realized that one resource every organization needs is clear and concise instructions on how to give. The giving instructions that we provide are simple and concise so that each member can walk through steps quickly and easily. I always suggest that these instructions be passed out during services, posted on social media and listed on your website. If you have kiosk giving available for your ministry, it is also extremely important to have signage around your kiosk. The best way to let donors know what your kiosk is used for is to have “Giving Kiosk” listed on a banner, kiosk graphic, or on the wall directly behind the kiosk.

We have seen these three practices benefit each organization that has consistently applied them. We have various other resources available to help your ministry grow including promotional videos, monthly webinars, and scheduled training calls. If you have any questions or would like to develop a launch strategy specific to your organization, just give us a call and we’ll be happy to help!

SecureGive is an organization that helps churches make giving easy. You can learn more about their cutting-edge technology and processes by clicking here

This blog was written by SecureGive team member Alaina Gutierrez. Alaina lives in beautiful Augusta, Georgia with her husband Daniel and their wild one-year old son Bennett. When she's not serving ministries through her job at SecureGive, you can usually find her spending time with her boys, searching for the next great book to read, or blogging about her faith at alainamichele.com

Five Trends of Churches Doing a Great Job at Raising Money

For my money, Chad Aukland is the finest church capital campaign consultant in America. When you look at the amount of money being raised for ministry, the lives which are being transformed in his church partnerships, and the deep friendships he makes with pastors, God simply has his hand on this man.

Recently, Chad, who serves as the Director of Consulting for INJOY Stewardship Solutions, sat down with co-worker Matthew Garrison to provide intellectual capital that helps pastors and church leaders. During their time together, Chad identified 5 Trends Of Churches Doing A Great Job At Raising Money.

You can click HERE to see their entire time together. Below are the key points, along with supporting comments, from Chad.

"Those are not INJOY’s results. Those results are because God is working on behalf of these ministries and showing the favor that only God can show them." – Chad

1) Churches that do a great job at raising money focus on the spiritual journey

  • They ask the congregation to do three things – 1) to connect with God, 2) connect with Him in such a way that you hear from Him, 3) (and the most difficult) to obey.
  • Nothing great ever happened for God in Scripture apart from tremendous sacrifice.
  • It’s all about transformation. It’s not about transaction.
  • Everything we do is rooted in a biblical blueprint found in I Chronicles 28 and 29.

2) Churches that do a great job at raising money have unified and committed leadership

  • The dreams churches have often outpace their resources.
  • If the leaders are on board, the crowd they’re leading will follow. 
  • The vision communication starts with a small group of leaders, and gradually expands.
  • If the leaders own the vision and are all unified in the direction they are going, dissension doesn't stand a chance.
  • God honors unified leadership.

3) Churches that do a great job at raising money have clear and uniform vision casting

  • Vision must have three characteristics: Clear, Crisp, and Compelling.
    • Clear: It can be communicated just as easily by someone on the front row as someone in the back.
    • Crisp: It needs to be boiled down to a tweet-able statement.
    • Compelling: It has to make someone want to move and be a part.
  • The campaign helps the church grow closer to accomplishing the overall vision of the church.

4) Churches that Do a Great Job at Raising Money Value Consulting

  • Deuteronomy 32:30 is clear when it says, ‘One can put a thousand to flight, but two can put ten thousand to flight.’ We’re stronger together.
  • "The beginning of wisdom is to get wisdom. Whatever it costs get wisdom." Proverbs 4:7
  • We do customized capital campaigns. One of our core values is we value innovation. Yesterday’s methods don’t always address today’s needs.
  • People are not looking to be out another night of the week. You have to go to them.

5) Churches that do a great job at raising money value and utilize data

  • God is a God of order. He’s not a God of chaos.
  • Numbers don’t lie. They help accurately assess exactly where your church is at, and plan accordingly.
  • You have to set a goal. If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.
  • The Commitment Date is not the finish line. It is the starting line.
  • You can’t spend a pledge card. You must have a plan to collect and analyze the campaign's data, and then, craft a plan to ensure all of the dollars committed comes in to the church.

As you can see, the content Chad is providing can transform your church. Click HERE to see the full interview.

This post is written by INJOY Stewardship's Director of New Ministry Partnerships, Brian Dodd. For more great insight on generosity, leadership, and more, check out his website briandoddonleadership.com.

How to Stop the Summer Slump at Your Church

The Summer Slump. Every church leader knows exactly what those words mean. It means a drop in attendance, decreased participation, and reduced giving. According to statistics shared by LifeWay, when compared to highest attendance months, average Sunday morning attendance drops by 23 percent in June and 34 percent in July.

This can be demoralizing to a church leader, as well as financial administrators, as the ministry attempts to make progress toward the vision with less people and money. If an unexpectedly deep summer slump is experienced, it can impact the church’s ability to build momentum in the fall as energy and funds are needed to replenish unplanned losses.

In a recent survey, we asked churches of all sizes and denominations how they handle the summer slump. The answers varied from “waving the white flag of surrender” to “taking out a loan” to “doing nothing!"

So, what is a church leader to do? Some leaders have taken a passive approach saying, “Let’s just see how it works out.” This has come with varying outcomes, but usually delivers less than desirable results. However, there is a way that could prove profitable. We’ll call it the “Proverbs 21:5 Road Map” – a way to Stop the Summer Slump, or at least prevent summer slumps from zapping all of the momentum from your church.

“The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.” – Proverbs 21:5

In Proverbs 21:5, Solomon shares two potential outcomes: profit or poverty. If given the choice, of course, we would all choose profit over poverty. In this verse, great wisdom is provided to show us how to produce profit. Solomon says it is important to have a plan. Read Proverbs 21:5 again. Do you see it?

This is our first clue to Stop Summer Slumps: We must have a plan! Do you have a plan to address the summer slump at your church? If you do, fantastic! If you do not, a free resource has been prepared to help you craft a great plan.

But, as we read Proverbs 21:5 again, we see that one more thing is necessary to achieve profit: diligence. “The plans of the diligent lead to profit...” Even if we prepare a great plan, it will fall short if we don’t stick with its implementation.

This summer, make it your goal to develop a plan to stop the slump, and implement systems so it will be followed with diligence. If you do this, you will be well on your way to profit – positive momentum, increased attendance, giving, and engagement with ministry initiatives!

We’ve developed a free resource to help your team craft a plan to address the slump at your church. It’s a three part plan and you can download a copy of the plan HERE

12 Things You Should Do When Walking Into an Existing Leadership Culture

A 2011 study by Lifeway Research shows senior pastors across the United States are staying at their local churches an average of 3.6 years. While much has been written about how to increase longevity, little has been written about how pastors should step into their next pastoral assignment.

Unless you are planting a new church, you will be inheriting another church’s leadership team – often staff, but definitely lay leadership. So what should a new pastor do with a leadership team that is firmly in place? How should a new pastor lead a new group of leaders who hired you and, frankly, are now paying your salary?

The following are 12 things you should do when walking into an existing leadership culture:

  1. Establish Your Expectations Before The Interview Process – What you want to hear from leaders at a church you are considering is, “We’re willing to do whatever it takes.“ This is a sign of a much healthier mindset than a leadership team that says, “This is how we’ve always done it.”

  2. Honor The Past – You are standing on the shoulders of pastors and people who came before you. Whatever the condition of the church, people gave their blood, sweat, tears, money and prayers to get the church to where it currently is. You can never move into the future until you first honor the past.

  3. Help The Leadership Become Outwardly Focused – Early on, ask the questions, “If we were to close our doors today, would this community miss us?  Why or why not?”

  4. LISTEN – Identify your influencers. Go sit down with them and hear their stories, even if you know you have disagreements with them. Tell them you just want to hear what their heart is for the church and community. Ask them what they think God wants to do? And do not patronize them. Make sure you take copious notes of their responses so you can remember them. This shows you really care about what they have to say.

  5. Focus On Influencers Who Are Just About There – There will always be those who disagree with you or the vision. Instead of focusing on those who disagree, look for the key influencers who just need a little bit more influencing and information. They may not have all the details nailed down, but they say, “Pastor, count me in.” This group will become your primary vision carriers.  

  6. Steward Your Time And The Vision Well – Pour about 80% of your vision casting into the people who are the most excited, most committed, and who love God with all their heart. If you do this, those who are uncommitted or on-the-fence will follow. However, our tendency is to do the opposite. We often spend 80% of our time with the people who are not for the vision and will not advance it. This is wasted leadership capital.

  7. Identify YOUR Inner Circle – Positional influence is irrelevant here. Identify and train 10 to 15 individuals who are absolutely sold out to the vision. They have influence over circles and family groups a new pastor cannot get into.  This new inner-circle will bring the biggest momentum shift to the church and your leadership. They will make your job as a new pastor much easier.

  8. Look For Invested Leaders – Sitting around a Board table does not make you a leader. Leadership is influence, not a position. You can’t influence effectively if you are not invested. You must lead by example. It has been often said, but it is true – show me your calendar (time, talent) and check book (treasure) and I will show you the leaders who are invested.

  9. Look For Praying Leaders – Your leadership team must be absolutely devoted to prayer. Their spiritual temperature has to be higher than the rest. This is a quality you simply cannot teach. As a new pastor, when difficult times come, you need men and women who will surround you in prayer.

  10. Look For Leaders Who Are Sold Out To The Vision – You must also surround yourself with people who keep the main thing the main thing. They are not easily distracted or diverted.

  11. The Elevator Principle – John Maxwell writes in his book, Winning With People, about the “Elevator Principle” which teaches, some people take you up, some people take you down. A new pastor should spend time with those who energize him. Ministry is hard enough as is. Do not spend the majority of your time with draining personalities who do not bless you or advance the vision.

  12. Protect Unity Above All Else – I mentioned the importance of listening earlier. Do not feel you have to win every argument or be right all the time with your new staff and Board. Know which battles are the most important. Unity creates and sustains momentum.

I would like to thank Senior Pastor Brian Grow of First Christian Church in Dyersburg, TN for his assistance in writing this post.

This post was written by Brian Dodd, Director of New Ministry Partnerships for INJOY Stewardship Solutions. You can read more thoughts from Brian on leadership at BrianDoddonLeadership.com.

A Pastor's Secret Weapon for Casting Vision and Fundraising

This blog was written by Brian Dodd, and originally appeared on his website, BrianDoddonLeadership.com. Check it out for more great insights on leadership!

I was recently with a group of pastors when the keynote speaker said, "I have come to learn that all churches are personality driven. Because if not, how do you effectively cast someone else's vision?" While I disagree with him, I conceptually understand what he is saying. But after all, it was Jesus who said in Matthew 16:18, "Upon this rock I will build my church."

There is still the issue of how to most effectively cast vision. Not all pastors lead churches they planted, or were involved in crafting it's mission and values. Most pastors lead churches with are board, committee, or lead by the congregation. So, how do you effectively cast vision you may have inherited or adopted, but did not birth?

Often, the best communicators of your church's vision are those most affected by it; those who are it's beneficiaries.

Adam Grant in his wonderful book, Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World, studied fundraising for universities. He found that average students, those who were beneficiaries of alumni donations, were three-times more effective at phone solicitations than university officials.

While universities and churches are completely different environments, the following are six lessons about vision casting and fundraising we can learn from this study, and apply to church leadership.

  1. Many pastors and church leaders are nervous about asking givers for additional donations.
  2. Therefore, inspiration can actually be outsourced to beneficiaries.
  3. The message from a beneficiary can feel more authentic, honest, truthful, and less manipulative than coming from certain church staff.
  4. Rather than feeling nervous, beneficiaries are excited to ask for financial resources to help more people just like them.
  5. Pastors should describe the vision, and then invite beneficiaries to bring life to the vision.
  6. The pastor's message should be an overarching vision to start the car, and the beneficiary's story should provide the emotional appeal that accelerates the car.

For the best example I have ever seen on the pastor providing an overarching vision, and beneficiaries giving it life, watch the video below. I will then have a few final applications.

Applications from the video:

  1. Financial Leaders Want to Feel Loved and Valued: Beth Marshall said, "I think they really love us." In a world where it seems all love is conditional, the churches who grow are the ones who practice unconditional love. When Beth experienced this, her response was, "I want to go back here."
  2. Financial Leaders are Attracted to Big Vision, So Give Them One: Beth said, "When you set goals, they are always so monstrous."
  3. Financial Leaders Want to Know the Results: Leaders do not have time to waste. They want to know the results of what they invested in. Beth added, "When we met, and exceeded, that goal, we all say, 'Why didn't we pray bigger?'"
  4. Financial Leaders Want to Leave a Godly Legacy: Brian Morgan stated, "I wish I could have grown up like our two girls are growing up."
  5. Financial Leaders Give Maximum Dollars to the Best Opportunities for Life-Change: Financial leaders have multiple options to give, so they will not waste resources or opportunity. Paul Marshall pointed out, "I bet the amount he (Brian) gave, and I don't know what it was, but he would give that today to see his girls come to Jesus. And I've got that for my kids and grand-kids."
  6. Financial Leaders Never Know Their True Impact Until Fully Unleashed: Perry reminded the couples, "When we gave, we thought we were giving to the Anderson Campus. But, we weren't giving to the Anderson Campus, because God's plans are always bigger...None of us had any idea."
  7. Pastors Should Raise as Much as Possible. Just Do It the Right Way: After hearing story after story, it is clear the generosity of these two couples, and thousands of others, helped pave the way for God to do incredible redemptive acts in the lives of people.
  8. Financial Leaders Desperately Want to Be Attached to a Vision Greater than Themselves: Perry Noble said, "In 2004, we had no idea, and what's more amazing is we still have no idea."
  9. Numbers Matter to Financial Leaders, and Not Just Financial Numbers: Perry concluded by saying, "Every number has a name. Every name has a story. Every story matters to God."

So, if you want to more effectively disciple and engage financial leaders, use your secret weapon - the beneficiaries of their generosity. 

For more insight on how to disciple financial leaders, download our free eBook, How to Disciple Financial Leaders, by clicking the button below.

The Two Most Important Questions Pastors Need to Ask When Raising Money

This post was written by INJOY Stewardship Director of New Ministry Partnerships, Brian Dodd, and originally appeared on TonyMorganLive.com. For practical advice on getting un-stuck, check them out.

I hear these questions most often from pastors beginning the capital campaign process: 

  • How much can we raise?
  • Are we ready to do this?
  • Can you understand our unique environment, because no one does ministry like we do?
  • How often will you be here onsite?
  • What is your fee?

These questions, while important questions to ponder, focus on transaction. After all, you must count the costs prior to building, right? They are just not the most important questions church leaders should ask as they begin the process of raising people and resources.

Rather, the two most important questions pastors need to ask when raising money, and heading into a campaign, are: 

  1. What do we want our campaign to look, feel, and sound like?
  2. What do we want to see God do in the hearts and lives of our people through this process?

Rather than focusing on transaction, these questions focus on transformation. Let's break them down.

1) What do we want our campaign to look, feel, and sound like?

A capital campaign is not a fundraiser, or some type of fund.

Each church has a ministry plan, a facility plan, and a funding plan. A ministry plan is everything God is doing, and wants to do, at your church. The facility plan is the brick, mortar, curbing, yellow lines, and infrastructure that facilitates what God wants to do. The funding plan is the fuel that makes ministry a reality. Your capital campaign should fuel and facilitate what God wants to do at your church. It should resource your ministry plan.

An effective campaign feels like a natural next-step in the life of your church. For instance, if your church is creative, fun, upbeat, evangelistic, and non-pressure, then your campaign should be as well. It should look, feel, and sound like your church's culture and DNA.

2) What do we want to see God do in the hearts and lives of our people as we go through this process?

Assuming Jesus does not come back, let's fast-forward to the year 2027. If you were to ask the people in your church, "Do you all remember when we did our capital campaign back in 2017? What specifically do you remember about the campaign?" The truth is, unless someone gave a round number like $10,000, no one will remember how much he or she gave. But what they will never forget is what God did in their lives during that time.

  • People will remember how they sacrificed, and God honored it.
  • Others will remember an audacious number God asked them to give, and how He miraculously came through.
  • People remember job offers and healing that took place.
  • Still, many more will remember trusting God for the very first time with the two things the world worships most - money and possessions.
  • Most importantly, they will remember they gave sacrificially to a building where their children or grandchildren met Jesus for the very first time.

There are strategic and pragmatic elements to the capital campaign experience. But, if you want an experience that builds a culture of generosity, and is remembered for eternal life change, start with questions which prioritize transformation over transaction.

Capital Campaigns - Consultant or DIY?

This post is written by Robert Dial, and originally appeared on his blog. Robert helps pastors and church finance leaders make informed decision. You can learn more about Robert's ministry here, and follow him on Twitter here

Growing churches often find themselves in the need to renovate or construct additions, or to build a new building and/or buy land. Growing churches can fund these solely on a cash basis, or can be combined with some debt. Either way, there's the need for fundraising.

Two Options

1) Raise the funds utilizing a consulting firm.

Hands down, the single biggest factor in deciding whether or not to use an external firm is justifying the consulting fee. It's either seen as an expense (therefore, with no return) or it's viewed as an investment. 

Generally, churches are frugal and strive to steward their resources very well - as they should. I get that. But, frugality can be a liability at times. I don't know why exactly, but to some, there's an aversion to spending money to make money in the church, even though it's a universally accepted principle by everyone inside the church as valid everywhere else in life and business.

George Barna of the Barna Group was quoted as saying that, "on average, external campaigns raise 50% more than campaigns conducted internally". That's huge. And of course, that's the #1 reason to go external.

2) Raise the funds internally - do it yourself.

Yes, you can. There are times and situations where this may indeed be the best option.

Those are the two options.

Alas, there are no guarantees in the real world. Like anything else, there's a risk. The risk between the two is: will the firm and the fee have a much better Return On Investment (ROI) than the DIY project? Most of the time, the answer is the firm and the fee. Sure, there's always the possibility the campaign will not meet expectations no matter the route chosen - and there are a myriad of reasons this could happen.

Regardless, there's no hard and fast rule that says one method is right and the other is wrong. The only right method is the one God leads you to.

However, to shed more light on it, let's look at some numbers to compare the ROI between the two options:

Comments about the chart:

The biggest assumption is external campaigns do indeed raise 50% more than internal efforts.

The chart also assumes an 80% realization rate in an externally conducted campaign.* For a variety of reasons, it's unlikely you'd actually receive your goal. Given the first assumption, internal campaigns, as presented in this format, on average, receive 53% of goal. Now, whether you look at it like that, or like the initial goal was set lower is a matter of interpretation. I think the latter would be the case. Regardless, the main point is assumption #1.

The ROI section conservatively shows the surplus an external campaign would produce. Another way to view the surplus column would be the actual cost to do a internal campaign. In this light, these costs are much higher than the consulting fee.

Lastly, you see a ratio of the surplus over the fee. Again, this is conservative since it is based upon net amount raised. For example, the real ROI for the first row, based upon gross receipts, is 5.0 times the fee. 

As you can see, the greater the giving capacity, the greater the return, and the lower the risk.

There are a few other reasons to hire a consultant, but let me leave you with just one more.

Most likely, no one in your church has the expertise and/or time needed to conduct a capital campaign with excellence. There are multiple components to a successful campaign that start about four to six months ahead of the launch.

External firms live and breathe the church campaign world every day. Your Pastor and Staff/Key Leadership do not. Your Pastor and Leadership live in a very different world, and have an entirely different focus and set of responsibilities. Asking them to take on a capital campaign all by themselves, and carry on their normal day-to-day ministry focus, is asking a TON. Usually, both efforts will suffer. Hence, why externally conducted campaigns typically achieve better results.

Still not sure?

Take the next best step and just talk to a few consulting firms. Get your team involved in the conversations from the beginning. Seek the Lord through the process.

I've worked with a few consulting firms over the years. The most well rounded firm, in my opinion, was INJOY Stewardship Solutions, which is why I recommend them. Top-notch leadership, process, consultants, and analysts. 

In addition to capital stewardship services, they offer a Financial Learning Experience (FLE) to help your people learn to set goals, plan and budget, and get out of debt. As part of this, they can train people in your church to be Financial Coaches for your church for an ongoing personal finance counseling ministry. You NEED to do this for your people. Of course, it's optional and standalone, so you can do it with or without the capital campaign.

They also have personal finance/budgeting course materials. To jump-start the personal finance ministry, people are invited to the class during the FLE, and then assigned to a church financial coach as needed. (By the way, you can use other materials if you desire.)

They also have a special program (pricing) for churches whose annual budgets are $300,000 and under called Foundations.

Lastly, if God is leading you towards an internal campaign, INJOY Stewardship offers Capital Campaign University - a course to walk you through how to conduct a campaign on your own for only $2,500.

With all this, why not contact them? They're ready for whatever course of action you decide. Give them a call today at 800.333.6509. (I'm not a paid advertiser, just an impressed customer.)

*Note from INJOY Stewardship: This 80% realization rate is very realistic for those in the congregation who made pledges. However, because of our Followthru Process, we are able to incorporate a large percentage of non-pledge campaign givers, making up an additional 10-20%, on average.

What to Do When Your People Are Tired of Hearing About Money

Pastors (generally) aren't thrilled to preach on money. While discipleship in the area of money is an incredibly important aspect to the life of the Christian (Matthew 6:19-24), it's not the easiest subject to teach on. It becomes stressful to teach on when donor fatigue - when the congregation is tired of hearing about supporting the church financially - is present. So what do you do when donor fatigue is present, but your church still needs money? When donor fatigue is detected during the course of a campaign, two shifts in communication become necessary.

1) A shift from asking to thanking.

Campaign fatigue is not a new threat to vision being funded in a church. Back-to-back campaigns, or simply a long-term journey of constant wanting and asking of the people, can slowly wear a church out. While, "Ask and it shall be given to you," (Matthew 7:7) is in the Bible, so is, "Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise," (Psalm 100:4). Your church must hold asking of people, and thanking people, in constant balance.

This is why it is important for churches to take time to breathe - to take a "Campaign Sabbath". This allows your church to look back at all God has done through the sacrifice of His people, and praise Him. 

However, when a church is involved in a campaign where urgency is in the equation, pausing between campaigns is not always an option. Builder costs, construction loans, and expanding ministries all work together to mount pressure on church leaders, and subsequently, donors, to not only continue to give, but even, increase their giving if possible.

In these cases, it's vitally important that we intentionally shift into a season of thankfulness during the campaign. The end result is a healthier population of donors.

Remember, a campaign is not about what you want FROM people, but what you want FOR them.

2) A shift from "sticks and bricks" to future ministry.

As a church nears completion of a campaign, the feeling of crossing the finish line can set in. This is one of the most common enemies to church growth. For this reason, a second communication shift is needed: from "sticks and bricks" to future ministry.

The assumption here is the project your church is currently tackling (construction, debt retirement, buying land, hiring staff, etc.) is being addressed because there are ministry opportunities that are not being met due to it.

The environment you want to cultivate is an environment of expectation: the completion of this project allows us to do what God is really calling us to do.

In this season we begin to shift the vision and the approach. This is the time to begin executing communication forums that cultivate the hearts of the people. The goal is to help shift their focus from the beauty of a state of the art facility to God's call for life change in the community as a result.

Another note of emphasis: If you actually move into a building before the pledges are completed, it is imperative you dictate clearly what it will take to make this new ministry model function. There should also be a cost associated with each element of the ministry vision moving forward. Your congregation needs to know that walking into a new building provides greater opportunities to expand the Kingdom, yet this new and improved action plan requires real dollars.

Remember, regardless of the season you are in, people always need to be informed of two things:

  1. What are you doing with my money?
  2. How is it making a difference?

This understanding will validate the need to continue any outstanding commitments, and help the people see the value in stepping up, rather than stepping down, in their generosity.

Here is the key: People need to see ministry plans as clearly as they saw the building plans.

To retain contributions to the campaign, cast vision for the ministry needs more than the building needs. 

This vision has three characteristics:

  1. It's Clear: The congregation must clearly see the work that is ahead. This is a shift from "sticks and bricks" to ministry.
  2. It's Crisp: The vision must have a crisp call to it, not an ambiguous message. Make the vision distinct and to the point, so they know exactly what will be done moving forward, and can repeat it.
  3. It's Compelling: The vision must connect with their hearts. How will their dollars translate into transformed lives?

What is important to understand is when you lean into what ministry will look like on the other side of a project's completion, it will serve to place emphasis on the necessity of the project being completed more quickly.

As your church begins to shift communication from asking to thanking, and from sticks and bricks to ministry, you will begin to see your congregation's heart shift from fatigue to excitement for what God will do in and through their church.

10 Practices of Pastors Who Effectively Preach on Money and Generosity

Effective preaching is critical to increasing generosity in your church. In 1 Chronicles 28-29, King David stands before the nation of Israel and calls them to sacrifice for the construction of Solomon's Temple. From that text, the following are 10 Practices of Pastors Who Effectively Preach on Money and Generosity.

1. Pastors who successfully preach on money and generosity speak with their leaders first. 

1 Chronicles 28:1 - "Now David assembled at Jerusalem all the leaders of Israel, the officers of the tribes and the captains of the divisions who served the king, the captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, and the stewards over all the substance and possessions of the king and of his sons, with the officials, the valiant men, and all the mighty men of valor."

You cannot leapfrog leaders. Nothing offends leaders more than hearing important information at the same time as the "rank and file".

2. Pastors who successfully preach on money and generosity talk to the congregation second.

1 Chronicles 28:2 - "King David rose to his feet and said, 'Hear me and my brethren my people." 

When asking for financial resources, go to the people only after the leaders who have been informed and brought in.

3. Pastors who successfully preach on money and generosity use passion to speak to people's hearts.

1 Chronicles 28:2 - "I had it in my heart to build a house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and for the footstool of our God."

King David was personally invested, allowing him to then translate his commitment to the people.

4. Pastors who successfully preach on money and generosity use facts to speak to people's minds.

1 Chronicles 28:2 - "and had made preparations to build it." 

Financial leaders, in particular, want to know the project has been well thought-through and is doable. King David communicated he had a plan.

5. Pastors who successfully preach on money and generosity point to a brighter tomorrow.

1 Chronicles 28:7 - "I will establish his kingdom forever, if he is steadfast to observe My commandments and My judgments, as it is this day."

King David gave his people hope and courage that they could move into a preferred future.

6. Pastors who successfully preach on money and generosity give clear, detailed instructions.

1 Chronicles 28:8 - "Be careful to seek out all the commandments of the Lord your God, that you may possess this good land, and leave it as an inheritance for your children after you forever."

The phrase, "Here is what I want you to do" is powerful. You must provide easy next steps for your people.

7. Pastors who successfully preach on money and generosity give the audience the tools and resources needed for success.

1 Chronicles 28:21 - "Here are the division of the priests and the Levites for all the service of the house of God; and every willing craftsman will be with you for all manner of workmanship, for every kind of service; also the leaders and all the people will be completely at your command." 

People must want to help fund your ministry, and must also be able to fund your ministry. Give them the needed tools, specifically personal financial coaching and online giving options to do so.

8. Pastors who successfully preach on money and generosity focus on God.

1 Chronicles 29:1 - "The temple is not for man but for the Lord God." 

This is the difference between a spiritual journey and a fundraiser. A fundraiser focuses on money or the project. A spiritual journey focuses on attaching people to the heart of God and watching them respond appropriately.

9. Pastors who successfully preach on money and generosity ask for great commitment.

1 Chronicles 29:20 - "David said to all the assembly, 'Now bless the Lord your God.' So all the assembly blessed the Lord God of their fathers, and bowed their heads and prostrated themselves before the Lord and the king."

A passive request yields a passive response. Successful pastors make compelling 'asks' of their people.

10. Pastors who successfully preach on money and generosity leave a great legacy of generosity for others to follow.

1 Chronicles 29:26-28 - "David the son of Jesse reigned over all Israel. And the period that he reigned over Israel was forty years; seven years he reigned in Hebron, and thirty-three years he reigned in Jerusalem. So he died in a good old age, full of days and riches and honor." 

What legacy of generosity are you leaving?

This post is by INJOY Stewardship team member Brian Dodd. You can read more great insights from Brian on his website, briandoddonleadership.com.