"Listen, a sower went out to sow . . ." (Mark 4:3)
Simple, Easy, Safe Ideas
Teach, preach, and practice the tithe and proportioned giving. Hold conversations about Extravagant Generosity in every adult class * Every year without exception offer a high-quality, multi-week, lay- and clergy-led, theologically sound opportunity for people to pledge and to step up their giving to support the church * Give children a chance to give * Create a giving or mission component to every VBS, children’s camp, teen retreat * Ask members to share testimonies about giving and tithing * Tell stories about real people we can help through giving * Find ways to give and talk about giving with joy * Teach John Wesley’s perspectives on money. Simplify your own life – spend less, want less * Tell stories from the Bible of God’s extravagance * Support another congregation’s food pantry (as well as your own) * Sponsor a church or pastor in another country * Send a thank-you letter from the pastor, personally signed, to each person who pledges * Teach new members how the church collects and uses money to help others * Develop a class for teens and young adults on money – earning, saving, spending, and giving, including the tithe * Write newsletter or Web articles about how the church’s generosity is helping others * Ask children who have been a part of a penny project to share their results * Pray for generosity – yours and others * Celebrate milestones when funding is raised and goals are met * Include testimony and real-life responses to giving * Start a “Reading with the Pastor” book study focusing on simplicity, abundance, and giving * Support the pastor’s and financial team’s attendance at workshops or seminars on fundraising, generosity, and stewardship
Riskier, More Challenging Ideas
Provide a profile of giving patterns in your congregation to help them learn how to step up toward the tithe * Create high trust, transparent, accurate, and audited financial and report systems for your congregation * Invite the finance team to read three books together about congregational giving (check out resources by Herb Miller, Michael Reeves, Willow Creek, Church of the Resurrection) * Call, talk with, email, or visit with pastors/laity from other churches who do well cultivating congregational giving –learn from them * Read or watch videos online from well-known financial advisors – compare how they are able to communicate and educate * Send a team to visit another church that excels in giving and tithing; meet with the pastor and lay team from that church; and ask, learn, take notes, steal ideas * Host a debt-management, financial planning class to help families suffering the stress of debt * Offer helpful short-term classes on practical subjects, such as retirement planning, wills, and estate planning * Create slide shows, Web presentations and bulletin boards about the giving successes in the church * Join with another congregation in your community, state, or denomination and be part of a major giving initiative
Big, Bold, Audacious, Scary Ideas
Stretch toward an audacious giving goal for a project that makes a difference in people’s lives and that people of all ages can support, such as Nothing but Nets, a disaster relief fund, Global AIDS Fund, Africa University, a covenant church overseas. Make this the largest gift, most extravagant gift ever given by your congregation for purposes beyond your own walls. Exceed all expectations. Celebrate, share stories, party! (To the glory of God!) * Start a car ministry, refurbishing and donating cars to those who need them * Invite an evaluation and recommendations on all systems for stewardship, tithing, and generosity from an outside consultant or a pastor with expertise * Recruit a team to focus on estate planning and endowments from inside and outside the congregation, for the church, and for specific ministries * Tithe the construction costs of your new building to build a new church or clinic overseas.