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Helping people experience the joy of giving is more than a way of funding the church’s ministry. These 50 Ways of encouraging faithful giving will help your church members grow in discipleship through faithful stewardship and extravagant generosity.

Stress the spiritual dimension of stewardship

  1. Teach stewardship as a holistic model of our relationship with God, as the tangible expression of our trust in God. Giving is a spiritual matter as central to faithful living as prayer, Bible study, and worship.
  2. Reinforce giving as an act of worship. Use the offering time to lift up the spiritual significance of giving. Take an offering at every service.
  3. Set a good example. The pastor should give and encourage other ministers, staff, and leaders to do the same. All leaders must take their giving seriously and model generosity.
  4. Talk openly about money and faithfulness to God. If leaders are uncomfortable about money then members will be also. Know your story of giving and be willing to testify about it.
  5. Model the giving spirit you seek from members in your church budget by giving generously to ministries beyond the congregation.
  6. Teach the theology of stewardship through a variety of means — church school classes, other study venues, sermons, and correspondence. Use stewardship scripture, quotations, and stories in bulletins, newsletters, other printed materials, and the website.

Know what motivates giving

  1. Know that people give to many things for a variety of reasons. Few have a well-planned or consistent giving strategy. Some give on impulse. Others are more cautious. Different kinds of appeals are effective with different types of givers.
  2. Recognize that people want to make a difference. They will give to what they value.
  3. Appreciate that faithful giving is a fruit of spiritual maturity. It takes time and much nurture to develop.
  4. Do not engage in fund raising. People give to God, not to raise the preacher’s salary or pay the utilities. Don’t make church gifts “one more bill to pay” — a bill that can be skipped without late fees, penalties, or the need to catch-up. Emphasize giving as a joyful response to God’s generosity, not an obligation.
  5. Talk to members about stewardship and opportunities for giving. Most people never increase their giving because they were never asked, nor given compelling reasons to do so. Don’t be afraid to lift up the needs of the church, but always in a way that emphasizes mission.
  6. Nurture relationships. People give to persons and organizations where they feel a connection. Church leaders should listen carefully for clues about issues of importance to church members. Personal solicitation is critical, especially for larger gifts.

Link stewardship to mission and ministry

  1. Remember that people — especially younger generations — give to support mission, not institutions or budgets. Everything you communicate about giving should stress ministry, not maintenance.
  2. Congregational vitality is key to giving. Whatever increases member involvement and participation will help giving. Involve as many as possible in the church’s ministries.
  3. Share information freely about the wonderful things giving makes possible. Use announcements to remind people of the impact they are having. Bulletin boards featuring how the church is in mission are good reminders to a congregation. Websites offer ways to tell the church’s story and to interpret stewardship and giving.

Know your givers and congregational giving patterns

  1. Do not make assumptions about what people give — most of the time you will be wrong.
  2. Give your pastor access to members’ giving records as a matter of pastoral care, not power or privilege.
  3. Keep alert for any changes in giving patterns — if giving stops without explanation, if an adult child starts writing checks for their parents, if there is confusion about giving, if designated gifts replace general giving, etc. Notify the pastor of any potential pastoral care concerns.
  4. Know your people and approach them where they are. Someone who has never given does not respond in the same manner as someone who gives faithfully, proportionately, and generously.
  5. Understand the financial profiles in your community. If few people carry cash, a spur of the moment offering will not succeed. Remember that more women than men carry a checkbook and younger generations are more inclined to pay by electronic or other non-cash means. A 25 year-old is unlikely to make a stock gift, while an older member on a fixed income may prefer an estate gift to one that reduces their monthly income.
  6. Monitor giving Indicators throughout the year. Compare pledge payments with those of previous years.
  7. Know how actual income compares to budgeted income for a given time of year. Avoid reporting what is “needed to date” by dividing the total budget into equal monthly or weekly segments. No congregation receives its income so evenly. Instead, determine how much income is “needed to date” based on a rolling three-year average of what percent of total giving is normally received during that period.

Provide a variety of ways to give

  1. Give people multiple opportunities to give. Those new to the church may be unfamiliar with the concept of pledging and giving. Other ways of giving can get them in the habit.
  2. Consider sending some appropriate communication a few times a year to those who do not pledge and to non-resident members.
  3. Remember that people can give from their income, from their assets (stock, 401Ks, bonds and real property), or through legacies or bequests. Create giving opportunities appropriate to each type of gift.
  4. Don’t wait decades between capital campaigns. More frequent capital drives create a culture of supporting the church’s capital needs and prevent neglect of property concerns.
  5. Create a foundation or permanent fund, even if you have not yet received any bequests. People cannot give to what does not exist. Formulate policies for wills, legacies, and bequests. A large estate gift can be divisive if proper procedures are not in place.

Assist members in the stewardship of their personal resources

  1. Remember that personal finances and spending decisions are as much a part of Christian stewardship as giving to the church. Too often churches ask people to consider the church’s financial situation, but seldom offer to help with members’ financial situations.
  2. Teach members to think about their finances as an expression of faith. Use appropriate study resources to foster a theology of personal stewardship. Reinforce tithing and “first-fruits” giving as a faithful way of prioritizing one’s personal finances – not a way to pay church bills.
  3. Offer workshops on budgeting, financial management, and estate planning.
  4. Encourage sessions in which members can come together to discuss personal financial challenges. For example, parents of students preparing for college could discuss educational funding options. Those responsible for aging parents could come together to talk with other members who have learned of resources to help.
  5. Minister to the economic concerns of parishioners. Provide pastoral assistance and support groups for the unemployed, those in career transition, and those facing financial difficulty.

Develop a year-round, comprehensive stewardship program

  1. Preach stewardship sermons throughout the year, not just in the weeks before asking for an estimate of annual giving.
  2. Know that developing a congregation of faithful givers does not happen during a three to four-week stewardship drive. People do not become faithful stewards in one moment or through one influence.
  3. Create an annual stewardship calendar, emphasizing different stewardship concerns at different times of year – such as annual commitment in the fall, second-mile giving at year-end, planned giving at All Saint’s Day, etc. Develop stewardship themes that fit with different church events and liturgical seasons.
  4. Encourage faithful giving over the summer by preaching on stewardship the last Sunday before school is out. Everyone knows the churches bills do not go on vacation, so quit reminding your members of that.
  5. Make giving and stewardship education a part of your ministry with children and youth.
  6. Take the time to do everything related to stewardship well. Poor planning results in poor giving. Inspire generosity through sound management
  7. Know that people give to healthy organizations where they know their money is used wisely.
  8. Exhibit honesty and openness in financial interactions.
  9. Seek a good working relationship based on trust between the pastor, treasurer, and financial secretary.
  10. Make sure at least two unrelated people count the offering each week.
  11. Make sure all funds are administered properly. Keep precise records of income and dispersements. Keep your giving records secure.
  12. Keep the congregation informed of financial matters in meaningful ways. Issue timely financial reports and make them available to any member who requests them. Report financial concerns in a consistent manner.
  13. Send out pledge reports/giving statements in a timely fashion, always with a thank you and a reminder about any update that may be needed.
  14. Arrange for an independent audit or review of funds annually. Put a brief announcement in the Sunday bulletin a few times stating the completed audit has been reviewed by the finance committee and is available to members wishing to review it.

Say thanks often

  1. Find multiple occasions and ways to say “thank you” to those who make the church’s ministry possible — from the pulpit, in person, in the newsletter, and on their giving statements.
  2. Conduct an annual “thank-a-thon” not associated with a fund drive.
  3. Tell stories of how lives are changed because of their giving. People need to know their giving makes a difference.
  4. As a sign of appreciation, make sure all your procedures for giving are as convenient as possible. Avoid procedures and policies that are for the convenience of those who handle the funds rather than those who give the funds.

Source: Church Leadership

 

Shelby Systems is committed to helping churches large and small streamline their giving process. We provide the software and the plan that can help your church make the leap to digital giving. To find out how, contact one of our Ministry Consultants today. And don’t forget to ask about our special Digital Giving Package!

 


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Website redesigns should be carried out strategically and to meet a need. So if your church has one of these needs, then it may be time to refresh your site:

  1. Your site is not mobile-friendly – This is a top priority right now. If you don’t have a mobile-friendly, responsive website, you need to fix that right now.
  2. Your logo or branding changes – This may seem obvious, but if you’re going to invest in a new logo or graphic branding package, then make sure your website is redesigned to reflect the change.
  3. Your site is not guest-friendly – Consider the content and layout of your site. Is it mainly for guests or members? If everything is geared to members, it might be time to fix some things.
  4. You need to change website platforms – This redesign is typically forced. If you’re moving to a new web platform, then you will likely have to make design changes to the site. It’s rare that you can move across platforms and keep a consistent look and feel.
  5. Your site is dated – This is more of a design aesthetic than the other items in this list. But if your site looks old and feels old based on the graphics and content, move forward on a redesign.

Shelby Systems has decades of experience working with ministries of all sizes, for more creative ideas and suggestions contact your Shelby Sales Consultant today!


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Money can be a touchy subject, especially when we start talking about how churches can increase donations. People often fear the stereotype of the church that “always” is begging for money. However, the reality is that people want to give to your church and God calls them to do so. This means that any reasonable effort to help them give is the role of a faithful congregation.

As we continue our series on generosity in the church, here are five ways to increase giving without feeling like a pitch-person:

  1. Add an Electronic Payment Option to your Church Service  – with the advent of smart phones, texting payments and other solutions, people only need a cellphone in order to give electronically. ShelbyNext Giving offers services to help your church walk down this new road. Studies show that electronic giving can increase donations by up to 32%.
  2. Make Recurring Contributions Easy – Many people prefer to automate the important things in their life. They use different systems to make sure their mortgage payment is sent automatically and their water bill is deducted on the due date. Many people even use their bank’s system to make these payments.  At the very least, you should have an “automated contributions” page on your website with instructions on how people should designate their contributions using their bank’s automated-payment settings. If you want to take it to the next level, allow members to schedule those contributions using their debit card without ever having to leave your website.
  3. Retailers Referral – This online tool allows your church members to make money for your church while they do their normal shopping online. You may not know it, but most online retailers (like Amazon) have a 2-5% associates’ fee they will pay to people who refer customers to their site. It is not added to the purchase, but taken out of the company’s profit. 
  4. Start a Christian Financial Counseling Ministry – Many people’s finances are so tight that they cannot see a way to give to the church. Though the goal of ministries like these is not to increase giving, they do help people find financial stability and freedom so that they are able to discover the joy of giving to the cause of Christ. You might start by researching other churches that offer this type of ministry. Call them and ask for advice.
  5. Help Businesses Give – Many churches look only to their members and attendees as those who are interested in supporting the mission and ministry of their congregation and miss a whole category of contributions.  Often times, local businesses are more than willing to partner financially in what the church is doing. Here are a couple ideas to get your brainstorming started:
  • Sunday Lunch — Many restaurants will share a portion of customer’s bills as a fundraiser for an organization. Consider having a first Sunday lunch location where members can give back by going to lunch after church.
  • Event Sponsors — Many local businesses love to partner on events like fall festivals and Easter family events. Next time, ask local businesses to sponsor a specific game or area. 
  • Business Directory — Your members would love to support businesses who support your church. Create a sponsored business directory that fills that desire and helps your local businesses partner with your ministry.
You don’t have to turn your church service into some sort of Christian infomercial. With a few simple updates, you can help enable your church members to do what they already want to do: give generously to the work of God.

Shelby Systems is committed to helping churches large and small streamline their giving process. We provide the software and the plan that can help your church make the leap to digital giving. To find out how, contact one of our Ministry Consultants today. And don’t forget to ask about our special Digital Giving Package!


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Usually the phrase “texting in church” brings up bad connotations.

You picture disinterested teens, sitting in the back of the congregation, rapidly messaging back and forth on a mobile device. Although this scenario may be all too real, there’s something about it that we, as church leaders, can’t ignore. Over 99% of all text messages are opened and read within five minutes or less. That factor alone makes text communication for churches a no brainer.

 

Text Message Campaigns for Churches

  1. Inspiring Devotionals – All individuals are created in the image of God. Be kind to one another, because each has a little of Him in us.
  2. Service Cancellations – Due to the severe weather alert, all services will be cancelled today. All activities for the coming week will resume as scheduled.
  3. Small Group Reminders – Don’t forget! The women’s small group is meeting tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the East Tower.
  4. Event Announcements – Our annual block party is this Saturday, from 3-7 p.m.! Bring your favorite dish, and come join us for fellowship.

 

How Do You Promote Your Church Texting List?

Don’t ask attendees to opt in just for fun. Make sure there is purpose behind your request.

 

Ask the Pastor to Make an Announcement

Let’s face it. Your pastor is the focal point of attention. Why not have him encourage congregation members to join your texting list? Before the sermon starts, your pastor can ask attendees to take out their phone, and opt in. Don’t forget to tell them why this communication tactic is important, and how it will benefit them.

 

Print Opt-in Details in Your Bulletin

If people are still flipping through your Sunday bulletin, type out opt-in details on the inside page. Remember, if you push texting as a communication method, and a way to keep members in the loop, you’ll experience much more success.

 

Share More Info on Social Media

If you have social media pages for your church, make an announcement about your new text communication option. If congregation members are the first to hear about important events, they’re more likely to stay involved.

 

Respect Time of Day

Avoid sending messages before 9 a.m. or after 9 p.m. This may be considered disruptive, which could negatively affect participation.

 

When Applicable, Segment Your List

Don’t send out women’s small group reminders to your entire list. Sort out applicable subscribers, and message accordingly.

 

Don’t Break Your Initial Frequency Promise

Let’s say from day one, you vowed to only send six messages per month. Don’t ignore that guideline. Breaking this promise will only result in an unhappy and annoyed congregation.

 

3 Pillars of Church Text Messaging

Your text messages should provide a high level of value for your audience. Sure, the open rate is fantastic. That doesn’t mean you should text your congregation “just because.” Make sure your messages fall under one of these three pillars. Although you’re not selling anything, your text messages should provide a high level of value. They should make people want to attend, serve and grow in your church.

  1. Educate – As a congregation leader, you want to encourage individual growth on all levels. Send out daily devotions, or at the very least, weekly scripture reminders. If you’re focusing on a certain chapter, send out messages that reference these verses, and even assign short passages of reading.
  2. Inspire – Fire out words of encouragement. Inspire congregation members with weekly motivational messages, Bible verses, or positive affirmations.
  3. Inform – Keep congregation members in the loop with text messages that relay important information. Keep everyone safe and in the know with one simple blast.

 

 

For more great ideas on how to communicate effectively with your congregation, contact one of our Shelby Ministry Consultants today!

 

 


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HQ 2017 was a big success! Thanks to everyone who attended. There were new friendships established and hugs and handshakes as attendees returned home to all corners of the United States. We appreciate all of the great ideas that our customers recommended during the conference, and we hope that everyone learned something that they can take home and use to make their ministry more effective. May God continue to bless you and your service to the kingdom.

Shelby’s next major event is ISC 2018 / June 6 – 8. Please click the image above to see some of the exciting sights and sounds of Memphis, TN.


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No time is wasted at the HQ 2017 Conference. During lunch we interviewed several attendees and talked with them about their interactions this week. Comments ranged from the friendliness of staff and customers to the intimate setting to helpful tips and tricks. One attendee told an amazing story and explained why his respect for Shelby software has grown due to a recent experience. 

We are busy compiling video footage and photos and we will have a conference highlights podcast for your viewing pleasure very soon.


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Day Two of HQ 2017 is well under way. Alfred Johnson is leading a break-out session titled: ShelbyNext Financials – What’s New and What’s Coming (pictured above).



Attendees are listening as Alfred gives a brief history of his time as product owner and then launches into the upcoming features of the ShelbyNext Financials product. Be watching for more details coming later today.


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Day One of HQ 2017 is complete! It was a day filled with learning, networking and new friendships being established. After an inspirational morning session, attendees took advantage of dozens of diverse break-out sessions. A warm and filling lunch was also time for laughter and shared ministry experiences. Following the dinner break, the evening session included a lively Q&A between attendees and a panel of Shelby experts (pictured above). Most of the HQ group is heading to bed early tonight so that they can finish strong tomorrow with the final day of the conference. We’ll have more reports as HQ 2017 continues.