Promoting Congregational Generosity Continued

Promoting Congregational Generosity Continued

Last week I gave four suggestions for encouraging congregational generosity. Here are three more things that have worked for us.

Special Projects. People want to give to a variety of good works. The church needs to be a conduit for such giving. Promote these different needs in various ways and allow people to give to what excites them. One person may want to send a single parent’s child to camp while another will give to an inner city ministry or a mission effort. In the example above we have some members who give a large amount to the Good Samaritan Fund every month. Obviously church members will give to “the plate,” but they want to direct some of their giving too. Help them do that.

A Special Day. We tried something new last year that was wildly successful. On Orphan Sunday in November we talked about the plight of orphans around the world. Then we briefly detailed four different ways they could help orphans, from sending a child of the incarcerated to camp to sponsoring a child in Haiti or Honduras or help a foster child in Nashville. These four Para-church organizations had representatives in the hallway all morning. At the close of the service we invited the church to respond. I said something like, “Here is what we are going to do.” The traffic jam of people in the hallway was thrilling. Sometimes people are overwhelmed with the need and don’t know what to do. We gave them four viable options, at different contribution levels.

Overflow Contribution. If you struggle to make your budget and have cut ministries to make ends meet, this suggestion is not for you. But the Overflow Contribution has become a staple at our church. Each December we announce that everything that is given over and above our budget will go to any number of good works. Members are invited to apply for funds and a team of deacons select the recipients and determine the amounts. Many good works receive $1000 or $2000 or $5000, works which would never make it into our annual budget. It is like Christmas in February when these funds are distributed each year.  

Send me suggestions that have worked at your church, and I will pass them on.