Five Critical Steps on Giving
Here are five critical steps toward an effective, life-transforming program for giving.
First step, get over the approach known as “charitable giving.” This works for art museums, but it is death for churches. In charitable giving, people give from leftover funds, expect recognition and clout, and give only when the charity's activities please them.
Second step, focus entirely on “harvest giving,” the Biblical model, in which the grateful person gives directly from the harvest to God. No calculation of reward or tax benefit. Simply a faith-driven recognition that the harvest comes from God and must be shared with God.
Third step, teach harvest giving again and again, not as an annual exercise to raise budget funds, but as a fundamental call of faith.
Fourth step, live within your means. If your people give $100,000 in harvest giving, then let that be what you spend to serve God. Don't try to cadge a larger budget by turning to deep-pockets folks for the “real” gifts that make a difference. Don't draw down the endowment. If the harvest is lean, then the church's spending must be lean.
Final step, don't talk about the church budget. No one is obligated to give toward a church's budget. Their obligation is to give to God. Your task as a church leader is to make sure your congregation is doing such Godly and inspiring things that people will draw a direct connection between harvest giving and a worthy enterprise.
When people make that connection, they will rejoice and draw closer to God, and their zeal for harvest giving will grow.