Your congregation has questions—big questions that go beyond basic bulletin announcements about the upcoming women’s retreat and small group sign-ups. These next-level questions are about why they should give and what happens to their money once they do.
As their pastor, it’s your responsibility to make sure they have answers to those questions—even though they may not come right out and ask them. Anticipating giving-related questions helps to ensure that your people are being guided and encouraged on their generosity journey, all while making sure your God-sized vision for ministry is being funded.
So here are five questions your people are likely asking, based on five things people need to know before they will give. (Trust me: Most of your people are asking at least one of these questions!)
1. Can I trust you?
News stories about the improper use of charitable gifts are all too frequent—the Wounded Warriors Project being one recent example. Many people want to be generous, but they need to know their gifts will be stewarded well.
To help gain trust with your congregation:
- Be transparent.
- Work to build integrity and trust in your personal leadership, and in those in positions of leadership.
- Communicate well and often.
- Follow through. Do what you say you are going to do.
- Don’t ask people to do something you yourself are not doing. (Be an example.)
People give to organizations and projects in which they can believe and trust. How have you shown your church is trustworthy in the last six months?
2. What’s the vision?
Givers give when the mission of the organization aligns with their passions. Most people aren’t as motivated by need; they’re inspired to generosity by vision. It’s not about the money, but what the money will accomplish. It’s not about facilities, but the ministry the facilities allow.
As you communicate about giving in your church, emphasize:
- How lives will be changed.
- How broken marriages will be mended.
- How children will come to know Christ.
- How students will be strengthened to boldly live out their faith.
- How your church can have an amazing impact on a lost and hurting community.
When was your last annual report to your people? How have you communicated your vision in the last six months? And how do you communicate vision to those new to your church?
3. Why should I give?
Disciple, disciple, disciple. It’s not about what you or your church wants from your congregation, it’s about what God wants for them. Teach often on the importance of a generous lifestyle. Jesus did.
When was your last teaching on the importance of generosity?
4. How will my giving make a difference?
Connect the dots between the gift and the lives being changed as a result. It’s not about funding a budget; it’s about reaching a lost world for Christ. What differences are you making as a church? Share stories often, thanking everyone for the generosity that helped make those stories a reality.
How and when did you last illustrate the difference generosity is making through your ministry?
5. How do I give around here?
While it may seem intuitive to you, many people still have questions about the logistics of giving to your church. Be sure your communication strategy includes:
- Effective offering introductions in worship.
- An online giving option that’s easy to find and easy to use.
- A simple, mobile giving solution.
What giving options does your church provide, and how do you communicate them? Make sure everyone knows the multiple ways they can give to your mission, and use technology to make those options more accessible. And if you have a weakness in your giving strategy, fix it.
Pastor, these are the questions your congregation is asking. How are you doing at proactively addressing them? Your answers mean a world of difference for how people view giving to support your ministry.