Beyond the Tithe: Church Fundraising the Simple Way

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There are thousands of church fundraising ideas out there. But if you make the simple shift from asking for cash gifts again and again to systematically educating your people on living generous lifestyles, you’ll have the resources you need to get the job done without scrambling for more income.

When it comes to being generous with our financial resources, the options are overwhelming. If you ask your congregation, you will see signs of donor fatigue. There are only so many causes to which a person can give.

Perhaps you sponsor a golf tournament, are building a new sanctuary or focused on a missions project. Each of these have one thing in common: they focus on the money. Throw money at X so we can solve issue Y. People want to give to the things that they care about, especially when they feel they can make a difference. However, the same people are being asked to give to the point that they may begin to feel like an ATM rather than a human connected to the cause.

Most have heard sermons about stewardship and how it relates to financial gifts. Usually, the messages around stewardship are closely tied to the topic of tithing. While tithing is a part of the concept of stewardship — it is not the only element.

Biblical stewardship is not simply about God asking you to give a portion of your first fruits. In a much deeper sense, stewardship is about the responsibility to care for and manage all our gifts, resources, and time for the benefit of the Kingdom.

This more holistic view on biblical stewardship requires us to inform our people of the various ways they can steward all of their blessings, not simply focus on giving cash. In Exodus 25, Moses shared a list of resources required to build the tabernacle: gold, silver, yarn, silk, etc.

Notice that these items are not currency. These are tangible items that needed to be either sold or transferred to be of use to the tabernacle architects. And when given the opportunity to get involved with the vision of the temple in more ways than giving the currency of the day, the donations poured in.

In fact, in Exodus 36, Moses had to tell people to stop giving! Imagine what this could do for your church or community! Today, we call these types of supplies “assets.” Most people do not keep gold bars in the closet — but they do have stocks, bonds, real estate, etc.

As you can see, the Bible dives much deeper into the concept of giving than most church fundraising ideas out there. Like Moses, we can change the conversation around stewardship to a more holistic approach. This approach is less about emotional appeals to your congregation for a one-time event or gift. Instead, it’s about teaching a lifestyle of stewardship — mindful giving of the assets in our care.

Here are three truths that really speak to the need for building greater stewardship awareness in your church community:

  • Leading fundraising experts have stated that ongoing education has greater impact than events or campaigns—ongoing education requires a teacher like you.
  • Over $49 trillion will be transferring from one generation to the next within the next 21 years. Many of those who are transferring that wealth have deep reservations about how to do it effectively—and they need someone to show them how to do so effectively for the Kingdom.
  • Lawyers, accountants and financial advisors rarely address topics of generosity with their clients, prioritizing asset preservation over asset release. Their clients need someone to educate them on generosity.

I met a leader in the oil industry in Dallas. He is a very wealthy Christian who spent years toiling and as a result has accumulated a large net worth.

He took care of his family, his business and ensured he was a good shepherd of his resources by investing the way he should. He was very interested in ministry — but he never had the time or the available resources to make a Kingdom impact. The holistic concepts of stewardship connected with his heart.

When I asked about giving by donating his assets, he stated that he would make that kind of impact when he died. But his curiosity was visibly peaked when I responded…

“You have the option to alleviate death taxes. You have the power to choose who receives those formerly assigned tax dollars. You can make that Kingdom impact now — no waiting involved.”

As a pastor, you have the tremendous honor of creating an environment that inspires your people to a lifestyle of stewardship and giving. Educational seminars or similar events create a safe environment to discuss life stewardship, tithing, giving, and assets. Even if your ministry does not have any pressing needs, faithful believers are looking for ways that they can be effective stewards of their resources.

If Moses can build the tabernacle based on donations, just imagine the impact your congregation can have in your city when fully engaged!

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