Church giving tends to be lower than normal during the summer. Fewer members are in the pews, and church financial donations may also drop during the summer months for several other reasons.
With school out, some families have more expenses, like increased daycare costs, babysitters and camp fees. Moms and dads might work fewer hours if they have caregiving responsibilities for children who are at home. All of this contributes to less money being available to households.
Vacation expenses eat away at a budget, too. So, some church members may prefer to give in-kind donations to the church. They may volunteer their time at Vacation Bible School or donate food to the summer lunch program as a way to give to the church.
How can we address this decline in needed income to support church ministries? There are different methods to increase giving – like the use of social media, appeal letters and online giving. Using a mobile giving app allows people to still give even though they are not in the church sanctuary and can be a great way for church members to contribute throughout the summer.
But what I would like to tackle in today’s post is not the “how,” but the “why.”
Why will a person on vacation take the time to use a mobile giving app to make certain they don’t miss contributing their tithes and offerings for that week or month? Why will someone stop to read your post or tweet among the myriad items that come up on their feeds? Why would a member read the appeal letter the church sent via snail mail or email?
Passion for God’s Work
When people ask me whether, in my capacity as Treasurer for The United Methodist Church, I worry about the future finances of the Church, I say, “No.”
My colleague on this blog, Jeff Pelletier of Milestone Church, writes eloquently on Matthew 6:21, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (CEB)
Another way to read this verse might be to say, “Where your heart is, your treasure will follow.”
People will continue to give to what they feel passionate about – where their heart is. As long as the church remains relevant to the passions of the people, it will be supported by its members.
The question then becomes how do we accomplish this? My answer is always “through prayer.”
Not a prayer in the sense that we ask for God’s blessing on where we see a need and would like to do something. But, rather, a prayer where we attend to God’s message, so we understand God’s desire for the world.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah.” 29:11 (NIV)
This is a prayer that requires patience and listening, that allows us to see and feel the world through God’s eyes and heart, and experience the hope and future as God has planned it. Our finances, our presence and our perfection rest not on our needs and abilities but on the desires and power of God.
What we have is not ours. It is God’s. And when we listen for God’s plans for us, our lives and our ministries benefit greatly.