Giving Boost - Part 2
A Financial Surge for the Post Pandemic Church
There are certain things that can be very helpful to fueling a church’s mission regardless of what the new normal looks like:
These are best-practice tools for any church at any time.
We have made some friends over the years of being in ministry – experts in other categories that help us all lead our churches well. These are the organizations led by men and women who set up congregations for the development of generosity and better ways to accomplish their mission as they make disciples and serve their communities.
We are dreaming and imagining with churches about a new and robust way to lead in times that require agility and savvy spiritual leadership. These are new concepts for many churches, but partners with helpful systems that are available to churches immediately. We picked them because of their value – their fees are not back-breaking for churches of any size. So we think it is helpful to introduce them to as many leaders as we can.
We are encouraging churches that are committed to the long-term development of generous disciples to imagine having:
ACTION STEP: Do fresh research on your community
We hear about big data and have a level of skepticism about how the information is being used. That’s fair. Not every kind of new technology should be embraced wholesale. But a group of Christian tech experts has come up with a cost-effective way for churches to get fresh and up-to-date information about the people inside and outside the church. In this manner, leaders are not flying blind as they navigate the uncharted waters of the future.
Kingdom Analytics helps churches collect critical data to provide reconnaissance for strategic decision-making like:
Specific data on a church can be culled from the church database (not names or private information). Add to that the aggregated data that comes from sources available from the US Census and other market research groups, Kingdom Analytics can provide enormous help to the new paths we may have to forge in the future.
ACTION STEP: Disciple people with the help of analysis
The territory ahead of us is unlike the journey most of us prepared for when we entered the ministry. And yet, there are tools available to us on that journey that was also not available until recent years. One of the groups that have done a respectful and thoughtful job of dealing with the giving data that resides in every church’s management software is MortarStone.
Without ever compromising data security or feeling too “creepy,” this group of Christian men and women are committed to doing everything they can to help the church understand and properly utilize data gathered from the giving patterns of their congregation.
MortarStone creates easy-to-understand dashboards of real-time information that helps church leaders, including information about:
With snapshots of real-time data about giving practices of the congregation, discipleship strategies can be developed to address underdeveloped givers as well as the most mature and faithful contributors. They even have a robust methodology for helping churches cultivate non-cash and asset gifts from church members now (and not just in their estate plans).
The friendship with the Auxano Resourcing team allows these two groups to weave seamless support and coaching around church leadership teams. First, they safely and securely analyze data (MortarStone) and then use that analysis to develop discipleship pathways and systems for increased generosity in each congregation (Auxano).
ACTION STEP: Clear digital giving obstacles
As mentioned before, just because a church has a website or a digital giving platform does not mean that it is effective. Many churches, understandably, do not have website design experts nor can they afford them. And many or most churches have a way to give electronically but have not been proactive in explaining and promoting it as a “legitimate” way to give tithes and offerings.
2020 gave us an immediate audit of our systems of engaging people in the virtual and digital world. Some of us passed the test fairly well. But many have had the weaknesses of their platforms exposed. The overnight digital renaissance of the church has shined a light on the gaps in our approach.
The good news is there are groups like LifeWay Generosity who have developed both platforms for digital giving and also the tools to help church leaders deploy them most effectively. And, for church leaders who are dizzied by the many options for a digital giving platform, LifeWay’s stands out because of its extremely low cost, easy to use, and high-value system. They were not the first to arrive on the scene of giving platforms, but they have grown exponentially, signing up thousands of churches for their platform in just a week or two following the stay at home orders of 2020.
Through their platform churches can receive funds via:
Users have access to generosity and stewardship coaching from the LifeWay Generosity staff (e.g., videos, blogs, etc.) as well as experts from other organizations around the country who regularly appear as guests.
Again, it is not about whether or not a church has a digital giving platform, it is whether church leaders have cleared the obstacles to use that platform so that it becomes normalized in the life of the church.
ACTION STEP: Celebrate your impact
One of the questions we get asked constantly as generosity and stewardship coaches is, “What should I report to the congregation, if anything, about the giving numbers?”
This always leads us into a much longer conversation about what should be reported and in what manner. Churches have traditionally reported only giving and attendance because that is what most churches measure. But with an increased desire on the part of many in our congregations (particularly the next generation and younger members) for more reporting on impact than just numbers, new ways of reporting have sprung up.
The Impact Report Company (TIRC) was established in 2019 to allow churches to have a partner to consult on and create infographic-style one-page reports on a regular basis to encourage and inspire the members of their church.
This group will urge churches to aim to do these colorful and custom reports once per quarter. They also coach leaders by having them dip their toes into the Impact Reporting world by not tackling too many measurements at once. The early phase of reporting allows for a soft entry. It includes the categories that are most likely to be already counted like attendance, giving, groups, leadership and mission with the idea that down the road churches can get as creative as they want or need to be.
The benefit of these “Impact Reports” is based on a few important assertions: