Kenny Jahng from GenerosityLabs has your Generosity Tip of the Day!
It’s regarding the A.R.T. of Engagement — when you want to build a culture of giving across your community, you want to focus on the three main drivers of increasing gauge right that’s just a remind you it’s a for Authority or for Relevance and Trust,
One of the things that you can do very easily to help build trust is with this tip that I am sharing with you today. Now, it’s my birthday this week — happy birthday to me! But one of the things that you’ll notice is that there’s a very small set of relationships out there that do take advantage of that in today’s day and age.
You’ll get a birthday card from your dentist or lawyer or real estate agent or from your car dealer — and sure enough I open my inbox today and I get a happy birthday message from a car dealer.
It a very simple message — they know it doesn’t need to be spammy; there’s no call to action; it is a complete relationship play. And they know that they are a car dealer and they’re not my friend or relative etcetera right so it’s a simple message that’s clean and just takes advantage of the fact that they have my information in the database.
It says, “we noticed that today is your special day so in commemoration of this occasion we want to send along our best wishes and thank you for your past business May the next year bring great joy to you and your loved ones happy birthday.”
See, very simple, right? It’s something that gives you an excuse to reach out and build that relationship over time.
All you need to do is sit down and write 6, 10, a dozen different variations of happy birthday messages. Some can be humorous, some to be straightforward, it is something that you can insert some fun links into, maybe a YouTube video, etc.
Basically anytime someone in the database has a birthday, that triggers the email to get sent out and sometimes you can send it one day early or on the day. But you have personalization done for the next 6 years, 10 years, etc. You can have a decade’s worth of happy birthday messages that don’t repeat, are varied and you can do that all in one shot. Just sit down and write half a dozen to a dozen different versions and then schedule them in your email system.
Each and every organization should be taking advantage of this. But there’s very few I’ve met — only maybe two churches there taking advantage of birthdays. And birthdays are easy to collect from your people! It’s one of those fields of information in a database that most people are comfortable sharing– their birthday.
And the best practice is if you collect a piece of information yous hould use it. If you collect a piece of information and don’t use it you’re wasting your time and energy; it is not respectful of the audience that you collecting from; and in you introduce friction to the relationship that you have with them. So collect only the information you’re going to use and birthday should be one of them at some point in the beginning of the relationship.
And then you build the automation that simply sends out an email message to them on their birthday. It could be the day before saying, Hi I want to be the first to wish you happy birthday this week!
Let me know what you think about this automation idea and if you have any other ideas on how to use marketing automation to the benefit of increasing the relevance and trust in your relationship with your people in your community. I always want to discover, learn, and brainstorm about other ways to use technology to scale personal relationships,
That’s it for today’s tip.Thank you for listening and watching here at GenerosityLabs.Org.
If you ask any pastor, if they would like to see growth in giving by their congregation in 2019, I doubt many would disagree or shy away from that outcome.
If you ask most pastors what is the status of their giving with respect to their budget and actual needs, again, most would answer that their dreams for ministry are greater than the offerings and times collected via the offering plate.
A good portion of churches “need” more funding, not just “want” more funding.
This next year, somewhere between 6,000 and 10,000 churches will have to close their doors.
Lack of strategy or intent regarding finances is one of the major reasons churches are struggling.
Here are 3 THINGS TO FOCUS ON IN 2019 TO CULTIVATE A CULTURE OF GIVING
1. Your church needs to adopt a cause.
One of the big things many churches have lost his their outward focus. Many churches do have outreach activities and support missionaries, but don’t have clarity around it and positioning it all as a core part of its identity. Every church needs to hang this shingle so it’s people can identify with this behavior or outward generosity.
2. You need to plan on sharing of stories of impact regularly.
Where did the money go? How did it help? You need to ensure there is a FLOW of stories being shared with your congregation so they connect their giving behavior with the outcomes.
3. The pastor needs to see all giving activity.
The leadership needs be fully involved with the church’s financial activity. This is because financial stewardship is a discipleship issue and without knowing and supporting financial health, a church isn’t doing its job of helping its people to fully worship through daily living.
Also, no church can maximize its impact without understanding when it can invest in ministry opportunities and when there is less or no margin available.
Those of the first three things every church needs to reconsider at the beginning of the year. Without these three fundamental approaches, it will be difficult to install a culture of generosity in the community.
As a generosity advocate, Niki Flaming aims to build a platform that provides unique data insights to help anyone better connect with givers. We caught up with her to find out more about this discipleship-driven, stewardship management platform, Mortarstone.
How do you define generosity? Generosity is the virtue of not being tied down by concerns about one’s possessions. Generosity leads to charity and forgiveness.
The landscape of generosity is changing. What is one thing you’ve adjusted in your leadership or teaching when it comes to talking about generosity with your tribe? Generosity is the stewarding of a person’s heart. We teach stewardship through the lens of generosity, in that all we have is God’s and we should steward our resources for His purpose.
What is one thing that’s working right now that you have seen about implementing digital giving tools and methods in a church community? Push notifications, text-to-give, and online recurring payments.
For today’s episode, Kenny Jahng talks about an interesting article from Market Watch entitled, How to get narcissists to give money to charity.
Listen as Kenny shares his two cents on taking advantage of Giving Tuesday plus on getting Narcissists to give on this special day.
Check out the video below!
Hey friends, this is Kenny Jahng with Generosity Labs and we are on our countdown to Giving Tuesday which is November 28, 2018. For those of you who just joined us and don’t know what giving Tuesdays we have Thanksgiving and then the Friday afterwards is a coma day before, better known as actually Black Friday, right? So when you wake up from your food coma and you’d go out at 5:00 AM or 4:00 AM or now 2:00 AM or even the day before to get those Black Friday deals and then you have the weekend and then you go back to work on Monday and you actually don’t do work because it’s Cyber Monday. That’s when all the deals happen online. And you’re going to continue your Black Friday shopping craze for Christmas online at work. And now the Tuesday after Cyber Monday has been designated as Giving Tuesday.
So if you have any money left over, nonprofits around the world are banding together using this as a day to mark for generosity and giving to causes. And this is the time for your organization, whether it be a nonprofit cause driven or Christian organization like a Church to jump on the bandwagon and take advantage of Giving Tuesday. One of the things that we always say is that Giving Tuesday does not cannibalize your end of year giving campaign, but rather should be looked at as something to kick it off. Use it as an excuse to talk about giving in November as you go into the final month of the year. And one of the things that we talk about Generosity Labs is psychology as well as positioning and messaging on how to get people to give to your cause. Today, there’s an interesting article in Market Watch that has come up and I just wanted to share with you, it’s called How to get narcissists to give money to charity, which is really interesting.
Narcissist, they’re not known for their empathy, but this trait can be exploited for good. And so it was a quick and interesting article. Just wanted to share with you some of the learnings that they talked about based on a study that was held with different personalities and the relationships with charities. So, one of the most important things. This is a very short article. They do note that charitable giving has been on the rise. We’re seeing a record giving levels for nonprofits. In fact, there was a 3.9 percent increase between 2015, 2016. I know there was an increase in Giving Tuesday giving between 2016 and 2017. And there’s definitely going to be one this year between 2017 and 2018. Because, this is just something that we need to think about in terms of all communications and messaging for donor development.
How do we take advantage of the increased generosity of Americans if you’re in our country? So, back to the title of this is talking specifically about narcissists. That profile or persona of community members in your ecosystem, they too can be tapped in terms of becoming a financial supporter. And one of the most important paragraphs here, and I’ll read it out loud, it’s charitable giving, is about having empathy, recognizing and responding to the needs and emotions of other people according to the co author of this study and an associate professor of marketing. So what our room says is, this is the most important part, narcissists have difficulty with that by having empathy for other people so they’re not going to respond to those appeals that require the receiver, the audience member of the target audience to display empathy in order to open up their checkbooks.
Narcissists have a difficulty with that. So instead, asking them to imagine themselves as the person in need can help elicit a response in terms of giving. So, this is a very important thing. Narcissists have difficulty with that empathy characteristics. So asking them to imagine themselves as the person in need, can help elicit genuine concern and thus, donations. Now, this is a study by these two professors, in terms of consumer psychology behavior at the University of Cologne. They had over 1,300 people, you know, in that study, in looking at their responses to different charitable appeals. So this is just something that I want to remind you when you have a diversity of call to actions and different messaging that targets sub audiences, right? We talked about the SWAT framework of targeting, define your sub audience, figure out the win is for them. Then you can talk about different actions or activities to involve them in and the specific tactic or technology in order to elicit a call to action.
These narcissists that are a subgroup of your community can be appealed to in a way that puts them at the center of the cause, the need, and that’s when that will trigger some genuine concern on their part and then open up their pockets. So, interesting article on Market Watch, How to get narcissists to give money on charity. Would love your thoughts, leave some comments and some questions. In the meantime, check out GenerosityLabs.org. Again, send us your questions. We’re going to do a roundup Q and A episode really soon. Would love to have your question in the pile of questions that we go through, just submit it using the contact form at GenerosityLabs.org. I’m Kenny Jahng. We will continue this march to do Giving Tuesday on November 28th with more tips, more questions, and answers, more resources as we get closer to that date. Remember, generosity begins with you.
This week we visited a landmark in the town, mainline denominational church.
The architecture was historic and beautiful. As expected, almost everything inside felt like a time warp. Homage to tradition and legacy. But not much evidence of evolving and contextualization with current culture.
There’s much sadness when stepping into these ministries that seem destined to become museums as this last generation of booomers and older disappear.
One of the things that I always look for is signs of the church giving its congregation options for giving.
Well there was no mention of text to give, mobile app given, or other mobile directs option to give immediately, the service bulletin did make reference to an online donation button on their website. “YES!” at least they do take donations online.
The next step would’ve been to make it easier for people to give in the service, not on the web. Finding the donate button on the church website and going to the process of giving online was tedious. This time consuming. And unnecessarily distracting from the worship service anyone would be sitting in.
That said, this church did have a bulletin insert which featured an option for people who do give electronically. You could use that quarter page insert to place into the offering basket as a symbol of your commitment to support the church financially.
I’ve seen this in a couple of churches before. There are two perspectives on how you can look at this practice:
The first way is to knowledge the awkwardness of receiving the offering plate and having other people see you pass it along without contributing anything. While you should not be concerned about how others perceive you, especially if you are actively giving to the ministry, there is a part of you that wants to make sure no one mistakes you as a slacker in the community! You get it, right?
The second way is to think of it from a very positive participation point of view. I think it is an interesting way to physically involve everyone that is giving during the offering time in the liturgy.
There is something to be said for the physical ritual of everyone putting something into a shared plate that gets passed around to every single person that’s part of the church body and membership. There is sort of a “Book of Acts beauty” to such as shared participation activity by everyone in the community.
Personally, I might consider using some sort of simple open ended question form that captures a prayer or space for encouragement to the ministry that people can write on the card that they drop into the Offering Plate during the physical giving time via check or cash.
In the end, I am encouraged that this church is offering some sort of digital giving solution for other people.
Let me know if your church does something similar or if you have seen this in the past elsewhere.
LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW TO SHARE WHAT YOUR CHURCH enough church leaders are talking about the nuances of embracing online giving with details such as the online giving placard for the offering plate.
One of the most common comments or hesitations that I hear from church leaders regarding adopting credit card giving pertains to credit card transaction fees.
Typically the price you pay for being able to take credit cards is usually about $.35-$.50 per transaction plus somewhere around 2.9% of the actual transaction amounts.
Ask any CFO, they hate that much money leaving the church without any other options.
Today, I had a chance to visit another church in my area.
They had a woman host the announcements and offering part of the Order of Service.
This church does offer texts to give as an option, but curiously did not push it or even mention it from the stage. So that’s not the part that they are doing well.
But I did hop onto their giving page which was printed on their giving envelope available in the back of seat pockets.
There, they had a FAQ list that stuck out when I was scanning the page:
WHAT THEY ARE DOING WELL
The question they decided to include asked:
Will 100% of my online giving go to the church?
And then they used that opportunity to explicitly list their transaction fees for taking credit cards online.
I think this is a great tactic to help address the internal concerns that usually come up arguing that by offering online giving, you will end up giving up a significant chunk of it to fees unnecessarily.
SIDE NOTE: This base argument is a fear-based and scarcity minded approach. Experience shows that overall giving increases as soon as they pull the trigger in offering credit card based giving options. You will receive more giving incrementally than the 2.21% utilized to receive funds through that channel.
WHAT THEY CAN DO BETTER
While it was great to be transparent about the transaction fee so that some supporters will proactively use other methods to maximize every penny of that goes to the church directly, I don’t believe it is then only or best counsel they can provide.
Pushing people to go to a physical check or cash methods in order to eliminate 100% of transaction fees seems odd and very shortsighted.
Instead I would reword that FAQ to contrast credit card giving versus ACH giving (giving via echeck). For this church, that’s only a 0.64% fee. Saving over 71% of potential transaction fees.
PLUS, most leaders don’t consider the cost of collecting cash and checks, sorting, counting and sending someone to physically deposit them. It doesn’t seem that you could do that for less than 0.64% of the cash & check collection amounts in most cases.
So I would also use it as an opportunity to reinforce the option of recurring. electronic giving.
Regardless, the tactic to appreciate here is how they explicitly shared the specific transaction amount credit cards would trigger.this allows them to present the options in the way that’s not guilt infused and puts the options in the hands of the giver.
Did you know that 41% of regular church attendees give to church consistently?
That’s less than half of your congregation. Alarming isn’t it?
Listen as Kenny Jahng discusses the State of the Plate of generosity amongst churches far and wide and how church leaders can bring solution to your weekly giving.
Check out the video below.
Hi there, this is Kenny Jahng with the Generosity Labs Podcast. Thank you so much for joining us today. One of the things that we have been getting questions about recently around here is the actual demand or the question really is do people really want to give outside of the offering envelope in terms of cash or cheque. Because one of the biggest rants that I’ve been having around here, Generosity Labs is that churches are stuck in the Stone Age, don’t understand that envelopes and cash are just not relevant anymore to most of the peoples that walk in their doors. And so I just want to refer back to an important, I guess landmark industry report that comes out on a periodic basis. It is the State of the Plate. And today I wanted to go through Brian Kluth’s work there, where they surveyed almost 1600 pastors, church leaders and lead people across the country. 1,596 people to be exact. And the survey asked these pastors, leaders and lay people’s from churches of all sizes and the types of churches varied as well. And one of the things that, the whole point of the report is to report on their church giving patterns and practices and I think we can learn a lot from just looking at some of the data that has come out of the State of the Plate report. I think the next one is going to be administered too. The latest report that we have is coming out at the end of 2016, but I think if you wanted to name this, it’s really the reality, the church giving is the name of the theme or the takeaway, right? It’s basically a way to Paul, to the church. Here’s a infographic that we produced in cooperation with a title State of the Plate.
And It’s what to call out some numbers that just struck me as we built this infographic. First one is 59 percent, so the majority of churches out there, if you are sitting in a church or you’re a church team or staff, 59 percent chances are you’re one of them. 59 percent of churches report declining or flat line giving. That’s in contrast with another study. I think it was by Giving Rocket at one point said 84 percent of churches are at or below budget. That means only 16 percent of churches have any sort of financial margin to do ministry beyond what they’re planning. This report here also says at 20 percent experienced giving decline of five percent or more. And I think they looked at five percent as being significant, right? So if you’re giving year after year is declining at a rate of five percent or more, it’s something to be concerned about if you’re not able to turn that pattern around, something’s going on with your giving behavior and that’s pointing to something deeper in the culture or DNA of your church, so that’s a gloomy outlook to begin with. Almost 60 percent of churches are declining or flat lines and 20 percent are actually saying, Whoa, we’re going downhill. We’re not just maintaining what we have, we’re actually going downhill. That means that you know, in 10 years you’re going to have a major issue, If you’re not doing anything here in five years and even in two years, 10 percent less money in the staff budget, in the ministry budget, in the outreach budget, and the missions budget that is something to take seriously right now.
Now let’s look at what’s happening on a Sunday, regular attendance, and we’ve all been talking about this for a couple years now and it becomes louder and louder. Regular attendance to a church no longer means that I go every Sunday. That’s what people are telling us in this report is confirmed. One third of members actually do not attend church on any given weekend. So if you’re looking at a church and you see their attendance numbers, you’ve got to think that those one third that actually are not here on any given some of the, you need to look at the larger community that this church might be responsible for and say that, wow, this is only two thirds of the people there. One-Third aren’t their peers, the bottom line this is the problem, that zero is the amount of giving received from people who missed church, especially if there no digital giving options available. That’s what has been happening in churches historically, right? If people don’t come to church or if a church is cancelled for some reason, whether it be weather related or anything else, and then you’re giving goes down for that month. And so that’s a critical problem but here on a normal, regular basis, one third of your members don’t attend church in any given weekend. That’s significant shift over the last decade or two as to what’s happening even in your closest, most inner concentric circles supporters and people in your community.
Regular no longer means I’m there every single Sunday. They’re just so many other competing things in our culture that happened. That’s enough fodder for a complete other podcast show, episode or blog posts, etc it’s another conversation. But here you can see only 56 percent of people in their twenties or thirties attend 90 percent or more of their Sunday services, only 56 percent, so it is not the norm anymore to go to church every single Sunday. Yet those are still the people that are your most committed and I think commitment is now being defined differently and that’s the challenge whether attendance is the way to define commitment and can you change the nature of your ministry so that physical presence is not the only way to be engaged and to receive and to minister to others, that’s again another conversation, but the norm now, right now, 56 percent of the young folks, 20’s and 30’s, they’re not attending 90 percent or more of the services. So along with attendance, obviously things are changing and shifting the way people give are not other consistent behavior either. Only 41 percent, give consistently on a weekly basis to the church. Whoa, 41 percent. If you had to guess without knowing that initially, I don’t know if I would have guessed that number was that low, that all less than half the people are giving on a consistent basis to your church.
So that means I think we need to be thinking about giving it a completely different way. We need to be talking about differently. We need to be experiencing differently. We need to presenting the options differently. In fact, 60 percent of attendees, according to this State of the Plate report, 60 percent of those in the 20’s and 30’s give only one or two times a month or even every few months. There’s not this need apparently, especially in the 20’s and 30’s, that generational band that they feel the need that they need to give their dollars every week. Now, it doesn’t mean that they’re not planning on it and it doesn’t mean that they are not giving enough to cover. But it does mean that giving is not a habit of if they come into church buildings, that they’re going to actually open up their wallets, their checkbooks, their credit cards, etc.
This is something that every church leader needs to really process and think about, even alone as well as a team. What does that mean? How does that change the offering time? How does it change the messaging that you give? How has it changed on the reporting and telling us stories of where their money goes in terms of flourishing for the gospel inside your building and outside of your building? Now these guys are giving elsewhere. They’re actually a healthy generation in terms of giving and supporting outside of themselves. You know, the bad reps that the millennials have in the 20’s and people in their 20’s and 30’s get is that they don’t give it all. They’re not helpful people. They’re not helping other, actually that’s not the case. 34 percent of churchgoers give to 4 or more organizations together and they do it consistently, right? So now you’ve got a culture where giving is thought of as a portfolio of giving, they’re looking and choosing cherry picking opportunities to support multiple organizations 4 or more, more than a third of the people there give or four or more different organizations consistently. And 80 percent of attendees, this is what’s showing that it’s actually happening in the church. Specifically, 80 percent of attendees gift to at least one other organization. The church is not the only share of wallet. There’s other organizations and entities and causes that are competing for the same dollars in the supporters wallet. And so this is just think about that. Hey, you’re not the only game in town. It’s no longer just obligation is enough. It’s no longer, this is the norm, this is the expectation.
The landscape has changed tremendously when you think that 80 percent of the people who give to your church and are actually giving elsewhere to begin with, most people are actually looking for meaning in how they give in the relationship and only 41 percent again are giving on a regular basis to church to begin with. So you’ve got to think about, hey, what’s going on? What are we doing wrong? Is there other ways that we can help boost up the rate of giving form from our people? Well, the first one to look at really is preferences. I know that cheques and I know that cash or the preferred method of receiving money for the church and you hear it all the time with church leaders, especially when you bring up credit card options because they say, hey, that 2 point something percent belongs to us, that 2 point something percent through, that’s the reason we’re not going to critic or giving because, you know, that money’s going elsewhere. But yet, digital is increasingly becoming the preferred method of payment. As we go to a cashless society and many, many churches, if not years in particular, are not helping out. They’re not giving that option on the table, which I think is just completely flabbergasting. You are mandating that people go backwards in their habits back to the stone ages of using cash only or cheques in particular and that’s the only way that they can support your ministry.
Now again, the question is, is this true or not? According to the survey, this backs it up in real numbers, only 14 percent surveyed want envelopes in the pews. Only 14 percent of people are going on these churches are giving through envelopes and that’s what they want. And you contrast that with the other portion, 68 percent of people when their church, they want digital options, they want a kiosk or ipad giving or some other digital option. The majority of people are saying to you right now through the survey, you don’t need to think about reaching out to your own people. This is a cross section of America. 68 percent want digital options like a kiosk or an ipad giving. What have you done to make it as easy as possible to collect those funds and revenue for your church? It’s just shocking how many people ignore that because they’re making some convoluted arguments about, you know, a couple of percentage points going to the credit card processing company. Now 49 percent wanting to give on a phone app. They want an actual mobile app for the church. And 54 percent just want cell phone texts giving options. So here you can say almost half or even more than half, they’re saying, hey, give us digital options, whether it be a phone app or texting. That’s the way we want to do it, and you might say, hey, we don’t really need that, we’ve got online giving on our website. Well, you know what, only 21 percent of people out there, we’re interested in online giving on the church website. So even if you had that choice, only 21 percent of the people out there expected it or trying to figure out how to fulfill their giving through a mobile phone app or cell phone text to give options. This is something that I think pastors and leaders need to begin to recognize. The importance of digital giving. that can be digital given by mobile, by text, by kiosk, by auto pay EFT payments, a recurring giving, it doesn’t matter. You need to start somewhere and pastors, leaders, are listening today. This is one of those rants or just a appeal podcasts, please, you know, you want to make the act of giving as accessible as possible to all church goers, even when they aren’t physically at the church.
I’m telling you, this is like prophetic. It’s going to be important for churches of all sizes and locations. You’re going to need to actively embrace digital giving methods very soon to encourage, to power greater generosity and more important that consistency in the act of giving amongst your church families. This is something that I just is so so important. 68 percent of the people are telling you they want digital options like kiosks and iPads. 54 percent are telling you they want text to give. 49 percent, almost half the congregation wanted given the full through, say a mobile app. they feel safe to do it in your churches mobile app somewhere. This is something that you need to start thinking about. And if you’re just offering a website alone, that’s not enough because only 21 percent of the people out there we’re interested in giving online on the church website and majority of people are looking elsewhere and you’re forcing them into a model that was made in the stone age and should stay in the stone age, envelopes and cash, cash, envelopes and cheques is definitely clearly here. Finally, we’ve got to study that, quantifies this, that is something that they do not want and so they are not giving at all.
So, those are just some examples of outcomes from the State of the Plate report that came out from Brian Kluth. It’s a very interesting survey. If you want to go further, you can Google it, state of the plate report and actually download the actual report. There’s a bunch of graphs and charts and things that will give you further details and nuances of the state of giving. But here I just want to end this episode with this reality of the church. This is a wake up call for us as leaders and this is one of the reasons why we started the whole resource of generosity labs, that it is time to take a look at digital giving, digital mobile text giving. All these options are something that you need to start to think about and embrace fully even before 2018 is out. Promise me this that you’re going to start to look at those options if you haven’t started already to figure out how to implement one more option for your church in the next month or two. How much more do you need than the people out there telling you in double digit majority numbers that they prefer to give a certain way. And yet you’re not embracing those types of methods. This is just something that you need to look at seriously with your leadership team and figure out, hey, is this something that we can move on and do so in a meaningful way this year so that we don’t get left behind. You definitely don’t want to be one of the, almost 60 percent of churches that are declining or have flat lined in giving.
So, we’d love to hear your thoughts about the State of the Plate report. Again, this seems to be a very good baseline comprehensive study to use as a conversation piece internally with your other pastors and leaders and even high capacity lay people of the church. So that you can start to talk about what does it mean for our church, given our size, given our constituents, given our giving practices that we typically have. What does that mean? Those are the types of things that I hope will start to be prompted in terms of questions because the opportunity and the prospects out there, if you were able to embrace digital giving is a completely different story and I’ll bring one of those stories to you shortly here on the Generosity Labs Podcast, but today it’s a wake up call, the reality of giving in the church is in decline, attendance is added decline. Giving is not consistent in their behaviors and so this is something that you need to look at because competition exists now with other regular giving opportunities. People are choosing, it’s not that they’re not giving it all and you’re just saying, hey, they’ve stingy behavior or they’re just not in a giving mood. No, they are giving, period, they are giving to 4 more other organizations or at least one other organization, 80 percent of the people who attend your church are giving to at least one other charitable organization. And so that means either they’re making the decision to split it or there’s more underlying deeper causes that we need to talk about and figure how to address and turnaround for the future.
Well, there you have it. That’s what I have for today. Again, prompted by some of the questions that had been coming up recently asking people, you know, we hear about digital giving, we hear about texting, you hear about mobile giving? But, isn’t that just all sales and marketing? Is that really what the people want? Isn’t really what the people in my church would want? Is giving them something that they would prefer as their primary method of transferring funds from their wallet to the church’s accounts for their offerings and tithes. If we made that easier, if we got rid of that friction, what would it mean for the church? Would it mean that we could be fully funded? Would it mean that we can have an overflowing offering basket at the end of the season? Those are things that I would love to see you guys struggle with. Discuss internally, hold each other accountable and start to explore what would have all the resources out there to help you make that next decision in terms of presenting giving opportunities for your people.
I’m Kenny Jahng. Thank you so much for listening to today’s episode of Generosity Labs. I would love to hear what your perspective is and what is the hangup in your progression and your journey in terms of adopting digital online text to give, mobile giving, whatever that next step is in your church. What is that obstacle? What is that question? What’s hindering you from taking the next step and not allow you to just completely blow it out and make all the options available to make it as easy as possible for your people to contribute to the mission and ministry of your church. Love for that question for you to respond in, check out our blog GenerosityLabs.Org. Do me a favor, if you are inspired or spurred on by our podcast episodes, if you would, do us a favor and smash that like button and leave us a review, an honest review on Apple iTunes. That’s gonna help get the word out to more church leaders so they can get more of our free resources to help them with this journey that we’re all going on together toward digital giving. I’m Kenny Jahng, thank you so much for joining us. Remember, be generous, stay generous.
Back in 2014, the church I was serving at had to cut one of our short-term mission budgets to the Natives we had been committed for many years. The budget cut was rather sudden so the majority of high school and college students who comprised the bulk of the group were not quite ready with the doubling of the mission registration cost. I was getting rather worried and began to wonder if people will be able to afford to join the team and serve as we had done before.
It was during the early spring of 2014 when a friend of mine just called me out of the blue. I hadn’t spoken to him for about 5 years and the day he happened to call me was the day after I found out about the short-term mission budget changes.
Just when I began to complain to God about the injustices of this sudden change, my friend called and asked me if I had any financial need. He began to tell me that he felt prompted by God to call me and give to any need I may have. I was speechless and so humbled as I was reminded by God that he knew our situation and heard my cry.
I began to share with my friend about our sudden turn of budget constraint that was placed on the team I was leading. After I shared, he simply asked me how much we needed. Just like that? I said that the price was doubled from $400 to $800, and this affected roughly about 15 people, so the total we needed was $6000. My friend wrote a check out for $6300 that very day and mailed it out right away. I got the check a few days later and submitted it to the church and we were able to provide a scholarship to those who needed the funds.
That year, we took a team of 20 people as we did annually, and we were able to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Natives we had been ministering for close to a decade. All because God had prompted a family’s heart, and this family was positioned to give generously and was heeding God’s leading in the way they can bless the church of Christ.
What was especially amazing for me from this experience was that my friend was a high school teacher. How does a person with a teacher’s salary manage to save up so much money and give so generously? And I began to think more seriously about what we needed to do to disciple our people to be positioned to give generously when prompted by God.
In order for God’s people to be positioned to give generously, a few things must have happened in their lives.
Whose is it? My friend and his wife embraced the reality that everything belonged to God and that they were temporary stewards (managers) of God’s finances.
How much do you need? They also knew what they needed to provide for their family. Because they knew what was given for their family’s need, they also knew what was given to them to give away generously.
Prioritize givingregularly. He and his wife spent less than they earned and intentionally saved for giving. I believe this is a mark of God’s people who give consistently and generously.
Seek the Master’s wishes. People who want to follow the wishes of their Master seek the Master’s input. They prayed and listened. They sought and waited to see where God might want them to give.
Obey the Master. After praying, they obeyed by responding to how they believe God had prompted them to give.
I remember sharing this amazing news to my congregation a few Sundays after the donation. A member came to me afterward. She shared how encouraged and challenged she was to see such generous and sacrificial giving.
I told her that she too can do what my friend did if she also began to live out her life as God’s steward by 1) recognizing that everything belongs to God, 2) spending less than what she earned by living with a budget, and 3) prioritizing giving.
We all want to. We have the desire to give generously to God and God’s purposes, but it is not enough to have great intentions. If we want to give generously and sacrificially to God, we have to position ourselves by managing God’s treasures wisely. That takes work and discipline like anything of value.
Dream here with me.
What could your local church do if the people of God in your church were managing finances God’s way by spending less than they earned, didn’t have any debt, and tithing and giving above and beyond with generosity? Imagine the kind of ministry you can do for your community and the world with the unique call God has placed in your local church’s heart?
I’m reminded of the parable of the talents from Matthew 25 which teaches us about the principle of stewardship. We are reminded that 1) the Master owns it all, 2) the Master gave temporary management of his treasures, 3) the Master will come to judge how we have managed.
Church, how are you discipling God’s people in this important area of managing our treasures? We do such a good job of discipling our people in time and talents, why not treasures? After all, Jesus talks quite a lot about it in the Scriptures.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Paul Jang serves as an Associate Pastor at Church Gathered and Scattered in North Haledon, New Jersey. He is also Certified Financial Coach & Church Stewardship Ministry Consultant at www.jangfinancial.com