It’s summer! We’re starting to break free of the pandemic. Life is good and getting better every day.
For those of you who watch church finances (and I know you are out there because I’m the chair of our church’s Finance Committee), this is typically the time of year when giving goes D.O.W.N.
It can be very scary, especially for those churches who don’t have much margin for error in their budgets.
What to do?
1. Tell your congregation’s story during worship. Summer programs. Vacation Bible School. Your food pantry. Picnics. Work parties. Adult classes. The work of your congregation doesn’t stop simply because everyone else is on vacation. You are open for business and ministry. Share the good news.
2. Let someone give their testimony. Yes, I said the scary word, “testimony.” Letting a parishioner tell their story of faith and the impact that your congregation has had on their life can be powerful. Be sure to give your person some guidelines (we all know how two minutes can turn into ten). Provide some guided questions or – maybe – interview someone about their faith journey.
3. Talk about generosity in a sermon. Why wait ‘til Stewardship Month to lay it all out on the line? Generosity is a Christian virtue and something we all need to be reminded of throughout the year…summer included.
4. Make giving easy. I know, I know. I sound like a broken record. For those of you who are part of mid-to-large sized churches on-line giving is a must – especially in the summer and post-pandemic when people may not yet be willing to worship in person. For smaller churches, make giving easy by encouraging Electronic Fund Transfers (EFT) to your church’s bank account.
5. Make the offering a spiritual experience. This goes without saying…all year long. However, things tend to take a more casual look and approach in the summer. The offering is not a transactional experience – it should be transcendent. Lift up the offering as a way to recognize that “God is the owner, we are the owers.” Pray, hum, testify. Be worshipful with the offering.
Because you and I know that giving tends to trend downward in the summer, it’s a good idea to make sure you don’t just hope against hope that things will be different this year. Take action. Be proactive. Who knows? As a result, you may be so happy that you’ll want to sing right along with Sly and the Family Stone: “Them summer days. Those summer days…Hot fun in the summertime.”
Cesie Delve Scheuermann, consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing, Oregon-Idaho AC,
Click here to subscribe to her blog: "Inspiring Generosity."
United Methodist Church Giving is about people working together to accomplish something bigger than themselves. In so doing, we effect change around the world, all in the name of Jesus Christ. To read stories about the generosity of United Methodists click here.