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 the shape of leadership

Seven Ways to Maximize the Giving Moment in Your Church

The offering time should be more than an afterthought

Dean Sweetman on February 6, 2019

The conference was full. There wasn’t an empty seat in the house. Church leaders from around the world had gathered for the annual leadership meeting. After taking care of the business agenda, we began preparing to raise financial support for our church planters and missionaries. With everyone in one place, we were ready for the giving moment.

There was a level of expectation in the room. Every meeting, we raise money to support our pastors, so attendees knew what was coming.

But after the pastor responsible for taking up the offering forgot what he was raising money for and talked about an unrelated topic, we received only $1,200, which was far short of our goal. The offering during this meeting occupied just a few minutes of time, and it could have made a big difference. But it fell flat.

Likewise, the giving moment in your worship service may be fleeting, but it can have lasting — even eternal — implications. The offering is one opportunity you have every week to lead your people to receive grace from God, trust Him with their money and possessions, and participate in His work by supporting the Church.

Instead of entering the giving moment unprepared or just letting it slide by as an afterthought, here are seven ways you can maximize your church’s offering time:

1. Study Scripture

It’s hard to talk about money when you don’t feel convicted about what God says concerning generosity. To talk confidently about giving, you need a revelation from the Bible.

Don’t let your personal financial situation keep you from discovering and applying God’s truth on this topic. Like everyone in your church, you are a disciple of Christ and a work in progress. Over time, you will grow in your understanding of the importance of financial stewardship.

2. Cite Scripture

There’s one thing you cannot afford to miss during your offering: the Bible. I’m not saying you have to share a homily on giving, but, at a minimum, use Bible stories, parables, or instructional verses to remind your church of what God says about giving.

Leverage those few minutes of time you have to help your church excel in the grace of giving.

3. Share Stories

God is at work in your church. He is giving people new life in Christ. He is transforming people into the image of Jesus. He is restoring marriages, changing hearts and building His Church.

As a pastor, you have a front-row seat to God’s work in the life of your church. But most of the congregation has no idea about all the things God is doing with the resources they give.

During your offering, share stories about changed lives and ministry successes. Let people know their financial support makes it possible for the church to do the work God has called you to do.

4. Capture the Giving Moment

The time you ask people to give is what I like to call “the moment.” This moment likely comes after you’ve shared stories, made announcements, or let people know how they can give. Now you have to capture their attention and lead them to seek the Lord as they make an offering.

Here’s an example of what I’ve said in the past: “Hey, church. I want you to focus for a moment. We’re going to worship God with our money, and then I’m going to pray over the offering.”

In capturing this moment, your goal is to lead people to seek God, receive His grace, and give by faith and with joy.

5. Explain How to Give

To promote giving, you don’t need to be flashy — just informative. You may let people know they can donate with cash or check or give through your church app, online, with a text, or at a kiosk in your lobby. If your church uses a projector, consider sharing a graphic on the screen displaying the ways people can give, to reinforce what you’re saying.

6. Prepare and Practice

The offering in your church takes place every worship service. Don’t overlook this crucial time and just have a member of your staff mumble through the giving moment (or talk about something unrelated).

Redeem the giving moment by preparing what you’re going to say. Plan your stories, know what verses from the Bible you’ll quote, write down your thoughts, and get ready for your worship service.

7. Give Your Visitors a Pass

During every giving moment, acknowledge your guests and let them know that they are under no obligation to give. Taking a few moments to do this may help put visitors at ease by helping them to feel welcome and assuring them you don’t require anything from them.

Don’t be passive about the way your church handles the giving moment. Instead, leverage those few minutes of time you have to help your church excel in the grace of giving (2 Corinthians 8:7).

This article originally appeared in the January/February 2019 edition of Influence magazine.

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