Founder of MinistryPass.com, church leader Justin Trapp (JustinTrapp.com) provides pastors with tools and resources to craft meaningful sermons in less time. Here he shares how to make the process of giving at your church a convenient and comfortable experience, especially for people who are giving for the first time.
1. Buy a giving-themed URL. Most churches have a link on their website for donations, but it takes some time to explain to congregants how they can find it. I tried something new a few years ago, and our online giving grew from 25% to 55% of total monthly giving: I bought a domain name related to our church name and giving. Our church name is Northwood Church, so I bought NorthwoodGive.com and forwarded it to the URL for our giving page.
For the next sermon on giving, we created a simple graphic featuring NorthwoodGive.com and we mentioned it every service: “For those of you who don’t carry cash or checks, you can give at NorthwoodGive.com right there on your phone.” NorthwoodGive.com became a popular phrase in every department for event registration and sign-up payments.
2. Get automated payments. The business world has seen a surge in the last several years in monthly subscription pricing. The theory is, a business only has to “make the sale” one time with the customer. After they sign up, sales are automatic every month.
I have seen pastors try to make the sale on tithing every week. What if we promote subscription giving instead? This is one way to increase stability in your summer giving. Most people would love to be more consistent in their giving; automated payments help them do that.
3. Teach generosity in life. Being generous is not just about money or a moment. Generosity is a lifestyle. When your culture has generosity embedded in the DNA of the church, everyone benefits. Evangelism, benevolence and, yes, tithes are all beneficiaries of a giving church culture.
4. Prepare your giving talks. We have all heard the 25-minute offering sermon before the actual message. People take their money very seriously, and we should take our communication about money seriously as well. Make your talk about tithes personal, simple and efficient.
5. Share stories. A newly saved couple at our church had been attending for about six months. The husband worked two jobs to support the family, but they still fell on hard times. They sat in our service with $10 in their bank account. The wife said to her husband, “I think we should start tithing today. We don’t have any food left in the pantry, and you don’t get paid for three days. What could it hurt at this point?” So they gave $5 in the offering that morning.
When they got home, their neighbor knocked on their door and said, “When I woke up this morning, I felt like I should make you this big pot of stew. It should last you the next few days.”
Information doesn’t always move people, but stories do. As often as you can, share stories. It will inspire people to step out in faith, perhaps for the very first time.
6. Follow up with a thank you. We live in a selfie culture that likes to ask for things but doesn’t always remember to express gratitude. Saying thank you goes a long way in making givers at your church feel valued.