"Just as we get going in worship, we have to stop and take up the offering!" That was the comment a staff member made a few years back when asked about the offering time at their church. It might not surprise you that with that attitude, giving had declined the year before at this church. That attitude permeates the Church today. To increase giving and givers, we must recognize that the offering IS worship!
If you are a pastor, how much time did you spend this week preparing for your message? When I was in seminary, we had a preaching professor that said for every minute you preached, you should spend one hour of preparation. While I know few pastors that put in that amount of time, we all prepare and pray over our message. Why? Because it is so important.
So, let me ask you. How much time and preparation have you put into this weekend's offering? Most would have to answer none or very little. Is the offering not important? If you struggle to make the budget, it suddenly becomes very important. Is not the offering a part of worship? Since it is worship, should we not put at least some thought and preparation into it?
Most offering times in churches are one of the most boring moments of the service. The typical church offering has become a routine that we rarely, if ever, put any thought or action into. Is it any wonder giving is declining? Here are some thoughts about how to break out of that rut and make your offerings inspiring and more impactful.
1. Elevate the importance of the offering first with yourself and then the entire staff. Work to change the attitude that the offering is an inconvenience, and see it as an act of worship.
2. Don't be afraid to ask people to give. Never apologize for the offering. The offering is a time of worship. We never apologize for letting people give as an act of worship.
3. Plan out every offering just like you plan out every message. Spend time every week thinking through how to best present the offering.
4. Change the format and positioning regularly. Every once in a while, do something different to break the routine.
5. Always give a stewardship message before the offering is taken up. Work to craft one-minute messages that underscore the importance of giving. Use the time the ushers come forward to make a case for the offering.
6. Utilize testimonies before the offering as a means of inspiration. Laypeople expect you to tell them to give. When one of their peers talks about giving, they listen.
7. Use creative tools like video and skits to make the offering fun. There is a host of material out there. Use it. Be creative!
8. Always be positive with every offering appeal. Guilt never works, so don't try to guilt people into giving.
9. Cast a compelling reason as to why people should give. People give to that which makes a difference. Tell them how their gift matters, and they will give.
10. Regularly tell people what their gifts have accomplished and thank them for their gifts. Blow your own horn. Link the offering to the ministries the church is doing. People give to success! People also like to be thanked. Never take your donors for granted.
I believe if you will incorporate these ten steps, your offerings will dramatically pick up. Work and plan to make your offerings anything but boring!