By Brian Kluth
#1 -Personal giving testimonies
Before the offering is collected, have an individual or a couple give a personal testimony about how the Lord has taught them to give 10 percent or more to the Lord’s work as their first and highest financial priority. Have them also briefly explain how they’ve felt about this decision and how the Lord has blessed them for their obedience. Some churches with video equipment have done these as taped interviews and then played them during the service.
#2 – Outside teaching resources that will teach Christians to manage their finances
Use teaching materials from one of the following sources: Crown Financial Ministries (1 -800-722-1976 www.crown.org) has excellent materials for small group financial Bible studies, Sunday school classes, or seminars for all ages.
#3 – Annual financial or whole life stewardship sermon series
Pastor John Maxwell has taught thousands of pastors biblical stewardship principles at conferences. He says teaching an annual four-message stewardship series is the single most important thing he does every year to help people grow in their spiritual and financial life. He has done this every year for 20 years.
Only one of the four messages he gives specifically deals with giving money. Over the years, some of the month-long themes included: “God’s Challenge, Our Choice,” “Taking the Stew Out of Stewardship.” “The ABC’s of Stewardship,” and “It’s a Matter of Trust.”
Be sure to try and use real-life illustrations in your sermons. Tell people how the Lord has creatively provided for you and/or others you know who faithfully honored the Lord in their giving. When you teach from the head it goes to the head, but when you teach from a life it goes to a life.
#4 – Designated giving
Allow people to give designated “over-and-above-regular-gifts” to a building project, mission’s offering or annual faith promise, renovations, or special needs. These seldom affect regular giving.
#5 Money-back guarantee
Have your church’s leadership approve a money back guarantee for first-time tithers. When John Maxwell was pasturing, he would do this once a year. Following the month-long stewardship preaching series, they ask regular givers to turn in a card saying they will tithe the next year. They ask non-tither and new people to sign a card saying they will begin to tithe. The church offers a full money back guarantee to anyone who tithes for 90 days and then regrets this decision.
#6 – All-church tithing Sunday Challenge everyone in advance to bring a full 10 percent of their income as an offering to church on a designated Sunday. A second option is to have people write on a card (without indicating their name) how much their tithe “would be” if they gave 10 percent of their annual household income to the chute Tally this information and report the totals back to the congregation. People will be amazed to discover that if they faithfully gave 10 percent of their income to the Lord’s work in their local church, that they could expand the church budget two to four times for missions, staff, regular operations, and building/renovation projects.
#7 – Pre-offering Bible verse, comments and offertory prayer by a church leader
I attended one church where a church leader or lay person would read an appropriate Scripture verse of finances, stewardship or giving before the offering, make a few personal comments about why it was meaningful to him and then pray for the morning offering. Give leaders a copy of my Internet handout (100 verses to encourage generosity) and try this in your own church.
#8 – Effective use of your church’s giving records
Put biblical reasons “why to give” to the Lord on the bottom or back of your giving records. Send out quarterly giving record reports to your congregation with a financial newsletter. Encourage your congregation concerning the value and importance of their faithful giving.
#9 – Outside stewardship speaker
Bring in an experienced stewardship speaker to speak to your congregation. An outside speaker can clearly teach God’s Word on Christian giving without fear or timidity.
#10 – Start a Christian financial counseling ministry
Have a lay person in your church begin a Christian financial counseling ministry to help families in trouble. As families begin to get their finances in order, they’ll begin to faithfully give to the Lord’s work. I have seen churches that have used just three or four of these ideas increase their giving 10 percent to 25 percent or more.
Brian Kluth is a national and international speaker and writer on Biblical generosity and financial matters. He is also a church pastor and the founder of MAXIMUM Generosity, a public ministry dedicated to advancing Biblical generosity through inspirational preaching, leadership training seminars, writing, resources and the media. Brian’s written materials have been distributed to more than 350, 000 Christian leaders in more than 100 countries. For additional materials or to contact Brian, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit: www.kluth.org.