Several years ago, I committed myself to teach all of God's Word, including giving. In the years since, I have seen God work in our church in amazing ways, and he has brought our people to new levels of maturity. Here are 10 principles I've learned about growing givers:
- Plan ahead. The biggest reason capital stewardship campaigns increase offerings by more than 50 percent is not the new building, but the church's thoughtful strategy. Churches can attain similar results every year without a building project. In my first church, when I implemented a thorough plan, offerings increased by more than 20 percent in one year.
- Emphasize discipleship. God has supplied human resources, divine resources (such as prayer), and physical resources (such as buildings and money). How we develop each of these determines the success of our ministries. Effective resource development is not a money grab. It has a spiritual foundation that makes discipleship its primary goal. The key to resource development is growth in people.
- Bathe it in prayer. Without prayer, a financial program loses its spiritual foundation. We begin our stewardship focus with a call to prayer. We hold special prayer times and conduct a 24-hour prayer service.
- Identify specific goals. Early in the budget process, we ask all leaders to make a wish list of new ministries or purchases for their area. We do not allow people to designate their giving to these projects, though, because that would undermine giving to our general budget. Instead, we say if our total offerings exceed the budget, we will undertake wish-list items.