For years, I sat on the side lines, watching my son be coached on baseball and soccer fields, basketball courts and hockey arenas. With all that instruction, you would think I would have absorbed how to play at least one of those sports. However, I am no better an athlete now then I was then. Yet, in listening to all those coaches, I did pick up something that I have been able to apply over and over in life: Great players and coaches always emphasize fundamentals. The foundation of everything they do comes from knowing the basics, reviewing them often and then building off them.

The same is true for generating giving in the church.  Pastors and church leadership that know the basics, review the basics often and build on them find long-term success in getting their annual budgets funded, their building debts paid off and their special offerings fueled. It becomes a way of life. A culture.

While there are a variety of ways to generate giving, here are three basics/foundations to implement, review often, and use as the platform to build your stewardship strategies:

  1. Have a vision for your church. When it comes to giving, most people don’t give to a place, they give to a vision. For the church, that vision is tied to mission. How do you see your church living out the mission of your church? When pastors and their teams spend time thinking about, praying over and talking about their vision it fuels the ministry. Doing this as a team, the vision grows exponentially. As this happens, remember, where there is vision and ministry, money will follow.
  2. Communicate the vision and communicate it often! It helps to have a variety of communication platforms: Weekly e-notes, videos, gatherings and meetings (whether that is in person or virtually), one-on-one conversations, sermons, testimonies, and special worship moments.   Whenever possible, illustrate the vision through stories and pictures that show how the church is living out the vision. It’s all about showing how the church is impacting people’s lives. Another key is to not only tell people about what’s coming up, but also recap events that have happened in the life of the church.  And don’t forget, shining a light on the little moments will bring about big moments of connection.  The more people know about what is going on in the life of their church the more opportunities they have to see the church’s vision at work. It’s also helpful to use many voices to communicate! Infuse and equip your staff and leadership to be communicators as well.
  3. Always be building relationships.  When pastors and church leadership build relationships with people, it builds trust in the vision.  While leading a church in the time of Coronavirus can make this feel like an impossible task, it really isn’t. In fact, this is a season when connecting with people is more treasured than ever. All it takes is setting aside a few hours a week to make phone calls or write personal notes. Neither need to be long. They just need to be a point of connection. Asking about someone’s kids, checking in on how their work is going, finding out about their favorite sports team or food, or simply listening goes a long way. What if you get their voicemail? Leave a message. It’s the same way with a handwritten note—it speaks volumes saying you were thinking of them and took the time to connect. It’s the ideal platform to keep building on!

The thought of doing everything I just suggested may feel daunting. Just remember that when the pastor and church leadership do some of these things as a team, it works the best.  Also, start by simply picking just one or two of the things I’ve suggested today and try it. Keep trying it. Get better at it. Then, when you feel you’ve made some headway, add another. Repeat. After all, that’s what I heard coaches tell players to do with their own skills. Eventually, it’s that kind of practice that breeds success!