Churches typically teach people to give faithfully from their income. When economic times become difficult, however, church leaders may have to look for creative ways to encourage people to contribute money. Churches that rely only on money or checks dropped into the Sunday morning offering plate may fail to provide members with additional opportunities to practice church stewardship. Creative church stewardship ideas can increase contributions substantially.
Help Members Get out of Debt and Financial Trouble
Massive debt and misuse of financial means puts people in a sea of red ink, floundering with no hope of relief. Many church members don't have the means to support their own families, let alone put money in the contribution basket. Some members are simply uneducated about the stewardship of their money. The Bible does offer sound advice on handling one's personal finances. Offer financial management seminars to teach people better stewardship of their own money; this in turn may provide them with more available funds to contribute to the church.
Many churches offer members the convenience and ease of giving electronically using a credit card, debit card, direct debit or electronic funds transfer online at the church website. Because people sometimes forget their checkbook but rarely forget their cell phone, some churches even provide a way to accept contributions and donations by text message from anywhere at any time of the day or night. Churches can also use text messages to keep members informed of stewardship opportunities and send out urgent appeals for donations.
God-centered estate planning provides another creative way for members to leave a portion of their estate behind. Through estate planning, continuing contributions help provide continuing financial support for the church and ministries that still rely on that donated income. In this way, members may provide a legacy and still function as good stewards of the financial blessings that God has provided through the years. Church leaders should educate members on the positive aspects and possibilities of estate planning and stewardship.
Providing sound Biblical teaching on personal financial stewardship and planned giving remains the responsibility of church teachers and leaders. Offering one's money may serve as the most heartfelt spiritual act of worship for many church members. Provide a special time of giving each year, or on several occasions throughout each year, to allow those who see giving financially as a spiritual act of worship to contribute. Plan an event or worship service that celebrates stewardship and giving, teach about God's inexpressible generosity and allow members a way to respond with thankful and joyful hearts.