Archive for the 'Guest Post' Category
Today, RonnieFloyd.com welcomes guest writer, Mark Brooks. Mark is founding partner and President of The Charis Group. You can find out more about Mark and The Charis Group here.
“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!
President, The Charis Group
No one in America has written more on giving than Mark Brooks, The Stewardship Coach, writing weekly offering talks at www.Giving365.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @StewardshipMan or check out his blog at http://thecharisgroup.org/blog/.
When it comes to missions, unfortunately, many churches practice without strategy. Even scarier than not having a strategy, is not having the right strategy. There are many possible strategies, some healthy and some not. Warren Wiersbe says, “Ministry is not done by imitation but by incarnation”. (Philippians 1:6) The best strategy would obviously be a Biblical strategy, and I love using Acts 1:8 as ours for Cross Church. It says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
As a pastor, when you are setting a missions strategy, you should ask yourself, “What is God doing in and through me as pastor, and our church, to fulfill Acts 1:8?”
Here are 4 things an Acts 1:8 missions strategy can do for your church.
1. Brings focus. Pastor, don’t just throw spiritual darts at a map to select where or what your church will do in missions. It is a key responsibility of the pastor to set missional focus for your church. Use Acts 1:8 to bring that focus. Acts 1:8 does not move on tracks like a train, with whistle stops along the way in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the world. It moves like the sweeping hands of a clock, never ending, and with continuous movement. I love the thought that I can connect Jerusalem (local) missions to the ends of the world! Focus on how your missions strategy can connect local missions to the far ends of unreached peoples around the world. Begin reaching the nations in your own back yard to learn about the culture and language etc. Then you will be equipped to travel to their nation more effectively and with great focus.
2. Prioritizes the focus. Start with local missions, then move to regional, national, and international. I have said for years, at Cross Church, we will not forsake Northwest Arkansas on the altar of the world when it comes to missions. I believe we earn the right to go abroad. Pastors, let’s make sure we are getting it done in our own communities equal to our efforts abroad. It is a tragic thought to think we have thousands of churches in America that aren’t reaching and baptizing people in their own churches, but will buy plane tickets to go overseas to share the gospel.
3. Empowers the people. Jesus said, “you will be”. When we have a biblical strategy, it actually empowers people to be involved personally in your church’s missional vision. I want to see as many people as possible empowered to bring the gospel to the ends of the earth. When we communicate clear, biblical strategy, it is amazing how many people feel empowered to get personally involved. When our people are empowered missionally, they will begin to live and believe “I am Acts 1:8”.
4. Honors Jesus and the Holy Scripture. “My witnesses”. The emphasis (mine added) on MY. Wow, what a thought. I can be a witness to the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ beginning in my local community, and extending to the ends of the earth. Now, that honors Jesus and His Holy Word. There is nothing that brings more honor to Jesus and His Holy Scripture than when people are led to place their faith in Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior. When we, as believers, practice being a witness for Jesus Christ, we can almost hear a proud Father say, ”they are MY WITNESSES and wow, I am honored!”
Pastor, ask yourself these questions:
- Do I bring focus in my church’s missional strategy?
- Do I prioritize our church’s missional strategy?
- Do I empower my church members to fulfill the church’s missional strategy?
- How much honor is being brought to Jesus and the Holy Scripture through my church’s missional strategy?
I would love to help you or your church in any way I can. Feel free to contact me at email@example.com or 479-751-4523.
Minister of Global Missions, Cross Church