Our Church’s Giving Increased 33%…Here’s Why

I recently became lead pastor at a great church in London, Ontario, West Park Church. It has a rich tradition, great people, is located in a fast growing area, and has a killer facility. When I arrived we faced a significant budget deficit. We erased our deficit with a special offering around Christmas. However, during the first three months of this year we fell behind again. We then intentionally addressed our declining finances by taking several intentional steps. As a result, the last six weeks our average weekly giving has increased over 33%. Here’s what we did that I believed is positively impacting our giving.

generosity road sign illustration design
  1. I taught a 4-part series on generosity using the concepts in The Treasure Principle written by Randy Alcorn.
  2. We sold the book and encouraged the entire church to read it.
  3. Several of our small groups studied the series. It’s a great 4-week series in DVD format.
  4. We held what we called a “Tithe Demonstration Day” where we encouraged everyone in the church to tithe off one week’s salary. Here’s the bulletin insert we used: Tithe Day Insert 2014.
  5. I moved the offering to the end of the service. I also added a short comment about giving at that time and I often will put a face on giving by showing a picture of some ministry and tying the church’s giving to that tangible ministry. This move also made the offering time less of an afterthought.
  6. We added a challenge after the tithe demo day called the “90 Day Challenge” where I challenged everyone to take another step toward giving during the next 90 days. I even promised that if someone took the next step in that challenge and after 90 days felt it wasn’t worth it, I’d take them out to a steak dinner. Here’s the insert we used: 90 Day Giving Challenge.

I realize that six weeks doesn’t guarantee a permanent trend, but I sense that God is doing a work in our church in the area of generosity.

What has helped your church become more generous?

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This Sermon got the Most Positive Comments ever-and it was on Tithing!

I moved to Canada about five months ago to pastor West Park Church in London, Ontario. I’m enjoying living and serving in Canada. Early on I realized that I needed to teach on generosity. So, last week I brought a message on tithing, the fourth in a series on generosity. I don’t think I’ve every delivered a message that elicited so many positive comments as did this one. So, if you teach on giving, I hope this message will help. I’ve included a short outline below as well as a link to the full text of the sermon. The manuscript doesn’t reflect perfect grammar, but I hope you find it useful.

tithe

Tithing sermon outline:

Title: Tithing..say what?

Introduction: give caveat about pastors talking about money.

Main scripture: Malachi 1, 3

Review main points of prior sermons on generosity.

Big idea: you can grow a heart of generosity by making these four choices

  1. Assess your current giving level: the 7 kinds of givers
    1. $0 givers
    2. impulse givers
    3. cash givers
    4. percentage givers
    5. tithers
    6. tithe plus givers
    7. living cap givers
  2. Understand the real meaning of tithing.
    1. Deal with the objection that tithing is Old Testament
  3. Create a realistic giving plan. (1 Cor 16.2)
    1. systematic
    2. personal
    3. proportional
  4. Start somewhere. Where you start will not be where you want to end up.
    • cautions: don’t wait until you can afford it
    • don’t wait until you are dead
    • don’t wait until you have more money
    • don’t wait until you can fully think it through.

Challenge to join next week’s tithe demo day.

Here’s the link to the pdf: tithing by Charles Stone 2014 for blog

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Tithing: a Simple and Effective Way to Encourage it

I believe every pastor should help his church grow in generosity. One tool I’ve used for many years is called a “Tithe Demonstration Day.” It’s essentially setting aside one Sunday each year, usually in a stewardship sermon series, when we challenge every person in the church to tithe, give 10% of one week’s income. It’s always the highest giving Sunday of the year. And weekly giving usually increases after that Sunday as well.

I’ve included below the text of a bulletin insert we’ve used that simply explains it. We called this one the “7-30-90″ plan because we encouraged not only tithing for one week, but continued tithing/increased giving for 30 or 90 days. Most people who build a habit over 90 days make it permanent.

If you schedule a Tithe Demo day, consider these pointers first.

Tithing:f a simple and effective way to encourage it Dr. Charles Stone

  • Promote it well through all your promotion channels. Start a month prior.
  • Use a tithing testimony the week prior.
  • Mail a reminder the week prior in addition to sending an email reminder.
  • Create a special envelope for that Sunday.
  • Have your church tithe 10% of the offering given on Tithe Demo day to some ministry outside the church. Be sure to promote this well. This models for the people that your church will also tithe.
  • If you are the senior pastor, share your commitment about giving.
  • Report the results the week after. Make it a big celebration.
  • Include some sort of continued giving commitment that you are comfortable with, as the insert does.
  • Ideally, teach a four-week series on generosity and schedule Tithe Demo day on the fourth week. If you don’t do a full series, preach on giving two weeks prior.

Here’s the text of the insert we used. Use it any way that helps.


The 7-30-90 Generosity Plan

If you consider (church name) your church home, would you prayerfully consider accepting the “7-30-90 and beyond” challenge?

Recently Pastor Charles challenged those who don’t yet tithe to trust God to enable them to begin tithing in a step-wise fashion. He also challenged those who do tithe not to view tithing as a ceiling, but a foundation upon which to become a “beyond” giver.

God’s Word teaches that Christ followers should generously give back to Jesus their time, talents, and treasures. A tithe serves as a monetary ‘benchmark’ for systematic, proportionate giving. The word “tithe” is a mathematical term that means “a tenth or 1/10.” It means giving 10% of your income back to the Lord (Malachi 3:10).

The “7-30-90 and beyond” challenge is a three-step faith venture.

Step 1: tithe (give 10% of a week’s income) on Sunday, (date) on our all church Tithe Demonstration Day* (details below)

Step 2: after taking that first step continue to trust God and tithe your income through the entire month of March

Step 3: continue your faith journey and trust Him to enable you to continue tithing for three months (March-May)

Tithing example: If you make $52,000 per year and divide that by 52 weeks, your weekly income is $1,000/week. $1,000 weekly income x 10% = $100. A weekly tithe would be $100.

Note: Because of your financial situation, you may need to modify Steps 2 and 3 by increasing your giving over a longer time period so that by year’s end you can tithe regularly.

After three months of faithfulness, tithing will become a regular part of your financial plan.

If you now tithe, consider the ‘beyond’ part of the challenge an opportunity to review your giving and consider giving beyond a tithe.

(the back side of the bulletin insert is below)


TITHE DEMONSTRATION SUNDAY – SUNDAY, (date)

WHAT IS TITHE DEMONSTRATION SUNDAY?

It is an invitation for everyone who calls (church name) their church home to give one week’s tithe on this Sunday (10% of gross household weekly income). The purpose is to demonstrate what our potential could be if every household in our church family tithed.

WHAT IF I WON’T BE IN CHURCH on (date)?

If you can’t attend church on (date), please use one of these three options: (a) Mail in your tithe so it will arrive prior to Sunday, (date); (b) Drop your tithe off at the church office; (c) Send it with a friend; (d) use our online electronic funds transfer option (go to…your website… for instructions).

WHAT IF I’M ALREADY TITHING?

Thank you for your faithfulness. If you give on a monthly or biweekly basis, please adjust your giving schedule to participate in this church offering for this one Sunday.

WHAT IF I FEEL ABSOLUTELY UNABLE TO TITHE?

We ask that you give consistently as God leads you. If you feel absolutely unable to tithe, check your heart and God’s Word and make sure it is consistent with His leading.

On that day our church will tithe that day’s offering. We will be giving 10% to (ministry).


“I just learned a simple way to encourage tithing in my church.”(Tweet this quote).


How have you helped increase your church’s generosity?


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Titherosity: Motivating others to Become More Generous

Every Every pastor must deal with the money issue in his or her church. I stumbled upon a simple way that inspired our church to give more generously than it ever did.

Two years ago in January our offerings were tanking. For some reason January giving seems to always drop. My unscientific analysis tells me that  this happens when the credit card bills come due, people realize how much they overspent for Christmas and temporarily cut back their giving.

Two years ago I woke up in the middle of the night almost in a panic about our financial picture. As I wrestled with what to do, I felt God challenge my worry with this thought. “Charles do you believe I will take care of your church? In this time of need, why not challenge the church to give more?”

I couldn’t believe what I was sensing. I argued with God and pled, “God, we don’t need to GIVE more, we need to GET more.” Well, my arguing, like Job’s, didn’t convince God otherwise. So over the next several days I crafted a plan to challenge the church to become more generous.

In doing so I made up the word ‘titherosity’ by combining the word ‘tithe’ with the word ‘generosity.’ Here was our plan. We would act upon the principle from Scripture that states, “Give and it will be given to you.” (Luke 6.38) For four straight weeks we would give away 10% of each Sunday’s offering to a specific missional need outside our church.

It didn’t seem prundent since we were in such dire financial straits. My emotions said it was a dumb idea, but faith said it was the right idea. So, for those next four Sundays we put a compassionate face on this 10% by committing to give all of the 10% to a Christian organization called Feed My Starving Children that feeds hundreds of thousands of kids each year.

We held our breath, prayed, communicated effectively and our offerings for those four weeks jumped 40%. We couldn’t believe it. I guess the Bible really is true, huh?

Since then we have done this four other times with percentages of 15% and 25%. Each time the church’s giving has skyrocketed.

In the subsequent titherosity offerings, we’ve given to such needs as the local food bank, relief for victims of floods in Iowa, and most recently relief help for a Christian organization in Haiti called Love a Child.

Here’s the key: we tie the special giving to a specific ministry need upon which we put a face of compassion in the name of Christ.

It has been quite remarkable how God has used this step of faith in the hearts of our people. Even after we took that percentage off the top, we still have met and exceeded our weekly budget needs.

What has your church done to stretch your church’s generosity?

A great resource for pastors on increasing generosity is an organization called Generous Giving.