The sample of the research I am about to share is very small. So small that this would definitely not be considered an appropriate enough research sample to make wide, sweeping claims. But the observation really got my attention; I place it in the amazing category.
When I served as executive pastor, I was plugged into an executive pastors network with a group of 30 guys who got together once a year. We were meeting in April 2008 just as the financial recession seemed to be impacting churches.
Someone asked how many of the churches were currently meeting budget. Seven hands went up. Seven out of 30 churches were meeting budget.
Several moments later, someone asked how many of the churches have senior or teaching pastors spend 1-2 minutes at the offering time in the service challenging the church to give. The question was not about heavy-handed pleas that happen occasionally with giving thermometers or special pens but about weekly, brief challenges that remind people about the discipline, blessing, or vision of giving.
Eight hands shot up.
Someone smarter than me said, “Hold on a second. Please keep your hands up. Are you the same guys who are at churches that are meeting budget?”
Only one of the hands went down. Wow. Here was the picture. Eight of the 30 churches taught or celebrated giving in small ways every single week. And 7 of those churches were meeting budget.
If you were a stats person, it would break down like this (again, I know it is a small sample): 88% of the churches that mentioned giving every week were meeting budget. And 0% of the churches that did not mention giving every week were meeting budget.
Consider weaving generosity into the fabric of your worship services rather than waiting for the annual “giving series.”