Five Tips For Making Your Church Offering Time Better

Five Tips For Making Your Church Offering Time Better

Aaron Buer

Digital giving apps and tools

For years, I’ve felt very comfortable on stage whether speaking, singing or preaching.

However there has always been one thing that made me, well...awkward on stage.

The offering.

Maybe you can relate. It can feel weird to ask for money.

In many churches, it feels like,

“Well now we’re going to do that thing that is really weird and uncomfortable so everyone just look at the floor while I make you feel guilty.”

In the last few years, I’ve totally changed my opinion about inviting people to give.

Maybe it’s because I’m more involved in a wider scope of church leadership.

Maybe it’s because I’ve seen how living generously is simply a better way to live.

Maybe it’s because I’ve seen the good that money can do in the church.

Whatever it is, I’ve embraced the awkward and I have some thoughts on making your church’s offering time less weird and more effective.

So, here we go: Five tips for making your offering time better.

1. Plan and Practice

Sometimes, it’s good to wing it. Some of us are great at being spontaneous.

Here’s the thing: Inviting people to give financially during your church service isn’t one of those times.

This is one of those times to carefully craft your words and practice them.

If you are an executive level leader, or someone who plans services in your church, one of the smartest things you can do is craft strategic language around giving for the people who give announcements in your church services.

Don’t leave them to wing it. Guide them.

If you are someone who gives the announcements and invites people to give, I would highly encourage you to practice your wording so that you can be sure that your tone and language is positive, inspiring and inviting.

I host services on a regular basis and my preparation usually involves 4 steps:

  • Carefully read the plan (we use Planning Center Online for this)
  • Write what I plan to say for the welcome, announcements and offering
  • Verbally practice - when I was new to the role, I would do this a lot. (Now, I practice once or twice while driving to church)
  • Cue-to-Cue. If you want to get dead serious about clear communication, I would suggest doing a full run through of your service. Before our Saturday night service and the first Sunday morning service, we do a full cue-to-cue from opening song to the sermon title package.
  • The point is, if you want your offering time to be meaningful, inspiring and not awkward, you probably need to plan it and practice it.

    2. Speak To Guests

    People who grew up in church are usually comfortable with the idea of giving money to a church.

    People who didn’t grow up in church are often uncomfortable with the idea.

    Maybe it’s those phony televangelists' fault, I don’t know, but whatever the reason, there is wisdom in speaking directly to guests about giving.

    I usually say something like this:

    As the baskets pass, if you are a guest with us today, please let them go right on by. You’re obviously welcome to give but please know there is no expectation.

    It might sound strange, but I’ve actually talked with people who later became regular attenders of our church who pointed back to that moment as a critical moment in their journey of trusting our church.

    If you want to make your offering time less awkward, say something quick to guests and let them know they are off the hook.

    3. Thank People Who Are Regularly Generous

    There is also wisdom in speaking directly to those who are doing what you hope everyone is doing - giving generously and giving regularly.

    I usually say something like this:

    ...and those of you who give faithfully to our church. I just want to thank you. I hope you know how important your giving is to what God is doing here in our church, in our city and across the globe through the different ministries we are able to partner with through your financial generosity. Thank you so much.

    This is an opportunity to do two things.

    First, saying thank you is important.

    Second, you are reinforcing the goal.

    Don’t just thank people who randomly gave something. Recognize and thank the people who give regularly.

    I tend to vary my wording from week to week to emphasize the point.

  • Those of you who give regularly...
  • Those of you who set aside money every week...
  • Those of you who systematically give...
  • The wording is strategic.

    If you want your offering time to be more meaningful and impactful, thank the people while emphasizing the desired giving behavior.

    4. Connect Giving To Ministry

    In sharing announcements and leading the offering time in a church service, transitions should be strategic. Often, we just bumble through them.

    One more announcement to share…
    The second thing I want to share with you...

    There is a huge opportunity to connect the announcements with the time of offering by talking about how giving is connected to ministry.

    For example, let’s say you are highlighting your children’s ministry.

    As the baskets are passing today, I just need you to know that your giving has a huge impact on ministry here in our church. Our children’s ministry is such a great place for our kids to grow in their faith and it’s your generosity that makes it all happen.

    Or, if the first announcement in the service is about a ministry you are partnering with in your city, use that ministry as a lead into your time of giving.

    As we transition into our time of giving, I just wanted to let you know that it’s through your generosity that we’re able to support ministries like the one we just highlighted.

    However you go about it, the point is to connect financial giving with actual ministry. One simple way to do this is through transitions in the announcement time.

    5. Invite People To Give Online

    It would be difficult for me to overstate how big of an impact online giving has had in our church.

    Here’s one quick example: For years and years, our giving went way down during the summer months because our church is in Michigan and we have this thing where everyone disappears during the weekends to their cottages “up north” during the summer months.

    For our church, this translated into low giving numbers in June, July and August. We’d have to play catch up for the rest of the year.

    Now, with close to 50% of our people giving online through automatic payments, our giving stays strong through the summer.

    And, it’s not just about the budget.

    I think you would agree that most church attenders desire to give and are often disappointed when they receive their giving statement at the end of the year and realize they didn’t give as much as they hoped.

    Online giving, because it is automated, helps people stay consistent.

    It truly is a gift to the church.

    Here’s the point: You should highlight online giving and/or text giving almost every time you pass the plates/buckets/baskets or whatever you use.

    Wrap Up

    Well, there you go.

    Hopefully these ideas help bring down the "awkward tension" around your time of giving and give you some ideas for making that time more meaningful and impactful.

    We’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas on this subject. Feel free to leave a comment below.

    (And if you're interested in learning more about Breeze's Online Giving capabilities, check out the video here!)

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