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Ed Young is breaking new ground again.

No… it’s not another sexperiment. (Thankfully.  That last one was out of sight!)

(I do want to take a break here and thank Ed for allowing me the ability to write the best headline of my life)

And it’s not the Kingdom Kit. (aka ‘murse’). Again, thankfully.

This time, Ed is introducing the 90 day challenge on tithing. While he’s not the first to do so, he’s getting a lot of attention because he’s Ed Young.

Here’s the promise:  ”If you tithe for 90 days and God doesn’t hold true to his promise of blessings, we will refund 100% of your tithe.”

I’ve not heard how this has gone at a couple of other big churches that have tried it.  Did they return anyone’s money?

What do you think?  Good idea?  Bad idea?

My initial thoughts… much better than the Kingdom Kit; not as sexy as the sexperiment.

Would love to hear your thoughts.

Todd

One way to evaluate the financial integrity of your church

Are you ready for this?  One word.  Audit.

When was the last time your church did an external audit?

True, it’s expensive.

But it’s necessary.

It’s the one way to be absolutely, independently sure that your church has the highest form of financial integrity and accountability.

When was the last time your church did an audit?

Here’s more information…

What declining check writing means for your church

Mark Brooks from The Charis Group writes about how the shift from writing checks to electronic payments will eventually impact your church in a great way:

As your congregation gets younger by attrition, you’ll see check-writing become more infrequently used. If we don’t change our process for collecting the offering, we’ll see our offerings decline!

The reason is simple: The harder we make it for people to give, the less likely they are to do so. If our only means of collection remains the traditional offering plate, people will put in the few dollars they have on their person. The percentage of what you collect will decline, if it hasn’t already.

The Bible teaches us that we must give; it doesn’t say how. The offering plate came into wide acceptance in the U.S. only in the late 1800s to early 1900s. It’s not the 11th commandment that gifts be put in a basket or plate.

The offering plate is a tool. It will remain, for some time, an effective tool for collecting gifts. However, if it’s your only tool, and the demise of paper checks continues, then you’re in trouble.

Smart churches provide multiple ways for people to give, thus increasing their ability to receive funds. Since check-writing is in decline, isn’t it time you offered online giving?

Read more here…

Thoughts?

Todd

What if your church was THIS generous?

Does being generous spur more generosity?

It would appear so.  From the Huffington Post:

A donut shop in Amesbury, Mass., witnessed an incredible string of customers “paying it forward” — and forward, and forward, and forward.

A total of 55 customers came through Heav’nly Donuts’ drive-thru on Saturday offering to pay the bill of the person behind them, CBS Boston affiliate WBZ reported.

The chain of generosity began after a stranger paid for Eileen Taylor’s drink on Friday. When she went back the next day committed to do the same for someone else, she started a trend.

“After that it was like, oh we’re three cars deep, four cars deep, and after about the 15th car I started letting the customers know, ‘Hey, we’re 17 cars in, you can either keep it going or you can take your coffee and go. Either way it’s your choice,’” a Heav’nly Donuts clerk told the station.

Wendy Clement, the shop’s manager, told the Christian Post that the chain eventually ended an hour and a half later -– but only because no one else was in line.

“It was fantastic,” Clement added. “The generosity was unbelievable.”

Read more here…

QUESTION:  What if YOUR CHURCH spurred this kind of generosity in your community?

QUESTION:  Leadership starts at the top.  Your church will only become as generous as your leaders.  How generous are you?

What’s the most generous thing you’ve ever seen a church do?

Todd

Financial Facts of your church: It’s time to face the music

Margaret Marcuson thinks it’s time for you to face the financial facts in your church.  Do you know the following basic information about how people give in your church?

  • What are the trends in giving and expenses?
  • What is the giving pyramid – how many givers do you have at successive giving levels?
  • What is the pace of income through the year – what percentage comes in during December each year?
  • What percentage of income goes to ministries outside your congregation?

She offers seven tips to dealing and working with these facts:

  1. Be as open as possible.
  2. Even difficult facts, calmly presented by leadership with the message, “We can handle this,” help calm people down.
  3. Be patient – in some churches it may take several years to get good reports.
  4. Present financial information in visual and/or story form. Most people fade out when pages of numbers are presented.
  5. Don’t try to convince people things are better than they think (the cheerleader approach). Simply state your own view.
  6. Don’t try to convince people things are worse than they think (the Chicken Little approach).
  7. Overcommunicate. Remember that anxiety is like static – it makes it hard for people to receive information. This may be especially true of financial information.

You can read more here…

Thoughts?

Agree?  Disagree?

Anything you’d add?

Did you/do you know all the financial facts about your church, or do you need to do some digging to find the answers?

Todd

Pastor: If you’re not talking about money… you are not doing your job.

Mark Brooks writes:

If you have not established a culture of generosity at your church you will never raise significant dollars!

If you cannot raise significant dollars you will be hampered in terms of the amount of ministry and missions your church accomplishes.

If you don’t have a solid base of missions and ministry you are dying as a church.

If you are dying as a church you are not fulfilling God’s call to ministry.

From 1968 to 2010 the amount of money Americans gave to the church of their incomes fell from 3.11% to 2.4%. That represents BILLIONS of dollars a year lost for Kingdom purposes.

One reason for this decline is that we have given up the high ground when it comes to stewardship. Churches rarely teach about it. Preachers seldom preach on it. Most churches spend more time before the offering is taken up telling guest how they don’t have to give than explaining why giving is important. Is it any wonder that giving is declining?

We pass around a plate, bucket or bag for collecting money in a society that no longer carries significant amounts of cash on them and hardly ever has a check book. The Church has become disconnected to how commerce is done in American and this also increases the decline in giving. The harder we make it for donors to give the less they give.

Read more here…

QUESTION:  How much do YOU talk about money at YOUR church?  Should you be more intentional in creating a culture of generosity?

Todd

What would your church do with MORE money?

Thom Rainer asked post pastors and congregants “If your church budget receipts were to increase tomorrow by 50 percent, what would you like to do with the extra funds?”.

Here are the answers he got from his informal survey:

Pastors & Other Paid Ministers

Laypersons

  1. Missions beyond our community
  2. Ministry in and to our community
  3. Start new churches or campuses
  4. Upgrade existing buildings
  5. Pay down debt
  6. New building
  7. Upgrade sound and lighting
  8. Increase pay of existing staff
  9. Add staff
  10. Increase social media presence
  1. Add staff
  2. Missions beyond our community
  3. New building
  4. Upgrade existing building
  5. More and better program materials
  6. Increase cash reserves
  7. Pay down debt
  8. Ministry in and to our community
  9. New church vehicles
  10. Upgrade sound and lighting

What does this tell you about the mindsets and priorities of these two different sets of people?

What does it say about how you communicate your vision and mission of your church and what things are important?

What can YOU learn from this list?

What are your first impressions and thoughts?  Would love to hear them in a comment!

Read Thom’s observations here.

Todd

The decline of checks and how it affects your church…

Do you use checks?

Do you even know where your checkbook is? (I don’t)

Studies suggest that check writing is in rapid decline as people have begun to use them only for large purchases. Mark Brooks shares these stats:

  • Paper check usage declined from 61% of all payments in 2000 to just 26% by 2010.
  • In 2011, the number of checks processed by the Federal Reserve fell at its steepest rate yet, down 17, a third of the volume processed 20 years ago.
  • The average check size has approximately doubled, rising from an average of $879 in 2001 to $1,460 in 2011, as many smaller-value payments are transacted with debit cards or have been automated.
  • Reserve Banks estimate that check volumes will have declined another 14 percent in 2012, to about 5.5 billion items.

So how does this affect your church? If nothing else it needs to serve as a wake up call to those churches not engaged in electronic giving.

How does YOUR church handle electronic giving?

How rich are you?

I came across this interesting site.

If you put in your annual salary, it will show you how you rate compared to everyone else in the world.

It’s pretty interesting… and makes you do a little soul searching.

Turns out that if you make around $50,000 a year (or a little less) you are still in the worlds top 1% of earners.

That’s pretty amazing… and something we don’t consider much here in the States.

The site was created by a London interactive media company to ‘challenge people’s perception of their personal wealth”.  They are also hoping to encourage people to be generous with their wealth through online giving to causes.

How did you fare?  Does this type of thing change your perspective as you go through your day at all?

Todd

 

Are tithers better off financially?

According to a new StateofthePlate.info research study, tithers are actually better off than non-tithers.

Take a look at this graphic.

stateofplate

What are your thoughts?

Find out more here…

Todd

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