An odd thing happens in January. Church attendance increases, but giving actually drops. Why?
Because while many people in your congregation bought presents in December, they’re just now starting to pay for them. We like to call this yearly phenomenon the Christmas debt hangover. The most popular Bible passage concerning debt is probably Proverbs 22:7 where it states “the borrower is slave to the lender.” That sentiment definitely rings true when the credit card statements start rolling in.
But, while it can be a stressful time, it’s also the perfect opportunity to talk about debt and help people unburden themselves from the damage they did in December.
Here are some key steps to implement this month to help your congregation recover from a debt hangover:
1. Teach practical financial management skills. If people are broke, they can’t be generous givers and give consistently. Teach the importance of giving, saving, and spending with a plan.
2. Offer classes on budgeting, debt elimination, saving for the future, investing, and planning. For this to actually work though, you’ll need three things:
- a leader
- a system
- a curriculum
The blind can’t lead the blind so it’s best if the person leading the course is actually financially healthy themselves and have gone through the material before. Courses like Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University or Crown Financial Ministries are great resources for your church.
Consistency is key for this to work. Make sure the group has a regular place and time they meet.
3. Provide one-on-one financial counseling. Most people in your church and community struggle financially because of a lack of education and/or discipline. Pair people who are struggling with their finances with those who’ve won with their finances.
This provides accountability and guidance.
4. Connect the principles of giving, saving, and spending with the vision of your church. This shows your congregation how their obedience in managing their personal finances will allow God’s vision for your church to be funded.
When people are helped in such a practical way as free financial coaching, it provides opportunities to point them to Christ, and experience the joy of giving.