When I was pastoring a local church in the Atlanta area, the Christmas offering was one of the most fun things we did. I know the words “offering” and “fun” are not often used in the same sentence, but it really was a great experience.
Over the years, pastors have asked me how to do a Christmas offering. Here are my quick answers.
Why do a Christmas offering? If your church is normal, 70-80% of attenders give little or nothing throughout the year. The Christmas offering is a great way to reach these people and kickstart generosity in their lives. Unchurched people will often jump into a Christmas offering since they are already thinking about giving because of the holiday season.
Where should a Christmas offering go?
Lots of places, but I’d pick two or three targets and communicate the why behind the what. Think outside the walls of your church – maybe a local mission project, church planting, or overseas. Then look inside to maybe build margin, do some renovations, or hire a staff member.
Don’t ask people to give to generic needs – clearly communicate where the money will go once it’s given.
How much can I expect to raise?
I’ll use a baseball analogy (because I love baseball). A single would be raising an extra week’s offering. A home run would be raising an extra month’s offering. This depends on how well you communicate and God’s sovereignty (don’t you love the tension between those two things?)
What tools do I need?
You need three things. First, use a special offering envelope. You’ll want a different one than what you normally use. Second, you should make sure your website and/or kiosk is set to receive designated offerings. If you don’t do digital giving, consider using Square and an iPad to receive digital donations on offering day. Finally, wrap all of this together with a brand. Think logo, graphics and a bumper video.
What communication do I send out?
The key to a good offering is clear communication. So plan a three-pronged communication blitz to your whole church. First, decide what you’re going to say from the stage in the three weeks leading up to the offering day. Plan this out like you’d plan a message or the songs. Share the vision, talk about where the money is going, and tell stories. Second, send some snail mail to peoples homes. Be sure to include one of those offering envelopes. Finally, write a series of emails. Shoot for one a week, then at least two emails the week before the offering. All of this will work together and will help people participate.
Once more, I’ve put all of this together for you. If you can cut and paste, this will save you a bunch of time.
When do I start?
Start talking about it with key people right now. Plan to receive your offering on December 15 or December 22. In some cases, Christmas Eve might work. When it’s done, follow up with some “last chance” communication right before the end of the year.
A Christmas offering could be a fun and exciting end to the year at your church. Get graphics, communications and lots more how-to coaching in this resource.