Here’s what I know, because I interact with church leaders like you on a daily basis…
You believe in your vision and mission as a church.
Here are some other things I know…
- You want to see people give at a higher level for their sake and yours.
- You really do care about the people in your church finding joy in the sacrifice of giving.
- You care deeply about God’s thoughts on money.
- You want to reach people for Jesus!
With all of that being true, here’s a VITAL thing for you to embrace…
You have to lean hard into processes, NOT programs.
Programs and shot-in-the-arm message series are great, but they do not suffice in growing people into fully devoted followers of Jesus.
We have found that when churches only use programs to spark generosity, they actually isolate people from whole-life stewardship.
Why? It becomes about needs and asks, not about a consistent attitude of stewardship.
I will say this, programs and campaigns are great ways to get people started. But very rarely do they turn people into radical follows of Jesus with their pocketbooks and bank accounts.
It takes a holistic process to truly move people into generosity.
More about that in a minute. First, I want to talk about the landscape of giving in the church.
Which Churches Are Beating Their Budgets?
We did a survey of over a thousand churches.
Our goal was to find out who was beating their budgets.
More importantly, why?
Here’s what the data showed us…
Like you, our eyes immediately went to #1. And naturally, we wanted to know what percentage of churches were accepting automatic, recurring donations.
SIMPLY PUT, 31% OF CHURCHES WERE MISSING THE #1 THING TO HELP THEM BOOST THEIR BUDGET.
That, my friends, is a problem.
Offering vs. Emphasizing
Most of the churches with great technology to receive online recurring donations, however, were still missing something.
- They weren’t talking about it.
- They weren’t making it a part of the church culture.
- They weren’t engaging passionate online givers.
Why? The list of reasons are endless, but I’ll highlight three.
- It’s difficult to know how to consistently engage people in deep generosity.
- They were saying the same stuff, week after week, year after year. It was becoming white noise.
- It was too complex.
So we went on a mission.
First, to create the most simple, intuitive, easy-to-use technology out there.
But we didn’t just want technology.
We didn’t just want programs.
We wanted a process.
A game plan that was simple.
A system that provided a potent blend of coaching, branding, and resources.
As if that wasn’t secret-sauce enough, we gave it its final ingredient.
We synced it up with the natural rhythm of your congregation.
A calendar year has cycles. If we ignore those as church leaders, we miss out on engaging our congregation. Most pastors know this when it comes to preaching, but they miss it when it comes to fundraising.
It’s called The Spark System, and it’s centered around 5 seasons and cycles of generosity.
Five Cycles Of Generosity
- Did you know that there are five cycles of generosity throughout the year?
- Did you know that you can increase giving any time during the year?
- Did you know that people respond differently at different times of the year?
When it comes to Rocket Donations, this is one of the things that makes us COMPLETELY different than the competition. Why?
BECAUSE IT SIMPLY WORKS…IN EVERY CONTEXT WE HAVE EVER WORKED IN.
He looked at me and desperately asked, “How do I increase giving in one of the worst places in the United States when it comes to unemployment? It’s near 20%!”
I looked back at him and said, “Well, that means 80% of people have jobs. And I believe in you, and the process of you helping them become fully devoted followers of Jesus.”
In that moment, he was ready to start working. We put systems and processes in place that are still working to this day.
The key to 5 Cycles Of Generosity is understanding what is already going on in culture and responding accordingly.
To illustrate, I’ll go into a little bit of detail on cycles 1 and 2 (emphasis on the phrase “a little bit”), and then briefly touch on the next three. The coaching videos that come with The Spark System provide a full and comprehensive explanation.
Cycle #1: The New Year
Opportunity: Personal Finance Ministry
When the year starts, people are thinking two big thoughts when it comes to money…
Regret & Resolutions
We’ve all been there, right? We feel the regret of our Christmas spending and resolve that this year will be different financially.
Knowing this gives you some key indicators about what you can do to help leverage what culture is already saying to people. That’s why it’s the perfect time to launch a Personal Finance Ministry and educate and help people on things like debt, spending, savings, investing, giving, thinking, etc.
One thing to note: Having a class or a curriculum is NOT a Personal Finance Ministry.
A ministry is way bigger than a class.
You must have…
- A key leader (owner)
- Clear vision
MANY CHURCHES ARE MISSING THE OPPORTUNITY TO HELP THEIR CONGREGATION IN A PLACE WHERE THEY DESPERATELY NEED IT!
Back to Granger Community Church in Indiana. They launched a Personal Finance Ministry and started to see incredible results. The giving that came from the people in this ministry…
- Increased 14% in year one
- Increased 44% in year two
The entire ministry was included in the stats (in other words, we didn’t just pick the key participants to procure data).
So we started asking them for help. Because we wanted to learn how to take what was working in their ministry and assist other churches as they got ready for the new year.
Imagine if more people in your congregation had tools, resources, coaching, and leadership that moved them towards financial health. And imagine if it wasn’t just about debt and savings—it was about their heart. Their mindset. Their view of money. Imagine if they truly understood truths like this…
Are you starting to see the power of financial cycles, and how you can leverage those to help your church?
Cycle #2: Spring
Opportunity: Increase Digital Giving
In the spring, people in your church are already preparing for vacations. That’s what culture is saying.
If people are going on vacation, their wallets and checkbooks are usually going with them!
That’s why online giving is important. But bigger than that, it’s why automated, recurring giving is a MUST!
Let’s pause here for a moment and get really honest. This is a bigger issue than just the springtime, isn’t it? You’ve probably noticed the trend. People don’t come to church every Sunday like they used to.
And when they do, most of them don’t carry cash or checks.
That’s not good news for our church budgets.
People use digital giving (credit, debit, bank) to make most of their financial transactions these days, including bill-paying. So the question you have to ask yourself is…
Have I prioritized this method of payment in my giving strategy in a way that is consistent with culture?
An even bigger (and more painful) question is…
How many donations am I missing out on because I haven’t prioritized recurring donations?
That’s why we decided, when we launched Rocket Donations, to not only give you communication pieces, campaigns, and systems that make digital giving a positive part of your church culture, BUT TO ALSO EMPHASIZE RECURRING DONATIONS.
Here’s a glimpse of what it looks like for one of your church attenders to give on our platform.
Notice the box that puts automated giving within inches of the dollar amount.
Not only will we help your budget beat the summer slump (by getting your church ready in the spring—before summer arrives), we’ll help it beat the trend towards inconsistent attendance!
Cycle #3: Summer
Opportunity: Build Relational Equity
The summer represents a time when you can engage at a deeper, more personal level with first-time givers, consistent givers, and high-capacity givers. The Spark System will show you how, and give you the tools to do it.
Here’s peak at some of the graphics we provide. You can put slides like this on your screens as people walk into your sanctuary on Sundays. Or, print them out and put them up in different parts of your church.
Why? Because again, there’s a difference between offering and emphasizing.
You HAVE to make it a part of your church culture!
Cycle #4: Fall
Opportunity: Cast Big Financial Vision
The fall is a very exciting time in the life of a church. It’s a great opportunity for you to not only cast big vision about the role of your church in the community, but also about how your your congregation can reach and help more people with their generosity.
In the midst of big, exciting vision, however, don’t forget the cold, hard facts…
The more people who make online, recurring donations = The more resources you can budget for
The more resources you can budget for = The more people you can help
Cycle #5: Holiday
Opportunity:Inspire Year-end Generosity
Statistics show that people are 25% more generous with their money at the end of the year. Here’s the truth: other people, programs, and organizations are asking for your attenders’ money this time of year. Why not connect it to something with an eternal, God-honoring purpose? Generosity is in the air. It’s a great time for you to not only get people involved in giving, but to move them towards recurring, online donations in a vision-inspired way.
We’ll provide the messaging and resources for you.
Here’s a recap of the five seasons/cycles…
Here’s the beautiful thing about understanding The Spark System’s approach to the 5 cycles:
Once you know them, you have a template for financial increase year after year.
It’s a playbook.
Many churches are scrambling for programs and campaigns simply because they do not understand the cycles of generosity.
I’m convinced that any church, from a few people to thousands, can take the process of cycles and change the culture of giving in their church right now.
Here’s the problem, however: most ministry leaders will not take the time to learn this process in a way that applies to their church.
There’s a difference between want and commitment.
Commitment means that you make a decision to learn this playbook in depth. I challenge you to invest in coaching, resources, and an online giving platform that will lead to thousands of dollars of increase in your church budget.
What are you waiting for?