Are you currently friends with someone who had a bad first impression of you when you first met?  After your friendship progressed to the “honest” stage, he or she came clean with their initial thoughts of you:

  • “When I first met you, I didn’t like you.”
  • “I thought you were fake.”
  • “You acted like an idiot.”

What changed?  How did you cross the divide from “I didn’t like you” to “We’re friends” in their eyes?  Simple—they got to know you.  They saw what you’re really like.  Time and conversation allowed you to dispel those negative first impressions.

Did you know that people have all kinds of negative first impressions of preachers?  Maybe TV is to blame.

There are lots of “Christian” stations on TV these days.  Flip through those stations at any given time, and you’ll find at least half of them airing preachers in the process of asking for money.  There’s nothing wrong with those channels.  And there’s certainly nothing wrong with asking for money (check last week’s article!).  But when I observe a TV preacher asking me to give, I’m ashamed to admit that I start making some pretty strong mental accusations:

  • “This guy’s just money hungry.”
  • “They’re all out to get rich.”
  • “He’s probably a con artist.”

 I realize that’s hyper-cynical (and unfair).  But I, like most people, have read enough articles about TV preachers being investigated or arrested to make me more than just mildly suspicious.

That being said, many people who walk through the doors of your church are skeptical like me.  They don’t trust preachers automatically.  In fact, they may be lumping you in with the guy from TV who just got incarcerated!

Those people don’t need stronger finance sermons or invitations to give.  They need to get connected!  They need to be able to put stories with faces.  They need to see life change.  They need to be involved.  Utilized.  Needed.  Empowered.

 Statistics show that people who give time give money.  Your most consistent time contributors are your most consistent money contributors.  The correlation is obvious—they’re committed.

So the most important part of you beefing up your budget may be to identify some clear, purposeful next steps for people in your church to move from spectators to participants.  Instead of asking, “How can we get more money for ministry?” ask, “How can we get more people connected to our church?

Take some time.  Go on a planning retreat.  If you have a staff, take them to the mountains.  Brainstorm some easy steps for people to get involved.  Some folks need to use their brains.  Some need to use their backs.  But you need to have something for everyone, and they need to know what it is!

 Sure, you want people who attend your church to say:

  • “The preacher gives great sermons.”
  • “The music is wonderful.”
  • “I love the programs.”

 But…it would be even greater if they said:

  • “I’m a part of my church.
  • “God is using me to carry on His mission through my local church.”
  • “I have a role in God’s story.”

 Whether it’s landscaping or leading a small group, watching toddlers or welcoming people at the door, get people—and their bodies, brains, and hearts—involved.

When people are involved, I promise they’ll be way more likely to give!

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