As I travel the nation teaching Church Management Seminars, I am amazed at the number of Churches that must rely on some type of fund-raising to properly fund their ministries. As the Body of our Lord and Savior, Churches should never be short of funds to do that which God has called them. However, hundreds of Church doors are padlocked every month across the USA due to foreclosure, or Church closure. The culprit―there are not enough funds to pay the bills and do ministry.
The two main causes for insufficient budgets are simple to diagnose. They are:
- The Church may be taking on more ministry than that which God has called them.
- Unfaithful tithers.
Either of these two will sink a Church. No one wants to buy a ticket on the “Titanic.” The Titanic was considered unsinkable, but it sank. Some consider the local Church unsinkable, but hundreds close their doors every day. Don’t be one of them.
When Churches are always begging for money or overburdening the members to volunteer for countless fund-raisers, people get discouraged and look for an out. At this point, some will quit attending Church, while others will find another place to worship.
Let’s look at each cause closely.
Too Much Ministry
This seems like an oxymoron. How can a Church do too much ministry? Even though we all are to evangelize and win people to Christ, we need to understand that God calls certain Pastors for certain areas. For example, if your Church only seats 100 people, God probably has not called it to sponsor large drama productions. Another example, if you have 30 people in attendance on a given Sunday, your Church probably has not been called to buy 5 buses and start a bus ministry, and how can a Church feed the hungry, when its members can barely feed themselves?
As noble as the above-mentioned ministries are, and many more that we don’t have space to name, we each have a ministry niche that is unique to the Pastor, members, and location.
Competition among Churches pressure Pastors to attempt ministry that others are successfully engaging. We must learn to stay in our lane! Find that to which God has called you and refine it until it is the best in your city.
If you are engaging in that which you are not called, there will be a shortage of funds. When this happens, Pastors begin to manipulate the members to give more, or resort to a myriad of fund-raisers in attempts to “keep up with the Joneses.”
There should be ample funds within any Church to function according to God’s plan for that House of Worship. God does not demand that which He will not fund. If the Pastor is sure that God has called his or her Church to an area of ministry, then the money is in the House; which leads to the second problem – unfaithful tithers.
Less than 10 percent of Christians tithe, even though the tithing principle is adamantly displayed throughout Scripture – Old and New Testament.
Before we are too harsh on non-tithing Christians we should look at the pulpit. According to one survey, less than four percent of Pastors and Ministers tithe. If insufficient tithes and offerings are coming into your Church each month, maybe the Board Members need to check the Pastor’s tithing record. If the Pastor curses himself or herself by not tithing, as the spiritual head of that Church, the Church will be cursed. If the Pastor is a faithful tither, then he or she should properly teach this subject to his Church – at least four or five weeks per year. We get what we preach. If we constantly preach soul-winning, we have soul-winners. Preach tithing and you will get tithers.
One thing the Pastor can do to get members to tithe is to properly teach the subject and then offer some type of commitment card with a “God-Guarantee” based on Malachi 3. Get the members to put God to the test – to tithe for 90 days, and if at the end of that time, tithing has caused a proven, undue hardship for the member, give him or her, a refund. God’s Word is either true or it isn’t.
I need to throw a caution in here about the refund. Offer it at the beginning of each year as a teaching on Stewardship. Do not give a refund, if you have given the member a Giving Statement and they have claimed the donation on their tax return. This could create IRS issues!
I know of several Churches that have utilized the God-Guarantee approach, and only know of one that has actually had members ask for a refund – and in that Church it was less than half of one percent. The good news is that each time it is taught, the Church gains new tithers.
How We Can Help
As one of the largest Church resource firms in the nation, Chitwood & Chitwood knows how to increase your tithes and offerings. Our system, How to Make Your Tithes Start, Stay, and Grow, provides Biblical resources and strategies to teach your members the importance of the tithe.
Call us at 800-344-0076 to purchase your system, or contact us at www.cmtc.org to register to attend a Church Management Conference in a city nearest you. You will be glad you did.
Remember, for us “It is A Ministry – Not A Job!”