NASHVILLE (BP) — The future before us is highly uncertain. What appeared just days ago to be a possible banner year for your church financially, may now be seen through your eyes as the pastor, as being threatened in every way.
As the pastor of a local church, you need God’s wisdom in each decision you make relating to your church’s finances. Facing the possibility of being unable to meet in person in corporate worship services even makes these challenges greater. Therefore, how can you see the church’s budget financed and supported in these uncertain times?
Consider these nine practical suggestions:
1. Focus your church on the Great Commission of Jesus Christ.
Presenting the Gospel of Jesus Christ to every person in the world and making disciples of all the nations is mission critical. Maximizing the Great Commission to your people will move their hearts towards generosity.
2. Dollars usually follow vision.
The more your vision is Great Commission–driven, and it is clear for your people to see, the more your people will be moved to support it financially.
3. Teach, preach, and call your people to follow principles of biblical stewardship.
Economic uncertainty does not lessen the need for them to honor God with at least the first 10 percent of all God has entrusted to them. In fact, the most secure practice they can take for their future financially is to honor God in this way. Conversely, ignoring and disobeying what God says in His Word about biblical stewardship will jeopardize that future. Going forward with God and His ways is always better and more secure.
4. The more your giving is online, the fewer challenges you will face in these times.
Therefore, move as many people as possible to online giving in the wisest manner — through recurring giving which is transferred weekly from your personal bank account into the financial account of your church. This avoids any fees of any kind.
5. Never assume all of your people are operating in an online world, especially relating to financial matters.
Do not hesitate to send mail to members, asking them to be faithful in giving and even supplying an envelope for them to easily give an offering. Additionally, ask them to mail offerings weekly when in-person worship services are not being held or when they do not attend. Encourage people to practice biblical stewardship.
6. Gather your leadership in person or on a conference call to share the church’s financial needs.
Ask for their input for how best to maintain necessary funding for the church’s budget, and how church members can best be made aware of the needs. People do not want their church to fail. If the work of the church is important — and it is most critical in times like these — then you do not need to apologize about it, but involve the people with you in order to move toward the future in the most positive and powerful way for the Gospel.
7. Lead your church with a positive outlook toward the future.
God is at work. If matters have to change anywhere in your church due to these times, then use it to sharpen your focus even more toward the Great Commission. Do away with matters that are unnecessary and embrace the future in the most positive way.
8. When your people are together in worship gatherings, even if only online for a short period of time, always connect the offering with the vision and tell the story of what God is doing or may want to do in and through your church.
Biblical stewardship is not just something you need to teach in a series annually, but something to model weekly in the way you make the offering appeal. Do not miss this weekly opportunity. Always forward your Great Commission vision.
9. Pray personally about church’s finances.
Pray about them with your church leadership and with your entire church. If you cannot talk to God about the needs, who can you talk to? Pray for your people and their personal financial situations that God would provide for them in every way. Prayer matters. Never hesitate to talk to God about the financial present and future of the church.
Consider these things as you work through your financial future as a church in these uncertain times.
Now is the time to lead.
Ronnie Floyd is president and CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee.