We’ve already looked at options for how missions may be funded in your church. Now we’ll consider how to promote funding. This assumes that your church will grow beyond the traditional strictures of one annual donation drive per year or everything is sourced through a set percentage or allocation from the general fund giving of the church.
It is important to have baseline “performance” data. It is also important to have a goal. A couple of common measurements used are:
- What is the percentage of missions giving compared to the total, non-capital-project (i.e. – building, major repair/improvement, land acquisition, major equipment type projects) giving of the church?
- What is the per-capita or per-giving-unit (i.e. – nuclear family units) giving to missions?
- How does the growth of missions giving or expenses compare to the growth of general funds giving or expenses?
- How does the growth of missions giving compare to previous years? – in dollars? or in percentage?
- Monthly reports of missions giving vs. pledges and Year-To-Date data.
If treasure investment is an indicator of heart priorities, as Jesus indicated, then these measurements should not feel threatening. Rather, they should be a valid indicator of the church’s priorities.
Promotion for missions giving is strongly tied to values and rationale. “Why” is question that donor-participants will ask. Why should we give more? What is different? What vision or direction does my increased giving enable?
Does the missions team earn the respect of the church in integrity and effectiveness of financial stewardship of the funds entrusted to them?
Having a dynamic focus or goal is a very positive factor in promotion for missions funding. Even if it is only the satisfaction of raising the percentage another notch, people can grasp that. We have encouraged some churches to adopt a policy of encasing their missions giving by not less than 1% per year and committing to not retreat from the active percentage until they reach the goal of 25% of gross church income (less capital projects) given to missions.
A few churches pride themselves in stretching to give 50% of their income to missions. While that is noteworthy and outstanding, it may not always be wise. There are a few church situations in which such a performance level might be commendable; e.g. – all the church properties and buildings are paid off; the church body is particularly affluent; or, there is some endowment fund for missions. However, we don’t recommend a 50% missions giving target for most churches.
An annual appeal, based on a report of activities and stewardship, is usually the foundation for missions funding promotion. Clear and distinctive explanation and materials for “faith promise” along with clear goals for the coming year’s projected use of funds are common. Anything that can be said or done during Sunday meeting is helpful to keep the giving goals in front of the church body: concise and high quality PowerPoint slides, video clips, brochures, pledge cards, etc.
Mission Advocates in small groups and Sunday School classes of all types and age-groups can remind congregants of the missions funding goals. Having a target date and making public the aggregate results of the drive are encouraging to all.
As the church body matures, it might be worth discussing how your missions team or church leadership might tastefully approach and provide resources to your aging constituents about remembering your church missions efforts and/or the church general funds in their estate planning, i.e. – wills, trusts, bequests, endowments, etc. A presentation might be made to the seniors group annually or biennially, again only in a very tasteful and sensitive manner.
Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.