Enormous changes have transpired in recent years that are presenting church leaders with new challenges to growing disciples and funding ministry in this widely different and rapidly changing ministry context.
In response, we have created a free e-course called 5 Disciples of Financially Thriving Churches. It examines and offers best practices to address the following:
- Ministry funding challenges.
- 5 disciplines of financially thriving churches.
- Fully funding your ministry.
- Plus, templates to promote your church in the digital era.
The accelerated changes in ministry have made it essential to understand what is driving giving in your church or faith-based nonprofit. For instance, during the last four decades giving by Americans remained essentially flat at approximately 2.0% of income. But, giving to religious organizations, such as churches, decreased to about half of what it was 40 years ago.
8 Challenges for Churches and Fully Funding Their Ministries
If your church is ambivalent about its financials, this course and additional video are for you. This article aims to highlight the ministry funding challenges you may experience. If any of these issues relate to you, do yourself a favor and get the free e-course. It'll change the way you think about your church finances.
Increased Operating Expenses
During periods of high inflation, life gets more expensive, as do church finances. From the light bill to salaries, the operating expenses increase yearly. However, maybe your church finds itself with flat or even declining revenue. When you start to see the signs of decline is essential to take action, such as embracing widely available technology and data management systems to increase efficiency and effectiveness.
Aftereffects of the Pandemic
For better or worse, the pandemic is leaving a lasting legacy. It has also created opportunities to leverage changes in worship and giving to become a financially thriving church. The time is now to reorient your church while you still have the resources to respond. In other words, this is the time to re-evaluate and recommit to what your church values most. Further, it's the time to set a bold vision and execute it with a team of people who have the talent to see it happen. It's also time to move away from the distractions that may have kept you treading water.
Churches Losing Connections with Their Donors
Post pandemic fewer people are attending in-person worship services. Perhaps, your church leadership murmurs about decreased in-person attendance. But, no one's taking the time to really get into the data that will create an accurate picture of true household engagement. Why? Well, it's easier to ignore it than deal with a problem. Of course, that's a strategic mistake. It's vital to have your fingers on the pulse of your ministries and giving patterns. Doing so will ensure your church remains a thriving and central part of life for your members. (Grow Disciples and Ministry).
Challenge of Measuring Online Church Member Participation and Support
Perhaps your church started to embrace the digital world. If so, keep going. However, one of the biggest challenges many churches face is measuring engagement. The reality is that many church leaders simply don’t understand these metrics. But, all isn’t lost! There are easy to understand methods to accurately measure participation and decipher the correlations to committed membership.
Decline of Deeply Committed Followers
As we know, many churches went online for worship due to the pandemic. Hopefully, you did as well. Even if your in-person, online, and on-demand worship numbers have returned to pre-pandemic levels, it doesn't necessarily mean you have committed followers. How so? Well, perhaps they're not engaged in a small group/Sunday School, serving ministry or they don’t help you fund your ministries. Worship attendance does not fully equate to discipleship. For instance, members who worship regularly but who are not engaged in spiritual formation or serving, give less than half of the members who are. Church leaders must both understand and become informed of worshippers' movement along a path of discipleship which also includes spiritual formation, serving, and giving.
Stable Giving and Complacency
Perhaps your church made it through the pandemic and recent years fine. You may have received the subsidies from the government, and you see a healthy bank account. Be warned. That often leads to complacency. Instead, it’s precisely at this moment, that you need to ensure you stay financially strong. So, it’s vital to invest in technology, understand engagement, and ensure you measure everything.
Giving and the Lack of Attendance and Engagement
Did you know that when a church member stops attending, it usually takes about three to six months for them to stop giving? So, if you have seen a drop in attendance, you could expect a drop in giving about one quarter or half a year later. That's vital to understand, anticipate and address. The question is, how? It may surprise you, but one of the answers is creating a culture of giving and generosity within your church. One of the keys is effectively telling you stories of impact and life change. People want to support your church ministries. However, they might not see a compelling reason to do it.
Challenge of Re-Engaging with Those Who Have Stopped Attending
Our last challenge has to do with those who stopped attending. The longer your church doesn't reach out to them, the greater the financial threat to your ministries. The reality is that once people stop attending you need to quickly reach out to them because you want to minister to them and address whatever is happening in their lives or relationship with the church. A thriving church community engages its people frequently and in meaningful ways to remind them that they matter and to share stories of lives that are being changed. When people feel valued and acknowledged (even in their absence) they usually re-engage.
It's not easy to create a financially thriving church. Doing it involves more than vision. It also means engaging with your members both in-person and online. Further, for your ministries to thrive, it means being intentional about rethinking your discipleship pathways, especially when it comes to highlighting a spirit of giving and generosity.
Finally, thriving churches also tend to be good stewards of their human resources by thoughtfully engaging high-capacity volunteers with varying backgrounds and talents. Meaning those with entrepreneurial, leadership, marketing, and social media engagement expertise. These folks may not want to serve on an administrative committee, but if offered an opportunity to create something new, improve an existing system or solve a problem, they will often jump at the chance. It takes many more skills to build a thriving church in the digital era.
Download 5 Disciples of Financially Thriving Churches to get started on your journey to grow more disciples and fund more ministry.