This post is reprinted from friend and colleague Clif Christopher. It ran on his blog last year, but as you plan for your Christmas Eve service, be thinking about these points.
A Very Smart Church
J. Clif Christopher
Quite frequently in this newsletter I write about something that I witnessed a church do that was “stupid” (my favorite word according to my staff). Today I want to share what I witnessed at one very smart church’s Christmas Eve service. They did everything right when it came to stewardship. It is worth saying that the entire service was extremely well done with the music and message, but my job is stewardship so I will report to you on that. Here are the four things they did well:
The offering was totally dedicated to those outside the church walls. Upon entering, I received a bulletin, and in it was an insert with an explanation of the ministry that was going to receive 100% of the offering. The church was aware that it would have a number of visitors who would not necessarily feel comfortable giving to a local church, especially if they already belonged to one as is frequently the case on Christmas Eve with out-of-town visitors. Those same persons, however, may want to make an expression of gratitude on Christmas.
A video was produced to explain how lives are being changed through this outside ministry and shown right before the offering. God sent his only Son into the world that lives might be changed through Him. This video helped me and others to see exactly how that was being done through this wonderful ministry that would be supported by our offering. In fact, it was so good I doubled my intended offering as a way of saying thanks to this God of love. I could really see in the video how I could partner with Him to change even more lives and I was excited to do it.
A QR code was printed in the bulletin for anyone to use with their smartphone to make a gift. I watched as the person next to me took out his smartphone and used his code reader to scan the code in the bulletin. It took him to the church website, which had a large lead-in to the Christmas Eve offering. The gentleman put in his credit card number, hit send, and made a contribution in less than one minute. I looked around the sanctuary and saw several others doing the same thing. How ingenious this was. I had not thought of using QR codes in this way, but it was so easy. It was also right in the wheelhouse of many in that congregation. The man next to me looked to be in his early thirties, and it seemed that using his smartphone to make a contribution was a common occurrence for him.
People were told how to make a contribution to the local church if they so desired. The attenders were told that envelopes were in the pew backs if they wished to make a contribution to this church. The leaders knew that some members would be present who wanted to make an end of the year gift and a method was provided to do just that, however any funds placed in the plate and not in the envelope would go to mission outside of the church.
This church was smart because they gave EVERYONE THE BEST CHANCE TO GIVE. Most churches give appeals that only members will respond to or only those with cash in their wallet or only those who are over 60. This church was smart and you, too, can be like this church.
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Question: How else could you make your offering more accessible for members and visitors to your church? Share your ideas in the Comments section below.