In the nations of the world, church leaders rely on creative ways to sustain their income and the ministry of the local church. As local church leaders, we will examine ways of increasing the financial capacity of the churches we lead.
Churches model tithing by giving the district and international missions a percentage of all general giving received. In addition, pastors and church staff must model what they are asking the congregations they lead to practice. This serves as the foundation for all church finances.
Growing churches often take an intentional multi-tiered approach to discipling people with their giving. For example, some churches serve their people with connections to job centers and debt consolidators. Some choose to offer courses on money management and personal finance. Others look for ways to help high- net-worth individuals to be givers for projects that will leave a lasting impact.
Church-giving software helps offer online, and in-person giving solutions and connect donor management with your accounting and church software.
Building a good stewardship system begins with researching how they can help serve this area of discipleship. Here are some ministries that offer ideas about how to do this. www.rivervalleynetwork.org ; churchfuel.com/giving-course/
As a fellowship, we believe church members fund the ministry of their local church by giving tithes and offerings. As leaders, we can help our people grow in their giving by teaching clear biblical financial principles of investing, saving, spending, and giving.
Teaching can occur during services, in various classes, and small groups. There are several great resources from ministries such as Crown Financial and Ramsey Solutions. Some churches offer a connection to Christian credit counseling services to help people consolidate and eliminate debt, such as Christian Against Poverty
Ministry can grow as believers eliminate debt, build an income, and walk in obedience through tithing and offerings. Often, it takes new believers a few years to grow in understanding, obedience, and generosity where there is an intentional focus to disciple in this area.
One of the most effective ways to be a good steward of church finances is to use the land, buildings, and facilities you own as a church to expand your ministry and bring additional income streams. This might include renting the church facilities to other churches that want to meet at different times during the week. It also might include renting space to para-church ministries, individual counselors, event rentals, local clubs, summer camps, or sports programs. Churches with outdoor space might consider renting portions of their parking lot or acreage.
As you endeavor to do this, you must ensure that proper facility use policies, insurance certificates, and rental agreements are in place. Again, the WOD office and CCCC.org can provide you with templates and help to do this effectively for your context.
In other resources, we have shown how running parallel non-profits can help build new funding sources to supplement the local church’s ministry. In addition, non- profits can help share in the building, administrative, and equipment costs as a tenant of the church building.
Funding for the non-profit can be obtained through individual fundraising, government grant writing, foundation grant writing, corporate donations, etc. More information on this can be found in our church practices on local outreach.
A parallel non-profit could include daycare, a sports ministry, a ministry to alleviate poverty, a Christian school, mentoring programs, senior care, low-income housing, a social enterprise, and more. It is highly recommended that the parallel non-profit reflects the local church’s current ministry activities and vision.
It is essential to consider the various legal, accounting, and cultural dynamics of running a parallel non-profit by obtaining professional advice and reflecting on your leadership and the church’s current capacity.
Business / Social Enterprise
While it is not always recommended, it is increasingly popular for some churches to start businesses that reflect the mission and vision of their local assembly. These businesses may be set up to provide jobs or meet demand in a particular community. The examples are numerous: coffee shops, home services, music lessons, work-share office space, thrift stores, etc.
As always, it is important to get various professional independent legal and accounting advice before considering this option. It is also essential to consider how much investment is required and who would manage such an enterprise in the short and long term. Finally, a board and a membership vote should approve these decisions as they could affect the capacity of your current staff hired to focus on ministry.
Through proper legacy-giving services, members can reduce the tax burden of their estate and leave your church charitable bequests in their will. In addition, obtaining the help of professional legacy services can help build sustainability over the years for your church.
Churches looking to raise funds for the expansion or renovation of facilities through a capital campaign should consider using the services of a professional fundraiser. As each situation is different, the district office can provide some recommendations depending on the nature of your project. It is essential to obtain advice to forecast your potential capacity before venturing into several years-long fundraising projects, obtaining permits, dealing with vendors, and managing the ministry.
Churches with additional land can significantly benefit from a partnership with a developer for commercial, residential, schools, or senior care facilities. These projects are opportunities that require expertise and related experience to accomplish. As a district, we are happy to have a conversation and connect you with the right experts who may be able to help you take your vision from beginning to end.
While our first call as leaders is to equip believers to be active in ministry by using their gifts and abilities, churches can evolve to require a part-time or full-time staff person. One option is slowly building a team with part-time bi-vocational workers with similar professional backgrounds. For example, for kids’ ministry, consider daycare workers or teachers. For youth ministry, consider high school teachers or social workers; for visitation pastors, consider retired ministers. Then, as your church grows, you can add full-time workers to the team and hire dual- role positions (e.g., youth and worship).