How can a church keep going financially when we don't meet and aren't able to take up an offering?
Hi, this is YP and welcome to the Effective Church Communications podcast!
In our current challenging times, many churches are concerned (and justifiably so) with how they will pay the bills when the church is not meeting together regularly. I've got a great solution for you and you don't need to learn any new technology to do it.
Listen to the podcast below or continue reading for the solution.
For many churches, the Sunday morning offering is still the primary way the church gets tithes and offerings from the congregation.
The frequent response to this situation of churches not meeting is to emphasize online giving and though that is a great solution in many churches (and I personally love using it), it isn't a viable solution for many others. Either the church does not have online giving in place, doesn't want to set it up, or a large group of people in the church simply don't want to use it.
Technology isn't the answer to everything and sometimes trusted methods work well in challenging times.
There is a solution that not only brings in money but can also be a ministry to the congregation
Truth be told, many of the people who don't want to use online giving might be the older members of your congregation.
At the same time, they can be some of the most vulnerable, alone, and lonely people during times of community quarantine or when your church cannot meet together.
The church needs to be active in ministry to these members, checking in on them, making sure they have basic needs met, and a way to get medical care if needed.
The church can be in touch with them through mail and phone calls as they may not have a computer or rarely use it. The article The POWER of PRINT, with FREE POSTCARDS during this challenging time for people, has a selection of FREE encouraging postcards you can reprint and send out to people.
An additional challenge—many of these same people may not have access to or know how to "stream" a Sunday-morning service
The same people who may not be involved in online giving, also may not be able to access your Sunday sermon online. Being cut off from the congregation and the message is a huge loss for them. But you can get the service to them AND ask for their offering.
Here's how you can do it:
- Preach your sermon and record it while preaching.
- Transcribe it. If you don't already have a way to transcribe it, check out www.temi.com (machine transcription, .10 a minute, but will need some editing) or www.rev.com (human transcription, $1.25 a minute). A personal recommendation is that I'd go with www.temi.com. I've used www.rev.com and though the transcription was very accurate, I still did a good bit of editing because when we speak, we throw in extra words or repeat ourselves or insert other verbal tics that need to be edited out.
- Print up the sermon to send out with a kind, encouraging note.
- ALSO include an addressed stamped envelope and specifically ask the members of the congregation to return their tithes and offerings in it. Giving back is part of the worship experience. You've done your part in sending out the sermon, challenge them to do their part by sending in their offering.
- Be sure to ask that with it that they send along with a brief note of how they are doing and any practical or prayer requests they might have.
- Respond back to them when they return their gift. Call or have some pre-printed postcards ready to go. Thank them and comment on their prayer request and/or respond to their need.
This is a tremendous amount of work
Yes, it is. But these are extraordinary times requiring extraordinary measures to care for our flocks, who are scattered and might be afraid, as well as to keep the church strong so they will have a home to come back to.
Technology is a wonderful resource and giving online and streaming services are fantastic tools, but if we want to truly meet the needs of our congregation we need to communicate through all the media channels available to us.
The computer is only one of them. Don't forget to create printed materials and use the mail service to reach all the people in your congregation.