One of the key metrics of financial giving in a church is per-member giving. Churches with increased giving per member have seven dominant characteristics.
1. Increased emphasis on belonging to a group. Members in a group, such as a small group or Sunday school class, give as much as six times more than those attending worship services alone.
2. Multiple giving venues. Per-member giving increases as churches offer more giving venues (e.g., offertory giving in the worship services; online giving; mailed offering envelopes to all members and givers; automatic deductions from members’ bank accounts; giving kiosks).
3. Meaningful and motivating goals. Church members give more if they see the church has a goal that will make a meaningful difference.
“Increasing total gifts by 10 percent” is not a meaningful goal. “Giving 10 percent more to advance the gospel in the 37201 zip code” is more meaningful.
4. Explaining biblical giving in the new members’ class. New member classes should be an entry point for both information on and expectations of biblical church membership.
Biblical giving should be a clear and unapologetic expectation of church membership.
5. Willingness of leadership to talk about money. While it is possible to communicate financial stewardship in an overbearing manner, it is inexcusable for leaders to be silent about financial stewardship by Christians.
6. Meaningful financial reporting. Many churches provide financial reporting that only a CPA or a CFO can understand. Church members need to be able to understand clearly how funds are given or spent.
7. Transparent financial reporting. If church members sense pertinent financial information is being withheld, they tend to give less or nothing at all.
While that does not mean every financial statement provides endless details, it does indicate church members will have a clear idea of how funds are given and spent.
There are reasons for optimism in church giving. Many churches are experiencing increases in total giving as well as per-member giving. And most of those churches exhibit the seven characteristics noted above.