I just finished doing two Consecration Sunday programs. I finished the first one and they reported an average increase of 25% in their pledges. I figured there was no way I could ever beat that. But the next week the second church reported an average increase of 26% in the pledges received.
So what’s the secret elixer to make this happen?
The only common theme in the two was my preaching. And while I like to point out that the majority of the congregation is still awake at the end of my sermons, even the best stewardship sermon on the planet won’t increase giving like that.
The churches are more different than they are alike. One is a suburban setting, the other quite rural. One has a high-profile full elder, the other a retired teacher who is a local pastor. One is fairly centrally located in the Conference. From the other the West Ohio Conference is a Nick Swisher home run away.
But both churches are brimming with vision for ministry. The visions are decidedly different, but they both have strong visions for helping the people in their communities. These visions bring optimism and a stronger sense of unity than I often find.
I was able to connect for them that their vision could only happen if they had the financial resources to make it happen.
Compare that to a church in real financial trouble I met with a month or so ago. I asked the pastor what his dream was for the church. He explained that he had two of three years left before he retired and he sure would like to not have to move.
Not exactly a vision that makes people fight to get to the offering plate is it?
If your church doesn’t have all the resources it needs, maybe you have a money problem. But maybe you have a vision problem.