As a Church Leader, there are too many things you are concerned about, and it can be wearisome.
The worst is dealing with a financial crisis in the Church. Money paces vision, but when Money is not sufficient or is lacking, even the leadership of the Church might suffer some amount of depression. Cash flow makes it impossible to run with a vision. A pastor once shared with me that the first day he shared on giving, the Church’s offering total was over 80% in decline. Can you imagine how discouraging that was?
This problem has been a long-standing one. Statistics have sufficiently shown us that giving per member has decreased steadily for more than 38 years. Giving for external benevolence causes dropped from 0.66% to just over 0.37% in 2006. Another research found on the Balancing Everything website has shown us that Americans donated physically more during the Great depression than they do now.
What would it be like if cash inflow was regular? What if the only factor that could create negative cash flow would be an external disaster? What if you did not have to worry about the Church’s finances at any time? As a norm, the Church should not experience a cash flow crisis, and it certainly should not live with a limited vision due to a lack of resources, but challenges happen. We don’t sit back and watch them devour us; we rise to them and pull them down! Before we look at how we should deal with a financial crisis, here are three facts we need to acknowledge.
- God’s vision for the Church is greater than the norm of cash flow. Everyone in the Church needs to yield to it, not just with their cash and their faith.
- Church Budgets are 100% made by man, and the expenses should also be 100% elective- If you create a budget, choose to remove some avoidable spending. That is a function of leadership, not Cash flow.
- The Cashflow will not stop being inconsistent unless you take steps in the right direction- This should be expected and planned.
Having acknowledged these facts, let us discuss the ways the Church Leadership can tackle the financial crisis.
KNOW YOUR CHURCH’S FINANCIAL HEALTH STATUS
If you have not prepared a detailed financial projection, this is a call to do so. Look at a period of 4 to 8 weeks, consider the funds you expect to come in, and the expenses you are looking to make. Once you can confidently predict the cash inflow of the Church, you need to commit to total financial transparency with your members. Make them aware of the challenges the Church may or may not be facing. Celebrate the financial wins as a team, and let them know when cash flow is insufficient. By doing that, you are building trust. Know this; the church community loves to rally around an opportunity and help resolve problems. It is a community where people love to be involved with the process of growth.
Ultimately, you have to know your givers. Not everyone felt the economic impact of the pandemic the same way. While some lost businesses and jobs, others saw their investment portfolio grow, got stimulus checks, and started something new. Monitor your members’ giving patterns and follow them up with spiritual and pastoral care accordingly. A one size fit all approach did not work before the pandemic and will not work now. We should not ask people to give without maintaining a check on their financial realities.
SET REALISTIC BUDGETS
Take the time to evaluate each area of financial use within the Church. What is the process for financial decision-making? Is it effective and empowering the Church’s vision? Is there a lack of impact within the budget? These are pertinent questions you need to answer before you draw up the budget.
Budgeting is prophesying with numbers. You are making a financial projection on what you expect to happen in the next fiscal year. A seed eaten cannot grow. This reason is why Farmers plant their seeds to harvest and sell, eat some to survive, and save the rest for the next planting season. The Church should also imbibe this technique. I call it the 3-Way Growth Hack. Planting is the first step, and it refers to Marketing, Outreach, and Missions, that will yield fruit later. The seeds you eat for survival are the Salaries and the necessary expenses that keep the mission going, and the ones you save are the remainder you have for the coming year. Don’t eat all your seeds. The more you invest, the greater the return will be next year.
TRAIN YOUR LEADERS AND DISCIPLE YOUR MEMBERS.
Reducing financial stress and increasing vision capacity is to invest the Church’s resources wisely in the leaders and the members. I understand that not everyone who comes to Church is a member, but every Church has its way of knowing the committed ones. Invest in them. Take your leaders through relevant training, and you will be doing the Church a lot of good. Volunteering should also be encouraged. Before you know it, you are already cutting down more expenses than you envisaged. The things you pay for, volunteers will begin to take them up. That comes with adequate discipleship.
MAINTAIN AN EMERGENCY FUND ACCOUNT
As a Church, if you have not been keeping an emergency bank account, you must start doing so now. The pandemic has made us realize the importance of having a reserve fund and maintaining a realistic cash back-up. Financial experts suggest and encourage that we all have an emergency fund sufficient to cover expenses for three months; Churches should do the same. Your Church Emergency Account should not be easily accessible.
While no budget is perfect, your budget will be more resistant if you don’t live too close to the edge. Having an emergency fund account puts a buffer between you and your expenses. You should not pull funds from your emergency account except there is a real emergency.
INVEST IN AN EFFECTIVE DIGITAL GIVING CHANNEL
Nowadays, not only do people show up to church without cash or a checkbook, but they are attending services less frequently. Thank God for online services; anyone can connect to their Church more than ever with great tools like social media. A Facebook or Instagram Live feeds connects people to online services, but how many of these online members give their tithes and offerings to the account details displayed on the screen? Maybe less than 30%, should you be satisfied with that?
Let me show you some statistics:
- In 2020, donors gave more to churches through online giving solutions than with cash or checks.
- Smaller dollar donations are making a significant impact on charitable giving. That is made possible by text-to-give platforms.
- A vast majority of the members of an average congregation do not give tithes regularly. The best solution is to offer them a flexible online giving solution.
People’s ability to give by check or cash has declined, especially since the pandemic started. They get to Church with preoccupied minds, forgetting about generosity. They are always on their phones, and that is something the Church should leverage. Online giving is no longer one of the available options, it is a necessity for Churches, and I have just the right Text-2-Give platform for your Church. ChurchPad has one of the best online giving platforms you can find across the globe. With Text-2-Give, your members can easily set up recurring giving for their members. It is so flexible, and you can create unlimited contribution codes to track different kinds of giving.
Schedule a Demo session for free.