All right, let me jump into our next big way your church can beat the summer slump.
Promote Electronic Giving Now
Now this one is kind of like the man said, "When's the best time to start saving for retirement?" Well, the best time is 30 years ago, and the second best time is right now. If you didn't do it 30 years ago, do it right now. That's why I say, "Promote electronic giving now." It would have been great if you'd been doing this for years, but if you have not, do it now.
I suggest the giving kiosk, because the giving kiosk doesn't go on vacation. At our giving kiosk, you can go in there and you can set it up with automated giving. When they go on vacation, that thing still hits the bank, and so your tithing is there. We teach that tithing is not paying a bill when you come in, or giving an offering. It's not paying for the show that you got. What that means is if you didn't come that weekend, or didn't hear the songs or the sermon, you still give because we give unto the Lord as worship, not as something we get back.
But the truth of the matter is when they go on vacation, a lot of times, the beach got their tithe. If you can set up electronic giving, and it's going to have something to do ... Your success with that is going to have something to do with the congregation. If you're a very blue-collar community, blue-collar congregation, where people aren't doing a whole lot of stuff online, not doing as much electronic commerce online, you're going to have a harder time getting that percentage up. Whereas, if you're in the middle of a city, or maybe a suburb, and there's a lot of white-collar people. But wherever you are, you need to promote it.
Convenience of Giving
Now what you'll find when you put a giving kiosk up, out in your lobby, it doesn't get a lot of money. There's not a ton of giving at the giving kiosk, but the giving kiosk is sort of advertisement that you can give online. You can give electronically. There'll be people who walk through the door, they go to that giving kiosk, they swipe their debit or credit card because they don't use cash, and they don't carry a checkbook. We have people all the time, they'll do that their first two or three times, but then when they learn that we have an online giving app, they'll do it more without having to swipe that card each week.
I like the giving kiosk, not because it brings in a whole ton or a big percentage of our money, but it's sort of the doorway to electronic giving. Just in case you want to know, we use SecureGive. You can find them online. There are some other sources, but they're a holistic approach. They can set you up on your website. It's a lot better than PayPal. You don't have to pay nearly as much of a percentage per usage. Electronic giving is really good. Another thing I'd say about electronic giving, before we move on, is teach people to "Automate the important." We have that in quotation marks because whatever's important to you, you automate it.
Automate What's Important
There's things that you just know it's going to happen. You don't get up on Sunday morning if you're a committed family to worship, and talk about, "Are we going to worship today?" That's automatic. You know it's going to happen because it's important. In the same way, tithing, giving to the local church, that's important. We want people to automate it, so we promote it. Each weekend, there's a slide that goes up behind my head as I give the giving talk. Which, hey, by the way, if you're just standing up and saying, "It's time to receive the offering," and not giving a specific giving talk every week, then you're losing.
The most important topic to Jesus was not salvation, heaven, or hell. It was giving. That's the number one topic in all his teachings. So talk about it. I mean, for heaven's sake, talk about it. While I'm talking about it, there's a slide behind my head, on the wall, that gives you the multiple ways that you can give. We talk about that a whole lot. Is there something that you want to add to that Richard, because you've got a lot of experience in this area, but if we're not pressing on this issue each week, I think we're doing a disservice to ourselves, and to our ability to promote the gospel.
Here's what I would say in addition to that. I've even heard a pastor saying, "I write my giving check while they're passing the bucket." So there's a visual representation of somebody standing in the front doing that. I think two things. No matter how ... You're probably going to have multiple ways that you raise money in your church. When you have those ways, they have to be simple for people to use, and clearly understandable, number one. Number two, when you're doing your giving talk, when it's time to give, don't sandwich it between a bunch of other stuff. Have one call to action, "It's time to do this now. Here's why we do this." Whatever it is. Don't let it be this red-headed stepchild of your announcements is, I guess, what I'm saying. It's a very prayerful and intentional thing.
That's why the pastor can't be up there making announcements. I don't make announcements. I talk of the most important things. I don't talk about the chili social, and I don't talk about the teenagers out front selling Krispy Kreme doughnuts. I don't talk about that. I'm the senior leader of this church. I only talk about the most important things. There's two things I do every weekend. Receive the offering and share the message. That's it. I don't do any announcements. I don't talk about anything else. Although I don't get up and say that, because that kind of sounds condescending to all those other ministries. It's sort of an understated fact that I'm going to talk about what's most important, and giving ... Hey, it doesn't happen. All of the gospel of Jesus Christ that we're doing from an institutional, local church way, is not going to happen if people aren't giving. Yeah, it's very, very important.
To piggyback on that Jerry, John Maxwell always said, "Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less." As the primary communicator in your church, just like you are pastor, the primary communicator in your church, you're the one with the influence. You can't let somebody that doesn't have the influence that you have, ask that question. On the other end of that, the announcements, I 100% agree with what you're saying Jerry. You want to come up there when it's time to talk about what's most important.
Another Way to Do Offerings
Your thought about writing a check in front of people is great. I've got a different way I do that. I tell my people that before this moment, my giving's already been done, because it's electronic giving. However, each service I'm holding a giving envelope. I tell the people, I said now, "If you've already given electronically"... By the way, I always thank people for giving electronically before I receive the offering, because there's this feeling, this weird feeling like, "Hey, I didn't put anything in the offering. It looks like I didn't give." I always acknowledge that, "I know many of you have already given electronically and we appreciate your commitment to that." I will say ... Not every week, but from time to time I'll say, "And I'm like you," because it's important, I've automated it.
I even tell the story of one time my automobile insurance got cut off because I forgot to pay the bill. From then on I automated that bill, because that's important and I automate the important. I'm talking about it a lot because people connect with the primary communicator. They connect with your story the most. I'll hold an empty envelope and I'll tell the people, "Look, each week I'm putting an empty envelope in all three of our services, and it represents what I've given." I tell the people, "The reason I put something in this is, we pray before we put anything in the offering. The reason we do that is because we believe that whatever we put in that offering container, God can do more with it than I can."
That's also the time you put prayer requests in. You're praying for someone, you want to put a prayer request card in, this is your opportunity to put that connect card in, because God can do more with that need than you can. In the same way, God can do more with my giving than I can with that money. I tell the people, "Go ahead. I want everybody to have something in your hands. If you're a guest here today, we're not after your money. Just have that connect card in your hand so we can be praying over your name, but if you're a regular attender, you have something to give, or you've already given, grab that empty envelope, put it in your hand. We're going to pray over what you've already given."
Now, what does that do? That gets us a big pile of empty envelopes. Yes, some people who are not giving anything and didn't give electronically, yes, they put an empty envelope in there. My secretaries fuss at me about that a little bit, but electronic giving has gone up dramatically. And, thus, when the summer rolls around, we do much better with electronic giving, even when people are on vacation. Yes, they connect with you personally, and I guess we can wrap that up. We've talked about that a whole lot.