A giving challenge is an ideal way to get hesitant members to commit to giving for a specified period of time and to re-engage those who may have fallen off. The best way to introduce a giving challenge is to tie it in with one of your messages or testimonies on stewardship.
Turn your people’s attention to the idea of honoring God with their finances, and then immediately encourage them to begin giving. The key is to attach a time frame to the challenge. Then, ask them to trust God and commit to giving for two months, four months or six months – whatever length you want. By the time the challenge is over, God will have proven himself faithful in their giving and they won’t want to stop.Turn your people’s attention to the idea of honoring God to their finances. Click To Tweet
The first true tithe challenge we ever did at The Journey is one of my favorite stories. During the second message in the two-part series on stewardship, we decided to really hit hard on the importance of bringing the full tithe to God. My executive pastor started the message by talking about the history of the tithe and how God deserves our best rather than our leftovers. Then I came out to do the second part of the message and laid out the tithe challenge. I barely even mentioned giving for the first time or regular giving. Instead, I shot right to the heart of the issue and let everyone know they should be tithing.
My goal was to challenge everyone in the congregation to commit to tithing for four months. This message was delivered in September, so I was asking them to faithfully give the first 10% of their income for September, October, November, and December. I knew that, if they agreed, by the end of the four months, the tithe would be a regular part of their lives. I called on them to be generous. I called on them to be the people God created them to be. By the time I finished issuing a challenge, I had set the bar pretty high. I was hoping that at least 40 or 50 people would be willing to jump over it. 50 new tithers would’ve really have been something to celebrate.
Are you ready for this? By the end of the day services, more than 300 people committed to the tithe challenge. I was eager to leave 50 people to God’s plan for stewardship but, as usual, his vision was bigger than mine. The next Sunday, I talked about the challenge again. Another hundred people took the challenge. All in all, we ended up with just over 400 people committed to our four-month tithe challenge.
Did that many people take a chance because of my eloquence and brilliant articulation of the principle of tithing? Absolutely not. All I did was try my best to feed my sheep the truth about giving, make that truth relevant to their lives, and call them to action. People want to grow; they respond to well-presented challenges that will help them honor God with their lives.
– Nelson Searcy and Jennifer Dykes Henson
The above excerpt is from pgs. 120-121 of The Renegade Pastor: Abandoning Average in Your Life and Ministry.
Drawing from Nelson Searcy’s decades of ministry experience, The Renegade Pastor is a relevant, step-by-step resource for church leaders who are ready to step up in surrender to the pursuit of God’s best for his or her life and work.
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