October 12, 2020
Stewardship During the Pandemic
In the beginning phases of the pandemic as our churches started closing, there was a lot of concern from church leadership about the financial stewardship from our members. This concern was not misplaced, many churches pre-pandemic were not able to meet their monthly commitment based solely on giving from congregants. Many were surmising that the fall-out would be permanent church closures.
So how would the pandemic impact these categories of givers:
1. The many faithful who pledge and fulfill that commitment
2. Those who do not pledge and are regular givers
3. Many who give only when they are physically present at the church service
4. Others who are unable or unwilling to contribute
Solely based on my conversations, experiences and observations, there is reason for hope. The regular pledgers and givers found a way to get their contributions to the church, many by US mail, others dropped off at the church, others were picked up by church members especially from those most vulnerable. The online givers and automatic payments continued without disruption. In some cases, contributions increased due to more disposable income from those spending less in other areas of their lives. For the occasional or non-givers, there continues to be opportunities to further influence their giving as would be the case pre-pandemic.
Lessons learned thus far:
1. Meaningful worship experiences result in more giving before, during and after the pandemic.
2. Many had an increase in church attendance with online services, therefore processes should be put in place to reach these new attendees.
3. Most need to prioritize investments to receive funds electronically, on website, social media as well as through cash applications, especially for younger members.
4. Exploring creative solutions to supplement traditional giving is necessary.
5. Opportunities to decrease or eliminate building expenses should be examined.
6. Stewardship initiatives need to be year-round before, during and after the pandemic.