Generosity Labs Podcast // The Ultimate Litmus Test For This Coming Sunday

Tune in to this the most recent episode of our Generosity Labs with Kenny Jahng. In this episode, Kenny will share 8 points from an article at Barna entitled, What Motivates Christians to Give.

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TRANSCRIPTION

It’s generosity time. It’s time for the Generosity Labs podcast. Thank you so much for tuning in. Wanting to share this study that I found out over at Barna. It was actually titles what motivates Christians to give, and it was released around Giving Tuesday of this past year, which is the Tuesday after Cyber Monday, Monday after, what’s it, what is it after Thanksgiving and Black Friday. And so the question, what motivates Christians to give us a great one? And as we go into 2019, there’s a bunch of questions that I’d love to challenge you as you go to church this Sunday. Are you demonstrating the answers to these questions of what motivates Christians to give? So they had one, they have this great article you should read the whole thing of the name of the article again is What Motivates Christians to Give. It’s in their culture and media section over at Barna and there’s one question in particular. I first got involved with a cause because, and then they do all these splits between practicing Christians and all US adults. And practicing Christian Christian is just to let you know they define it in this article as somebody that’s self identified as Christian who says their faith is very important in their lives and have attended a worship service in the past month.

Nonpracticing Christians are self identified Christians who do not qualify as practicing. So, we’re looking at Christians and adult behavior. The question is I got, I first got involved with the cause because I first got involved with a cause because fill in the blank. And so, I want to go down this list. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight factors. Eight, fill in the blanks. And here’s the question I’ll challenge you with is, on Sunday when you go to church, can somebody who sits there in the pew for the first time or for the 10th time or the hundredth time? Can they say yes to any or even half of these questions? So, the first question, the first answer is I felt I could make a difference. So in your church services, in your church communications, in your storytelling, are you demonstrating that any individual that gets involved with tithing, with their offerings, with donations, with volunteering, that are you making a space for them to actually make a difference?

Or are you just asking them to fund your mission and you’ll go off and do a turnkey? A second one is I heard or saw a story that moved me. Storytelling examples, case studies, testimonials, are you publishing these things on a regular basis? Are you asking people to share their experience as they volunteer, as they give, as they fund your ministry? Number three, I felt an overwhelming sense of purpose. And an overwhelming sense of purpose, so this really comes down to clarity of vision casting, sharing what your mission is for the ministry. Has that been done in a credible way and authentic way so that sound feels that there’s this overwhelming sense of purpose in this place when they visit you for that hour on Sunday. Next one is, someone I know personally wasn’t very involved in this cause. And so that’s where you need to take advantage of those volunteers that you have already, those committed even staffers and are they sharing about their involvement?

Are they sharing their excitement? Are they sharing what their passion i?s and the reason why they are onboard with the mission, with those people around them. Those people that are active are your referral engine. They are the people that you need to rely on and equip, not just instruct. You need to equip them in better sharing. Exactly what they’re doing, why they’re doing, and how other people could get involved. Giving is obviously one of those things. And people don’t give unless they have this sense of cause and that they see others doing it at the same time. And so here’s the next one. I love this one. I first got involved with the cause because I accepted a personal challenge to get involved. Are you afraid of the money topic? Are you not going to the actual call to action, but just stopping, just shy of it because you feel guilty or you just don’t feel it’s right not to personally challenge people to get involved with funding your mission, whether it be a small campaign, whether it be the big picture, whether it be as a part of their own spiritual discipline because how you behave with your money is a reflection of your heart in their understanding of God’s love and generosity.

Are you actually doing that on a personal level? Are you challenging people explicitly to get involved financially? Even, any church can do this on a week by week basis without making it an obligation fest. This next one is very important. My church cast a vision for me. I think this is the one thing that many churches completely forget about. The leadership team or the senior pastor might have something in their mind, but they’re not sharing it. They’re not articulating it. In fact, what we say is that there’s usually something called vision leak in most organizations and that you need to repeat it and make sure everyone is indoctrinated with the vision that you have for the community, once at least every six to eight weeks. Because of a variety of factors, one, people are not coming to church every week anymore.

They’re catching it every other week, every three weeks, you know, once a month. That’s the new norm. And second there is visually, there’s just so much messaging they’re bombarded with. They’re busy with their lives more than ever for them to understand and hold onto what you are trying to instill in their lives and practice as a ministry gets lost. And so just that practical effect of visionlink is something that you need to figure out how to do it in a intentional, almost scheduled where every six, eight weeks within your ministry somehow. It can be from the pulpit that can be from outside of the pulpit, but can someone can so and say, “yes, my church actually cast a vision for me”. The next one is, I was given or assigned a specific task to do. Micro commitments are one of the best ways of getting people involved.

It doesn’t need to be financial commitment at the beginning either. Usually it’s a commitment of time, of volunteering of some other type of talents before you actually asked them to give a treasure. So, giving or specific tasks or assignments, some projects involving people in the ministry. And the activation of putting their faith into action is usually a great way to start that process of opening up the stewardship conversations and letting them dedicate all their lives holy, not just their schedule, their time, their mind and their heart, but also part of their wallet too, to financially support the mission. And the last one here is, I took a foreign trip and saw the need firsthand, mission trips. There’s pros and cons of mission trips. There’s a big debate whether or not short term mission trips are actually doing any good or even harm, but you don’t need to take a foreign trip.

You might do an open house. You might actually take one or two at a time and let them invite them to visit your ministry outreach, where the acts of transformation are happening in your ministry to witness that firsthand. The whole point here is they saw the need firsthand not reported, not in a slideshow, not in a slick video. It needs to be something that they see physically, tactically in person, embodied, so that they actually see the need firsthand and go back and start to consider it and integrated into their faith life. And so these are really interesting things. Obviously the ones at the beginning of the list are the most impactful. The first, I first got involved with the cause because of these first three I would say I felt that can make a difference. I heard or saw something that moved me or I felt an overwhelming sense of purpose are three things that you can start to do with your messaging, with your communication, with intentionality in your worship and the stories that you tell in your sermons, in your offering time.

You know, the little offering scripts that you might be using in your announcements and also reporting of all the great things that your ministries are doing inside your building and outside your building. I challenge you to take a look at this article. There’s a lot more to it than just this one survey question, but as we break this down, this is my question too, are the majority of the people that walk into your building on Sunday this coming Sunday, are they going to walk away and they say, “I felt I could make a difference and part of this community”? Or, “I saw or heard something that moved me today in terms of wanting to get involved” or, “I felt an overwhelming sense of purpose in this place or this community for everything that they’re doing in terms of mercy and justice and outreach and life change”.

Can you say yes? Is that something that the majority of people will on an exit survey, you know, on a volunteer basis they will volunteer to say yes to those questions without being prompted by you without being coached, without being reminded. That is one should be one of your top messaging and communications goals going forward to see what type of artifacts, what type of storytelling, what type of conversation pieces, what type of messaging that we can integrate into their whole experience when they come into our building on Sunday so that they leave and they say yes to every single one of those statements.

So, I would love to know your thoughts. Leave your comments below and share this with friends and see what they think. It’s great. I think conversations started to say, “hey, is this is a different way of doing a checkpoint in ministry and I’d love to hear your feedback and what you think about using this as a litmus test as to see if you’re on track”. I’d love to hear that in the comments below, or reach out to me directly or join our Facebook page for Generosity Labs and comment there as well. I’m Kenny Jahng for Generosity Labs. Go to our website, generositylabs.org. Check out the blog, check out the rest of the podcast issues, and I’d love to reach out and connect with you further in any of those places. Thanks for listening and we’ll catch you here next time at the generosity labs podcast.

HIGHLIGHTS:

03:16 So,  the first question, the first answer is I felt I could make a difference. So in your church services, in your church communications, in your storytelling, are you demonstrating that any individual that gets involved with tithing, with their offerings, with donations, with volunteering, that are you making a space for them to actually make a difference?

Or are you just asking them to fund your mission and you’ll go off and do a turnkey?

03:50 Storytelling examples, case studies, testimonials, are you publishing these things on a regular basis? Are you asking people to share their experience as they volunteer, as they give, as they fund your ministry?

04:06 Number three, I felt an overwhelming sense of purpose. And an overwhelming sense of purpose, so this really comes down to clarity of vision casting, sharing what your mission is for the ministry.

04:31 Next one is, someone I know personally wasn’t very involved in this cause. And so that’s where you need to take advantage of those volunteers that you have already, those committed even staffers and are they sharing about their involvement?

05:28 And so here’s the next one. I love this one. I first got involved with the cause because I accepted a personal challenge to get involved.

06:31 This next one is very important. My church cast a vision for me. I think this is the one thing that many churches completely forget about. The leadership team or the senior pastor might have something in their mind, but they’re not sharing it.

07:17 And second there is visually, there’s just so much messaging they’re bombarded with. They’re busy with their lives more than ever for them to understand and hold onto what you are trying to instill in their lives and practice as a ministry gets lost.

07:59 The next one is, I was given or assigned a specific task to do. Micro commitments are one of the best ways of getting people involved.

It doesn’t need to be financial commitment at the beginning either.

08:54 And the last one here is, I took a foreign trip and saw the need firsthand, mission trips. There’s pros and cons of mission trips. There’s a big debate whether or not short term mission trips are actually doing any good or even harm, but you don’t need to take a foreign trip.

GENEROSITY SPOTLIGHT: Nikki Flaming from MortarStone

As a generosity advocate, Niki Flaming aims to build a platform that provides unique data insights to help anyone better connect with givers. We caught up with her to find out more about this discipleship-driven, stewardship management platform, Mortarstone.

How do you define generosity?
Generosity is the virtue of not being tied down by concerns about one’s possessions. Generosity leads to charity and forgiveness.

The landscape of generosity is changing. What is one thing you’ve adjusted in your leadership or teaching when it comes to talking about generosity with your tribe?
Generosity is the stewarding of a person’s heart. We teach stewardship through the lens of generosity, in that all we have is God’s and we should steward our resources for His purpose.

What is one thing that’s working right now that you have seen about implementing digital giving tools and methods in a church community?
Push notifications, text-to-give, and online recurring payments.

To find out more about Niki Flaming and MortarStone, visit their Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn pages.