The end of every year is always a bittersweet time. We savor the rush and excitement of the holiday season though we know it will eventually end as January rings in. But the end of the year is a significant time because it is an opportunity to reflect on the year and discuss hopes for the one to come.
In the life of the church, the end of the year is significant for all these reasons and more. The holiday season is one of the busiest and most involved times of year for church leadership. Thanksgiving, Giving Tuesday, Advent, and Christmas services fill up a ton of time, resources, and headspaces in the lives of church leaders or volunteers. But the last Christmas service doesn’t mean the year is over!
The end of the year means there will be an influx of giving and generosity at your church. In fact, December is the biggest month for giving in non-profit organizations as a whole! Don’t believe us? Here are some statistics:
Whether the giving is due to meeting tax goals or genuine generosity, it stands true that the end of the year is a huge time for charitable giving. This is important for churches and other non-profits because this season determines a lot of the organization’s abilities to operate in the next year.
Year-end giving can make or break your organization. Although this time will naturally be a financially prosperous season, you can still do some things as an organization to utilize this time and finish the year off strong!
It may shock you a bit, but do you know that only 5% of churchgoers tithe? This number may vary depending on how you define a “regular churchgoer” or whether those that profess Christianity actually go to church at all. Regardless, it is staggering nonetheless that the majority of those who sit in the pews don’t regularly give 10% to their church.
This statement isn’t to cast judgment on those who do not give to their church, but it does point out that not many people have chosen to participate in generosity as it is laid out in the Scripture.
We get it, talking about money is awkward. It is one of the things, along with religion and politics, that you just aren’t supposed to discuss. But the thing we need to realize is that Jesus and the Biblical writers talked about money quite a bit. Jesus cuts to the quick when He declares in Matthew 6:21 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Jesus was pointing out that the issues of generosity are issues more of the heart than of the bank account. Giving is not something we do because we can “afford it” or because it is a religious obligation; we give because God freely gave it to us. We give because the very Giver of life wants us to use our resources to glorify Him and honor others.
When we understand that everything we have is given by God, it becomes much easier to open up our hands to give. This is an issue of the heart and heart issues cannot be fixed by a one-time sermon on generosity. It is a long process of continued discussion and real-life examples of generosity.
Cultivating this heart of giving is not necessarily a tactic to boost year-end giving as much as it is an essential starting point for consistent, heart-filled giving throughout the year.
Although regular tithing is not as normal as it certainly should be, there is still a consistent pattern of giving at the tail-end of the year. This is the time to leverage the momentum and plan a giving campaign for your church.
This giving campaign may be a bit similar to your Giving Tuesday campaign in that the goal is to work toward a specific project or purchase. People love a clear goal, so giving them something to set their sights (and their dollars) on is a great idea.
There are countless different ways you can go about the campaign. You can have a specific Sunday service where people bring in all of their year-end contributions or even a social media campaign where people are encouraged to donate online.
This campaign is the perfect opportunity for you to lay out the goals in your church or non-profit in the upcoming year. Maybe you want to purchase a new building, revamp the children’s ministry space, or open up a homeless shelter in the community. Giving your church members a goal to specifically give toward can make a huge difference.
While tithing and giving year-end gifts to your local church is extremely important, generosity is not just confined to these places. True generosity is something that spills out over you. Your money is meant to affect more than just you. You are blessed to be a blessing!
So in addition to your tithe and year-end giving contribution to the church, finish the year strong by giving back to your local community. You can give to the community center, homeless shelter, or even just a family in need that you may know.
One incredible way to cultivate generosity and give back locally is to do a special giving service at your church. Summit Church in Indiana, Pennsylvania hosts a special service where they bless their community workers in tangible ways.
Essentially, they will order some food or goodies from a local establishment like a restaurant or cookie shop. They invite the worker onto the stage and then the entire congregation gets to bless the delivery driver with a tip. This simple act is easy enough to execute but has a lasting impact on not only the worker but the congregation itself.
There are so many different ways you can express generosity in your community. No matter the amount, a pure heart behind giving is what makes all the difference.
Finishing the year strong through radical generosity sets the trajectory for the year to come. The funds that are collected in December will make it possible for the mission of your non-profit organization and church to move forward. Cultivating a heart for generosity, participating in a giving campaign with clear goals, and giving back to your community are all simple ways to finish off 2022.
The end of each year not only lends an opportunity for generosity, but also allows us to reflect on all that happened over the past 365 days. There have surely been many ups and downs, but we made it through another milestone nonetheless. As this new year approaches, we have the choice to be filled with absolute wonder or fear. There are surely a lot of unknowns in 2023, but we truly believe that the best is yet to come!
We hope in these next few days you will take some time to look back on the year, express your generosity, and look forward to the year to come!
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