It’s healthy to review our giving and our spending at least once a year, both as individuals and as churches. Many churches find it’s helpful to do this at a similar time each year. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s always done in the same way. Sometimes, it will be a light touch review, other years it may need to be a full giving programme.
There are a number of programmes available online to support you but equally, you may prefer to create something bespoke to your church.
Whichever programme you choose, it is important that you help people engage not only with the level of their giving; but with the theology, the link with discipleship and the overriding mission of the church. Giving to pay the heating bills might seem very important but what is the larger picture that the heating is enabling? This requires us to think about what the vision is for the church. What are the plans for the next few years and what is God calling your church to do? That helps us to think about what money and other resources that vision needs to be fulfilled, and how you might go about asking for it. When this vision is understood and well communicated asking for regular giving becomes a lot easier to do because we have a positive story to tell about what we will use it for.
Online Giving Programmes
Detailed below are three of the most popular Giving Programmes, each of which come with a series of templates for you to use to make life easier.
A comprehensive programme developed in 2005 by the Diocese of Liverpool, this is best suited to medium/large churches but contains sections and templates relevant to all.
Developed by the Church of England, this giving programme is particularly desigend for smaller or rural/village churches.
This programme is suitable for all churches and encourages each parish to discern its vision and future plans, as the focus for an increase in planned giving.
Giving for Life
When undertaking a giving review, it is can be helpful to reference the “Giving for Life” report. Originally published in 2009, this document helps parishes to review their approach to issues of stewardship and generosity, within the context of discipleship. The report was enthusiastically commended by General Synod and has since been updated in 2016.
A short guide for PCCs and an accompanying guide for leaders is available to download. In essence, Giving for Life is now a set of seven important stewardship principles, one of which is a recommendation that giving should be reviewed on an annual basis.
Giving for Life has also created some useful resources aimed at the wider congregation. It may be useful to distribute these leaflets as part of a giving review to help people reflect on their giving decision ahead of completing their response form.
Click here to order free copies for your church.