The 1st 6 Weeks of the Year WILL Determine the Rest of Your Year

The 1st 6 Weeks of the Year WILL Determine the Rest of Your Year

You never have to recover from a good start. My mentor, Dave Sutherland, always said that. It’s good advice. I believe the first six weeks of the year could determine the success of your financial year.

January is next only to July as one of the more challenging months of your giving year. Why is that?

  • It typically takes people a couple of weeks to get over the holidays.
  • Right as people start returning to church, their credit card bills arrive for all the Christmas gifts purchased, causing giving stress.
  • In a typical year, you would lose at least one weekend due to inclement weather.
  • Now, with COVID ramping back up, you can expect attendance to be lighter than normal.

This might be our most challenging January ever. Which is why you need a good start.

How important is a good start? Amazingly, 3/4 of teams leading after the 1st quarter go on to victory.

I realize that is football and we are talking church but in my experience, the churches that struggle in the first quarter almost always struggle throughout the year. There is nothing worse than running from behind. It takes more effort to catch up and you are constantly at risk of falling further behind.

Let’s get ahead of the curve. If you know a curve is coming up in the road, you slow down before you are in the turn to navigate the curve. We know this will be a difficult first quarter. Let’s work out a plan of how to avoid running behind by setting the stage with the first six weeks.

Foundational Keys for Success – The following are foundational keys to starting toward giving success. First determine your:

Goals – I have a two-pronged goal for pushing for six weeks of stewardship emphasis. First, as your Stewardship Coach, it is to see that you have the full amount of funds you need to do what God has called you to do. The second is to help you help your members be good stewards. Next you need …

Focus – Your focus should not be on raising funds but raising vision! The best way to raise dollars is with a compelling vision. You’ll never develop stewards without first attracting them by a vision they can rally around. Your giving success is directly tied to the vision you advance.

I advise that you focus on at least three areas of ministry for the New Year. One of my clients sent out a giving appeal and one area they focused on was building out a digital student ministry platform. The appeal was for general giving but listing specific areas where the money will go helps donors see the impact of their gift. What missions and ministry initiatives do you have coming up in 2023 that you can highlight? Nothing raises dollars like a compelling vision. Don’t put your focus on money, but on vision and you’ll see a better start to your New Year of giving. Then you need to …

Plan – Without a plan of action to accomplish the above, all you have is a dream. I find that one major reason churches struggle financially is the lack of any plan. You can have the best goals in the world but without a plan you will seldom see success.

One of my Brooks mantras is, get a story, work your story, tell people your story and people will willingly give to support that story. Yet, how will they know your story unless you have a plan to tell them? So, let me rephrase my original mantra to say, get a plan and work your plan!

Check out this resource:

For playbooks filled with plans, many for free, go to

Finally, Just Do It! Remember that Nike line? The reason so many churches struggle financially is they do nothing. The days of doing nothing and still making budget are long gone. Often, churches shy away from any talk about giving as they don’t want to turn off guests. Guess what? That crowd is gone. They might come back, but that will never happen if your church cannot financially survive. So, start thinking now about your first six weeks of the New Year and how you can set the stage for financial success.