Use Testimonies to Improve Your OfferingsMark Brooks
Here is my tip of the day to improve giving, use testimonies to improve your offerings.
My mentor in the stewardship field, Dave Sutherland, use to say, “Nothing moves a heart like a heart that has been moved.” We used testimonies regularly in our work with churches and their capital stewardship campaigns. You see when you the preacher get up and tell people to give everyone thinks you have a vested interest, your salary! When a layperson gets up and tells about how God has moved in their lives to give AND that they are continually blessed the average member sits up and takes notice. Testimonies are a powerful tool to reinforce your teaching on generosity. It is sad that testimonies, of any sort, have fallen by the wayside.
When I devise giving plans for churches I always build in at least one testimony a month on giving. If you are in a capital stewardship campaign you should have at least one a week leading up to the commitment time. Here are some thoughts about how to use testimonies as a powerful tool to motivate giving.
Ask your financial person to give you a list of faithful givers. You can have them alphabetize it to protect knowing what they give if that is important to you. Don’t simply make it your top donors as some of the best testimonies will come from folks who are on a fixed income or do not make significant dollars.
After you have your list pray about who would be a good person to ask to share their testimony of giving. After you feel led to a person visit with them about their giving history and hear their stories. This will give you a feel for how to use their story to effectively motivate others.
Schedule at least one giving testimony a month and recruit who you want to share well in advance. You cannot spring this on lay people. Give them enough time to prepare what they are going to say.
Work with them on what you want to be shared. No testimonies are better than a bad testimony. So help them prepare for what they are going to share. A good testimony should be one to two minutes in length. It should contain thoughts about how they became convinced to give. What giving has meant to them. How God has rewarded them for being faithful. Ask them to write out on one to two pages their thoughts. Don’t be afraid to make suggestions and edits for them.
Use testimonies creatively. If you have the ability you might want to video tape the testimonies. This way you can edit out the stammering and stuttering due to their nervousness. Another means that I have used is to stand next to the person and interview them. For instance you could introduce them and say, “Mark, I know tithing has always been something you believed in. Tell me how you learned to tithe.” Then you might ask, “Has it always been easy to tithe.” You get the drift. By utilizing the interview process you help them overcome their nervousness and you get to direct what they share.
Use testimonies in print. Another creative way to utilize testimonies is to have them written out and inserted into your bulletin or other print or media pieces. How about a testimony a month posted to your website? My point is that there are all sorts of ways to allow your faithful donors to motivate others through their testimony.
Testimonies are powerful tools for increasing giving awareness in your church. If Joe and Jane Layman can afford to tithe raising three kids and facing all the challenges I know they have been through, what is my excuse? Don’t think you have to be the only one sharing about the importance of giving. Find out about the stories your donors have and let them tell their stories. It will increase your giving. It will also make your offering time more exciting and in the end more effective.
Mark Brooks- The Stewardship Coach
Find out how my plans can help you increase giving at your church here, https://acts17generosity.com/memberships/