If you’re part of a congregation, no doubt people are starting to talk about program plans for the year ahead. But whatever you initiate, people will need to keep supporting it to keep it going. That requires personal investment in the idea, awareness of the purpose, commitment from volunteers, and enough money for staff time and materials. So how might you keep the excitement going?
One important way is to put teasers in weekly e-newsletters, on screens or in bulletins, as well as articles and photos on your website and social media. Show the results of members’ support with photos and short stories, changing them often and allowing different people to share from their points of view.
The General or Unified Budget can be the hardest to describe. Just think of all the specific things it makes possible and why those are important to the people and fit with their values.
Wherever you have a place for monthly messages, you can adapt these statements below to keep the congregation involved:
1. We support a wide spectrum of local ministries when we give to God through our General Budget. We touch one another person-to-person, ranging from Bible studies to community emergency response; from pastoral counseling to deepened worship; from local mission to witnessing through our website. Thank you for your presence through these and other ways!
2. Thanks to your support, the [name of your women’s organization] offers community, learning, and ways to reach out to women of all ages in our congregation and throughout this area.
3. Thanks to your financial support, we are reaching out in love to people we haven’t even met in person. Our newsletter and church website don’t just pass on information. They also witness far beyond our walls or congregational activities, reminding all who view them who they are and to Whom they belong.
4. When we underwrite our local church budget, we empower witnessing in vibrant ways, such as [List three specifics]. People view or come to these events who do not regularly attend any church, and so hear the Good News of God’s love in Jesus Christ.
5. When we give to our congregation’s General Budget, we empower the [men’s group in your congregation] to reach out to the entire church and to encourage relationships with men throughout the community. Just think of [a couple of specific events]– all to connect with people and to “lift up one another in love.”
6. Mission isn’t just far away – it also happens right in our community. When we give to God through this local church, we feed and clothe people right here in the community through [name up to three examples] and so much more. Through your giving, you help it happen!
7. Thanks to your giving, our congregation can provide learning opportunities for maturing disciples, such as [list examples with children, with youth, with adults].
8. Lights, heat and welcoming buildings are essential to our ministry. Thanks to your financial support, we can use our facilities for person-to-person ministries within their walls. They serve as a ministry headquarters for us all to go out into our community and reach out into the world. Thank you for your giving!
9. Worship cannot happen without the Holy Spirit, but it takes people’s involvement to design worship services that invite us all to open our hearts and lives to the Spirit’s work. For example, the new banners for Lent remind us of Jesus’ journey to the cross for us. [Adapt to the season you’re in now.] Thank you for supporting our local church budget, which makes such inspiring worship pieces possible.
10. Thanks to your financial support, our hard-working Trustees have materials with which to work, to enhance our worship and service together. For example, [list two examples of improvements in the worship space or extend it to your music ministry] make it possible for people to participate fully in worship, to hear the Good News, and to join in while singing God’s praise!
11. We are delighted to offer [name of a small group, Bible study, or Church school class], and are grateful for [teachers’ names] leadership. We are also grateful to you, who support our local church General Budget, so we can provide the curriculum, materials, and group space. We are “making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world!” [Adapt this to your church’s mission statement.]
12. What does money have to do with ministry? A lot, if we want to reach out with the right tools and training for faithful discipleship and growth. For example, your consistent giving to our local church budget made it possible for us to purchase the One-Room Sunday School [or name another] curriculum, and to maintain the lovely facility in which our Sunday school gathers. Thank you, one and all!