I became the lead pastor of Lakeview Assembly of God in May of 2013. After jumping in the hot seat, I quickly realized our missions program didn’t exist! Missions giving was $0 in 2012, and we had to change. The problem was where to begin.
Everyone in church can give $5 a month to missions, so that’s where we started. If you can get your foot in the door with something that everyone can do, you can grow from there. The biggest hurdle to get over when starting a culture of missions giving is the first gift. After only 6 months of pushing this way, our church gave $1551 to missions in 2013! Same people, different mindset — leadership matters.
Small to Big
In 2013, we encouraged people to give more. Now that a culture of giving was established, going from $5 to $10 a month was easy! I realized people gave what I asked — no less, and sadly, no more. Why? Because leaders are the lid on what their people will do. If you keep your goal small too long, so will they. I set a goal and we achieved it; now I had to stretch them with a new goal. Our church size hasn’t grown significantly, but for the last two years missions giving has been over $10,000! We’re basically the same group yet doing much more.
BGMC and STL
Every church should do something with BGMC and STL, even if you have no kids or youth! These dollars support the same missionaries that come and speak in your church and are on your missions wall. Our plan is simple: we give to both of these out of our general missions budget. Then we try to offset it with fundraisers and offerings we receive in kids church and youth group.
Set up your giving automatically so missions dollars get to where they are supposed to go every month. Don’t save it all up until December, and make sure your bookkeeper actually sends in the money! (That was an issue for us) Let’s say you anticipate giving $750 to STL this year but aren’t sure. Set up a $50 a month automatic donation on AG.org, and you’ll give $600 over the year. Then in December, whatever you have that’s over the $600, send in as a One-time gift. This ensures money gets to the field every month, makes it easier on your bank account, and if you forget your December one time gift, you’ve at least passed on most of the funds.
We can all do something! Grow from wherever you are, and remember that we are better together!