Getting Started & Gaining Momentum

My Story
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.
Start Small
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.
Get Practical
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!

Update your Faith Promises Online

THE PROBLEM Our missionaries depend on Faith Promises in order to be released to go to the mission field. The Assemblies of God has a great tool for setting up recurring giving transactions through the AG.org website. Unfortunately, the only part of the system that was connected with Faith Promises was to establish a new commitment. There was no way to manage all Faith Promises from a single location, until now!
THE PROCESS A little over a year ago I contacted the national office regarding this issue with some suggestions of how it could work.They responded immediately and a team was formed to tackle the task of combining two systems. Anyone who's worked on the back end of systems knows that a great deal of work goes into designing them to be easy for the user. After a year, the system went live the first week of April 2017.
THE SOLUTION To view, modify, or create new Faith Promises, all you have to do is go to ag.org and login to AG Giving by clicking their "Donate" button. On your account home screen, there is a new section titled "Faith Promises." This section shows all of your Faith Promises at one glance. You can add, modify, or remove commitments from here.
Perhaps the greatest feature is on the Recurring Transactions page. Here you can see what you are giving monthly automatically. Each transaction now shows a Faith Promise column. It's possible you've been giving monthly to a missionary and thought you had a Faith Promise set up, even though it's not. Now you can verify that at a glance.
CONCLUSION Using this new tool allows you to avoid having outstanding Faith Promises you knew nothing about, set up a Faith Promise for a missionary you've been supporting who was missing that piece, and modify your monthly support amounts for both your Recurring Giving and your Faith Promises all in one place. No need to call in changes or send in those forms anymore.
Do you have an idea to make something better? Pass it on. You never know where it will lead.