Preparing for the Summer Offering Drought

 
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Summer is here! 

Summers are hot. Vacations abound. Church attendance, however, is often low and the offering is typically even lower. The finances of the church during summer months can be very challenging for pastors and finance committee members, particularly when both attendance and contributions are down substantially. Each year the same pattern of panic and apprehension takes over, until late summer, when members return from their vacation and weekend travel.

God blesses us with summer as a time for renewal, connecting with family, and vacation. For some, it is the perfect season to get away for personal time. However, even in the midst of our absence, the Lord’s work is still on-going and requires financial support. Ministry takes place whether we are present or not. Further, our support is vital to ministry in our community and beyond.

Years ago, I coined an acronym, “M.M.I.A. Season,” which is a code for members missing in action. That season often starts with Mother’s Day and may continue all the way through Labor Day. This season may cause angst, but fear not, there are two suggestions to lessen or eliminate the summer offering drought.

ONE:

Consider promoting e-giving or electronic giving in your newsletter, website, and other communication tools, not to mention during worship. Online giving or pre-authorized drafts allow consistent giving not only during summer months, but throughout the year. It may be too late for your congregation to establish and promote e-giving for this summer, but this is a giving option churches should afford their members. Actually, the Giving USA 2019 report indicates that online giving for religious organizations is growing faster than for other sectors, so if you are concerned online giving will not be a good resource for your congregation, current trends say it is growing in importance.

 
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Giving USA 2019

Online Giving to religious organizations increased at a greater rate than overall online giving. The average online gift size to religious organizations was also larger.

 

TWO:

If you notice your church finances are struggling this summer, you can also start planning how you will prepare for next summer now. For instance, pastors and finance committee members can mail a simple vacation letter, sharing how God has blessed many of us with opportunities to vacation, travel, and connect with family and old schoolmates. With the letter, include information about online giving and an envelope.  It is important for members to receive this letter before Mother’s Day, the unofficial start of the M.M.I.A. Season.

Remember, God has provided the financial resources to eliminate the summer offering drought; we need to be mindful of presenting our tithes and offerings, even during our absence.

Here are a few words you may want to consider including in the closing of your vacation letter:

“God has never taken a vacation or a sabbatical; let’s support God’s church while we are on vacation.”

 

 
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By: Melvin Amerson

The Rev. Melvin Amerson is a member of the Texas Annual Conference and serves as a Resource Specialist/Area representative at TMF. His experience and passion lie in encouraging and developing generous, faithful leaders and congregations.

Amerson is the author of Celebrating the OfferingFruit for Celebrating the Offering and Stewardship in African American Churches: A New Paradigm, as well as several articles covering topics from generosity, leadership and visioning. Currently, he serves as a board member of the Ecumenical Stewardship Center and is a nationally-recognized generosity consultant known for his engaging presentations.