Five ideas for beating the summer giving slump

“God never estimates what we give from impulse. We are given credit for what we determine in our hearts to give; for the giving that is governed by a fixed determination.” – Oswald Chambers

Helping our people experience the timeless truth of moving from impulse and haphazard giving to systematically and joyfully giving is a continuous process.  

We see this in Paul’s writings:

“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (II Corinthians 9:7)

“On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come.” (I Corinthians 16:2)

Summer is an excellent time to reinforce this principle in the hearts of your people in a way that is inspiring and instructing. Here are five ways to leverage the summer slump to train and motivate your people in the area of consistency in their giving.

1. Get better at vision casting on all levels.

Kennon Callahan writes, “A clear vision of mission will be decisive in fostering your congregation’s capacity for giving.” Vision is always asking the “whys” not the “hows.” A compelling vision moves people on a heart level as well as makes sense on a head level. Crafting your vision through multiple mediums is critical to the process. 

  • How are you at telling your vision?
    • Preaching
    • 2-minute giving talks
    • State of the church talks
  • How are you at writing your vision?
    • Newsletters
    • Membership letters
    • Leadership briefings
  • How are you at showing your vision?
    • Video
    • Testimonies
  • How are you at celebrating your vision?
    • Give and serve moments
    • Testimonies
    • Leadership celebrations


2. Manage your cash flow properly. 

Learning the giving rhythms in your church is critical and maintaining 120 days of expenses in your reserve account is important for peace of mind. Stressful appeals very rarely produce the results you desire. You don’t want to create a culture that the only time the church speaks about money is because they are in need. Need-based appeals reduce your vision to paying bills and not changing lives. Making mid-course corrections and spending freezes is a better use of the leader’s time than spending energy on need-based appeals. This will give you the freedom to deal with the money talks as an issue of spiritual formation rather than “help we are in trouble!”

3. Send out quarterly giving reports.

The whole purpose of sending out quarterly giving statements is to create a deeper vision of ownership throughout the church. This giving letter should include a well-written vision letter and thank you. It should include a giving statement and some type of teaching on tithing, generosity or ways to give to the church. 


4. Spend focused time with the 20% who give 80% of your budget.

Too many pastors are afraid to give focused attention to those carrying the bulk of the financial burden of the church. The stated reasons I have heard are: 1) I don’t want to be charged with favoritism, 2) I don’t trust my own heart, 3) I’m intimated by people of means.

My response to this objections is: grow up, pastor! Or, as the Apostle Paul wrote “act like men” (I Corinthians 16:13).

Investing time in people who are generous to your church is not favoritism — it’s wisdom. One pastor I know spends time with each of his core givers to assess that they are serving in the right areas to maximize their giftedness. If you don’t trust your own heart then, deal with it by confessing it and submitting to accountability over the issue. People of means need shepherds too. I remember visiting a couple in their home one evening (he had one of the top fifty salaries in our state). As we chatted over the evening, the wife said to me, “Thanks for coming. You are the first pastor to ever step into our home.”

  • How can you invest in your leaders relationally this summer?
  • How can you invest in your leaders spiritually this summer?
  • What could you do this summer to deploy or re-deploy them into service?


5. Help people automate their giving.

If your church does not have online giving, you are already 10 years behind. The failure to offer automated giving through online giving or electronic fund transfer (EFT) will hurt you in reaching and capturing the next generation. Every first-time giver should be given a “Ways to Give” document. One month a year could be an opportunity to promote “Let’s Go Green in our Giving” through emails, letters, announcements and giving talks.


Bonus: Don’t give into the summer slump mentality in your church. Keep the vision and mission red hot through strategic and creative outreach opportunities. Every summer, our church held a “Friends Sunday” which at times surpassed our Easter attendance for that year and propelled us to record attendance in the fall. Remember: a vision slump will always lead to a giving slump!


Additional Resources:

Church health is a serious issue

We are serious about strengthening our churches!

Why? Because scripture mandates it.

The Apostle Paul in his letter (actually a field manual) to Titus, who was serving as a regional leader on the island of Crete, charged Titus with the task of strengthening the churches there. He writes, “The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished…” Titus 1:5. Some commentators say that Titus was working with 100 churches or more on the island of Crete during his time there.

The phrase ‘straighten out’ (NIV) occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. “It means, properly, to make straight upon, and then to put further to rights, to arrange further.” (Robinson)

“‘Set in order’ (NASB) is an interesting Greek word, epidiorthoo. The first two, epiand dio are prepositions. The word orthoo is the word from which we get orthodontics, orthopedics and all of those mean straightening. When you go to the orthodontist, he straightens your teeth. When you go to the orthopedist, he straightens your bones. That’s what that means. So what he is saying intensified by two prepositions is ‘thoroughly and completely and fully straighten out what still isn’t straight.’ In ancient times that word was used by secular medical writers for the setting of bones or the straightening of bent limbs. So he says I want you to completely set things straight.” (MacArthur)

Titus’ commission was to establish and re-establish the foundations of the church in Crete for the purpose of seeing strong, gospel-centered churches that are missionally engaged.

How was Titus to strengthen the churches on the island of Crete?

  • Appoint leaders in every town (Titus 1:5-16).
  • He was to set forth the qualifications of healthy leaders (vs 5-9) and to deal decisively with the unhealthy ones (vs10-16).
  • Teach sound doctrine throughout the church (Titus 2:1-15).
  • He was to promote healthy thinking as well as healthy living (vs 1-10), which is found in the power and motivation of the gospel (vs 11-14).
  • Remind the people how to live out the gospel in this world (Titus 3:1-14).
  • He reminds them to “be ready to do good” (vs 2); to “be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good” (vs8) and “to learn to devote themselves to doing what is good” (vs 14).


In light of this scriptural foundation, we see church strengthening as a serious issue.

So what is a healthy church?

  1. It is led by healthy leaders who are examples to follow.
  2. It deals with rebellion quickly and courageously.
  3. It promotes sound doctrine (Strong Orthodoxy and Orthopraxis).
  4. It is intergenerational and branches beyond social structures.
  5. It promotes the centrality of the gospel as the fuel for sanctification and mission.
  6. It does not talk about mission, it fulfills the mission of God.

One of our core convictions is that no leader should lead alone. I believe this also translates onto a corporate level that no church should attempt to achieve that mission alone. Our desire is to walk alongside churches and to be a voice of encouragement, just as a coach calls out the best in them, or a friend is there to lean on.  

We are committed to starting and strengthening churches.

Reflective Questions:

  • How are you measuring the health of your church?
  • Do you know how to establish an annual church health rhythm?
  • How do you gather the opinions, feelings and attitudes of your people in a constructive way?
  • How do you use your annual ministry plan to improve the quality of your ministry?
  • Who do you trust to help you in evaluating the health of your church?

Three benefits of taking the Natural Church Development survey

May is “Church Health Month” around here at Converge MidAmerica.  It is a season in our calendar where we encourage churches to take a close look at both the quality and the quantity of their church’s ministry through taking the Natural Church Development Survey.  Here are a few quick reasons for you and your church to embrace this church health process.

1) It is based on the most comprehensive church health research ever done. 

Over 90,000 churches have completed NCD surveys around the world. Over 47,000 churches have completed NCD surveys in the USA. Dave Wetzler, the USA Director of Natural Church Develop, reports that when churches have completed 3 surveys and two full cycles of addressing the weak system, they have discovered through the process that they see 85% of them improving in quality and quantity both globally and here in the USA. 

They have also discovered that churches that plant daughter churches – they have an overall average score of 55 or higher. When a church has a score at 50 (average) or less, they are still very inwardly focused on their church, their health and their ministry programs. Once a church reaches a healthy average of 55, they become more outwardly focused in reaching other segments of the community or multiplying through church planting and mission efforts. Conversion growth increases and church planting increases. 

Every time a church takes an NCD Survey, it adds to the research and moves us from guessing to assessing. 

2) It separates fact from feelings

So many decisions are based on feelings rather than facts. The NCD survey takes all those feelings that are running through the minds and hearts of your people and quantifies them. 

Church Health is measured through hard data as well as soft data. The hard data is the key statistics you track as a church: attendance, offerings, new visitors, members, baptisms, small groups and leaders. So every church has its own dashboard of stats that they are looking at frequently.  

The soft data is the quality side of your services and ministries. It is people’s attitudes, feelings and perspectives towards the programs, process and the personnel of the church.

People’s real attitudes, feelings and perspectives are hard to determine at times, especially in a church. So how do you get below the surface of what people are thinking and expecting in your community of faith? 

The NCD Survey does this in a very positive and detailed way. It gives you an overall morale number for your church and then drills down in revealing what your people feel are the strengths and weaknesses of your church at this time. 

3) It provides a focused pathway to strengthen your church.

Once the feelings and perspectives of your people have been quantified, now the church can, with laser-like precision, focus on the systems within the church that are weak and need some attention.

All too often church leaders are guessing rather than assessing. They are going on a hunch rather than accurate data. This will always lead to a backlash against leadership initiatives and possibly leadership itself.  

When you listen to your people’s feedback, you honor them and create a deeper level of ownership in the ministry of the church.

Focusing on the feedback of your key leaders helps you develop an annual ministry plan – a plan with clear goals, deadlines and delegated assignments to improve the area your people identified as needing strengthening.

A little focus can make a lasting impact. For example, developing a 12-month ministry plan that focuses on raising the temperature of evangelism throughout every level of the church helps shape the culture and raises the effectiveness of the church.

This month, we have a special promotion for any churches registering for the Natural Church Development survey! Please contact Bryan Moak, VP of Church Strengthening, for more details.