Time flies whether you are having fun or not. This year is now three months in. The question that this post is entitled with is an apt one. How is your church's giving with three months down and nine to go?
If you don't know, please stop reading this, go find out and then come back. The sad reality is that many pastors have no clue how giving is going. That is one reason I seldom ask a pastor about his giving. First, most don't know and those that think they domost of the timehave no real clue. Don't be one of those pastors.
The trend might not be your friend
Stock market junkies use the term, "The trend is your friend." By that they mean that if a stock is trending up or down, you can tell a lot about whether or not you want to buy or sell. In church stewardship, giving has trends too. However, the trend of your giving might not be friendly towards making this year's budget. Your church's trends three months into the year are setting the stage for what you can and cannot do with regards to missions and ministry. Can you know for sure at the end of March that you will be able to fully fund all the summer initiatives?
Your trends will tell you whether or not you will make budget this year
Knowing your trends allows you to make wise plans. A good stewardship plan will keep you in the black and fully fund all your missions and ministry for the year. It will also mean you get paid.
What should you be looking for?
There are some key markers that pastors need to be aware of. Here is a brief list:
The simplest analysis is, "Are you ahead or behind your projected budget?"
Analyze the first 12 weeks of the year with last year's first 12 weeks. Are you ahead or behind last year's pace?
What are your weekly average gifts this year compared to last year?
Is what you are bringing in weekly going to sustain your budget needs for the entire year?
Analyze how many giving units you have now as opposed to last year. Are you increasing or declining in that area?
If you are behind budget now, does your past history show that giving picks up later in the year?
There are lots of other questions that you want to ask, but those basic ones should get you started towards a realistic appraisal of where you stand. If you are behind, now is the time to act so that you can catch up. By now you have established a trend. You need to know if that trend is consistent with past years. There are nine months left in the year to ensure that you fully fund your missions and ministries. Act now so that you can be assured that the work of your church is accomplished.
Three months into the year, how is your giving?
Mark Brooks is founder and president of Atlanta-based The Charis Group (www.TheCharisGroup.org ) and Charis Giving Solutions. Follow Brooks on Twitter @StewardshipMan or contact him at Mark@TheCharisGroup.org.