Every church seems to go through a summer giving slump. People are on looser schedules, go on vacations, and sometimes forget to give to God's work in their church. Three years ago we decided to institute an initiative to curb that slump. We call our initiative the Summer Investment Plan. We landed on that name because we want to convey that when you give (the right way) to God's work, you get something back that's worth infinitely more than the money you gave. It's an investment with eternal reward.
The first year we gave away some beach themed promotional items like a plastic cup and a reusable shopping bag with our church's logo to help our people keep their church in mind while they're out and about. We also gave them some articles to help them model & teach their family stewardship. We even gave the kids a little bank to save their offering in throughout the summer.
Even though we've changed what we do from year to year, we've seen this initiative reduce that slump to more of a small bump in the road. This summer, we've got some really cool things planned.
For the Kids
Something that we've always tried to do is give parents the tools they need to teach their kids about stewardship using the save, spend, give model. In the past we've purchased banks branded with our logo and given parents craft instructions on how to make save, spend, give jars. Our Children's Pastor, Mark Gouge, has also written an incredible post on teaching your kids about stewardship. This year, we've decided to give our kids a pre-made save, spend, give tool: Moonjars.
After researching all the options I could find, I landed on Moonjar. It's simple, well-designed, and really affordable. To get them in bulk, they only cost $3.35 each (compared to other options out there that are well over $10 each). Once we get them in and distribute them, I'll give a more thorough review. However, I think they are the best solution if you're looking to equip your parents with a tool to teach their children about stewardship.
For the Adults
This year, we're going to be doing the coolest thing we've done so far. We're going to offer three different financial help seminars for our people: budgeting, retirement planning & estate planning. We'll also record these times so that people who miss out because of the normal summer activities can watch them later.
The whole idea here isn't just to do a big campaign about money to get people to give more. The Summer Investment Plan gives us an opportunity to add value to our people's lives. For the younger folks, we want to help them develop a budget and understand the way God wants us to handle our money. For our middle-aged folks, we want to help them be wise with their money so that they can be more generous. For our older folks, we want them to have a plan for their resources for when they go on to be with the Lord.
Finally, one other thing that you can make available to help your church be in a healthy financial position through the summer months is online giving. Make sure you have an easy-to-use, recurring online giving system & encourage people to use it. Recurring is the keyword here. That means your offering is given even if you forget. There are lots of great companies out there to help you facilitate online giving if you don't yet offer it.
What does your church do to make sure that ministry still happens in the summer?