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Case Study: Use Words That Frame Giving

20 Jun. 2013 Posted by Denis Greene in Success Stories

Church Development shares a case study from a Methodist church that has shaped their members thinking about giving over the last 10 years.

In the last blog, I included some different techniques for visual, auditory and kinesthetic (touch-based) learners. While I’ve provided many ways to build a culture of generosity in your church over the course of this blog, I find it handy to share church case study successes:

Church of the Resurrection, on of the largest Methodist churches in the U.S., no longer uses the phrases ‘tithing’ or ‘stewardship.’ They talk about ‘generosity.’ Instead of ‘pledges,’ they use the term ‘estimate of giving.’ While this may seem like semantics, they words you use in this sensitive area of giving can have a larger impact than you might think.

Their Pastor of Generosity, Dr. Clayton Smith, carefully selects words that frame giving in a manner that fits their members’ way of thinking. Their annual budget of over $10 million grew an average of 5% each year over the past 10 years. You might think that the message would wear out, but God honored this diligent pursuit.

Their leading-edge approach to worship and ministry has attracted thousands of new families in the past five years, especially those in the 25 to 45 demographic. As noted in a previous blog, ‘tithing’ is a concept that appeals to the Greatest Generation, ‘stewardship’ appeals to the Baby Boomer generation, and ‘generosity’ appeals to those under the age of 45.

Church of the Resurrection demonstrates that understanding their membership demographic well enough to speak in relevant terms can make a huge difference in giving levels. How about your church? Do you know the terminology that can reach the varying demographics?

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Denis Greene is the Founder and President of Church Development.  He is the author of The Stewardship SystemStewardship-Based Capital Campaigns, and How To Ask For Donations as well as numerous articles on stewardship. Denis has helped over 200 churches across the USA raise more than $200,000,000. 

A complete list of Church Development’s services (including capital campaign management and consultation, feasibility studies, and year-round stewardship ministry programming) is available here.