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8 Elements of Effective Offering Talks (Plus 8 Example Scripts!)

8 Elements of Effective Offering Talks (Plus 8 Example Scripts!)

The three minutes before you receive the offering at your church are incredibly important. You need to craft that experience with the same intentionality that you give the core message for the service. Ensuring the “offering talk” is done well every week will boost the resources you have for your ministry and ensure people understand this vitally important aspect of your church service. Here are eight elements of effective offering talks … plus some example scripts:

  • Express thanks! // Take some time to thank people for supporting the mission of your church. There are a lot of worthy Kingdom causes that people could give to and it’s an honor when they give to your ministry.
    • Example: “We know that you work really hard! We’re honored that you give to what God is doing at our church. I want you to know that we’re going to work hard to leverage your gift wisely in our mission. Thank you.”
  • Get personal // People will give to an important cause … but they love to give to a personal story. Connect how the offering makes a difference to individuals in your community.
    • Example: “Last weekend our student ministry had an amazing retreat. Did you know that your offerings helped support students who couldn’t otherwise have done so go on that trip? Let me read this email from a student about how the retreat made a difference in her life …”
  • Reduce pressure but don’t ask them not to give! // We want to be clear that we’re not after first-time guest’s money since this is a common criticism of churches. However, we never want to ask people not to give to the church. They are giving to God’s mission and we don’t want to stand in the way if they sense God is asking them to give.
    • Example: “If you are new here at our church, we want you to know that we’re not after your money! Your presence is a gift to us … thank you for being here. Please don’t feel any pressure from us to give today.” (It’s subtle but the words “don’t give today” aren’t said.)
  • Receive … don’t collect // The phrase “we’re going to collect today’s offering” is a pet peeve of mine. We’re not a collections agency! People are choosing to give to the church … receive that offering!
    • Example: “In just a few moments we’re going to ask our ushers to receive today’s offering …” (Bonus idea: Have your ushers come to the front of the room before your offering talk for a visual cue that you are leading up to receiving the offering.)
  • Report on projects // Some things in the life of your church take a while to come to fruition. Use the offering set-up to report on the progress of a special project and connect people’s giving to it.
    • Example: “Did you know that our missions team is working on launching a series of new trips next year? This is part of our desire to take the compassion of Jesus around world! This past week, our team was in Nicaragua doing some advance work with our partners on the ground there … learning how we can serve them best. Thanks for giving today because you are helping this sort of work take place all around the world!”
  • Don’t just tell, show // People are visual learners. If it’s important enough for you talk about, it’s important enough for you to find a visual hook for the message. Put up a slide on the screen or bring something on stage for people to look at during the offering talk.
    • Example: “Check out this photo I took last week while visiting our kid’s ministry. There is so much I love about this photo! Your support of this ministry is making this happen. Esther is up on stage during our Superhero Sunday … dressed in a fun costume leading some kids in a song about the fact that Jesus is more powerful than Superman. Look at how those kids are engaged in learning about Jesus in a really fun way! This wouldn’t happen without your support. Our kids’ environment is paid for by this offering … the training for our team is provided by this offering … by giving today you are supporting the next generation here at our church. Thank you.”
  • Clarify the vision // The offering talk is an ideal time to loop back on why your church exists. What is your unique place in the community that you serve? How are you making a difference in this world?
    • Example: “Here at our church, a big part of our vision is to take church to the people … to make the message of Jesus super accessible to our community. By giving to the offering today you are helping us as we support the new campus that we’re opening next weekend. Thank you for taking church to the people!”
  • Don’t make people guess how to give! // You cannot make this too simple. Show people exactly how they can give to the mission of your church. Remind them that they can give not only through the offering plate but also online, in the mail and whichever other ways are possible. Reduce friction and don’t make them guess.
    • Example: “I want to remind you that there are four ways you can give at our church: in the offering plate that our ushers will pass in a moment or with the postage-paid envelopes we provide or on our safe and secure website … plus we have the new giving kiosk out in the foyer.”

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9 Comments

  1. Good reminders here – this is all stuff we talk about in the fundraising biz and good to remember it applies to churches too! A great quote I saw today from Tom Ahern (http://aherncomm.com/news.php) about this:
    “When asked, what’s the single biggest reason donors say they stop giving to an organization? Over-solicitation. But ask them what that means and they explain, ‘They asked me for another gift before they told me what they did with the last one.’ So over-solicitation is really under-communication and failed donor stewardship.”
    People stop giving to a charity because they ask them too often without telling them what was done with their money. Yet churches ask every single week and sometimes forget to share what they did last week with it.
    So let’s tell lots of stories and inspire people to give to the exciting things that are going on!

  2. Thanks Rich this is excellent material. We are part of Giving Rocket and are trying to implement giving talks. What you shared is very helpful and practical.

    • Thanks for dropping by Allan!

      What did I miss in this post? Anything else that you’ve found as a critical part of these offering talks?

      Rich

  3. Under the heading of “Show. Don’t Just Tell”… I make it a point to model giving, myself. I am the first person to place offerings in the offering plate each Sunday. That way (I hope) people see me as a fellow-giver who practices what he preaches.

    • Great call! You can only lead people where you’ve been. Love it.

      Rich

  4. I like how Louie Giglio’s church calls the offering and “opportunity to give.”

    • Great language! I’m a big believer that language shapes culture … we have to find ways like that to frame experiences for our people!

      – Rich

  5. I love it, very simple practical ways to help create generous givers. Simple things that we all probably rarely think of. I wonder if the volunteer core would increase as a result of this as well. People seeing where their money goes and what’s getting done.

  6. Rich,

    Are you looking at 8 elements being present in each or a majority of talks or are the 8 elements more like 8 different talks or talk directions that you can give?

    thanks.

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