Now, on to our post…
Have you heard the phrase, “People give to vision“?
Solomon was undoubtedly correct in saying, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” (Proverbs 29:8) But what about giving? Do people give to vision? Or do they just perish without it?
As a new lead pastor, I was told to leverage vision to generate giving. More, people told me that my congregation would serve to vision, invite to vision, and connect in groups from vision.
So I studied vision casting. I worked hard to become clear, compelling, and concise. And I assumed, from what I had always heard, that vision would be sufficient to engage our church.
Seventeen years later, I’ve come to believe this is true, but only partially true.
Vision indeed plays a huge role in motivating people to engage. Vision is a picture of what could be fueled by a passion for what should be. Every organization, division, department, and position should operate from a place of mission and vision.
Vision can motivate giving, at least initially. But if we hope to engage our people in recurring and long-term giving, we need more than a slick, rhyming statement.
If we want engagement beyond the moment, we need to add something to our vision:
Here’s what I mean.
Suppose you have an incredibly compelling vision. When you say it, emotions increase, and movement is engaged (or considered). It’s exciting and articulate. It’s clear. And it’s even memorable. This type of vision is a great place to begin. Some people will give to it. At least once. But if the words remain only an idea, not reality, the giving will cease.
What drives real generosity is EXECUTED VISION.
When you, as a leader, can cast vision and create action, people will engage with their heart, head, and hands.
This is why we can’t keep our vision-oriented wins hidden. Celebrating every time your vision moves from a statement to substance is essential.
As a church, here are 6 simple ways to celebrate wins to inspire engagement:
1. Welcome Segment
Nearly every church has some form of welcome. And you should. It’s important to expect and welcome guests into your service. It’s also critical to set up the service and explain the day. But, your welcome can be more than information. When you understand the power of vision to action, you can use the welcome for information and celebration.
For instance, if you recently baptized people outside your church service, mention this in your welcome. Take it up a notch by sharing a story from that moment with some pictures or videos. Remember, the goal is to celebrate vision in action. Thank people for inviting friends and encourage them to continue participating. The welcome moment is not the best moment for making an ask. It’s excellent for celebration with a bit of inspiration, but not so much participation.
For that, we’ll move to the vision moment.
2. Vision Moments
Most church services follow a relatively predictable pattern (I’ve challenged being too predictable before). There’s a welcome segment, some worship, a vision and/or giving moment, the sermon, and dismissal. Sound like your church?
While the welcome moment is best utilized for information and celebration, the vision segment is perfectly designed for celebration, inspiration, and participation.
The worship set emotionally engages people. During the vision moment, this emotion helps you celebrate wins, inspire people to engage, and provide an easy step. Not to be manipulative, but people are more ready at this moment to consider a step than when they first walked into the church.
I see church after church after church incorporate celebration and inspiration but stop short of fostering participation. That is a waste of the moment. If something is worth celebrating, it’s equally worth participating. So show the student camp retreat celebration video, but wrap up the moment with a vision-centric moment that encourages giving.
Visions moments are when you celebrate, inspire, and encourage the crowd to participate.
3. End-of-Service Dismissal
The end of every service is thrown away by most churches. Now, there are certainly moments at the end of a service where we need to protect the moment. Not every church service is conducive to adding a next-step dismissal. But most are.
This isn’t a long-winded sales pitch, but more a quick reminder. Something like, “And on your way out, you’ll probably see lots of kids. Not a single one of them gave today! But you did, and you’re why they get to group up in a church like ours. Thank you.”
If you want to take it further, offer a “next step” conversation after the service. “Before you leave, I want to offer you an opportunity to learn a little more about giving at our church. Join me in (location), and, in 10 minutes, I’ll show you what happens at our church when you give.”
NOTE: Offering “next step” conversations on different topics in rotation is a great way to help people take a step.
4. Social Media
Social media is a terrible conduit for information. It is, however, designed for celebration. Likes, comments, and shares boost views that help the algorithm work in your favor. Rather than posting sermon quotes, why not try posting images and videos that celebrate the vision in action? And then invite people into a conversation. Remember, it is called “social” media, so make it emotional to make it more social.
On the other hand, email is the king of information. No algorithm controls your emails, and with attendance patterns waning, email is the only conduit that can reach nearly everyone associated with your church at one time.
Don’t fail to remember that all communication is an opportunity to cast vision and celebrate action. I challenge you to never send an email that doesn’t begin with a picture, story, or brief statement that shows your vision in action.
Structure your emails like this: 1) Vision in action. 2) Call to action. And then 3), Share your information.
In my “The Giving Funnel that Funds Your Church” MASTERCLASS GROUP EXPERIENCE, we talk a lot more about email strategies as part of a larger giving system.
6. Podcast Intros and Outros
Too many churches only post previous sermons on their podcast. That’s a wasted opportunity. When I work with churches on remodeling their church model, we talk extensively about how to best use this digital channel, but for the conversation, I’ll challenge you to consider adding an intro and outro to every podcast drop, specifically thanking people for “helping their church be such a great church by giving every week to make ministry happen.” Tell a short story when you can. Vision in action!
Share your vision in each of these spaces, but don’t stop short of execution and action. Remember, people don’t give to vision more than once. They want to see their giving produce a result, and when your vision comes to fruition, that is a return on their investment.