Seven Barriers That Limit Many Churches
When your vision outpaces your resources you’re actually on the right track. If we have all the resources we need, chances are we’ve stopped dreaming.
The challenge then is to shrink the gap between our future vision and our current resources. Over the last 15 years serving as a lead pastor, I have observed seven barriers that prevent many churches from realizing the vision and dreams God has for them and the community they serve. I outline each of these in depth in our free ebook The Fully Funded Church. LINK
Here is a brief description of each barrier. As you read this, select the one you want to focus on over the next 90 days:
- The Awkward Barrier – Asking people for money is admittedly awkward for most, if not all, of us. However, if you don’t push through this awkwardness and discomfort, you will never move closer to being fully funded. I share a practical way to become more comfortable in asking for money and moving through the awkward barrier.
- The Attendance Barrier – For generations, giving was tied to attendance. Now, through automated giving, attendance doesn’t have to dictate giving levels. However, it’s not enough to simply have an automated giving option. You have to stay on message.
- The Assumption Barrier – I have a hunch that 99.9% of churches are victims of the Assumption Barrier. This happens when everyone assumes the responsibility of fundraising falls to one person – typically the lead pastor. This places a lid on giving because there is only so much one person can do. If you want to become a fully funded church, you must invite more people into the process of fundraising.
- The Altitude Barrier – The altitude of your giving can be directly tied to how often and how effective your preaching is on the topic of giving. When is the last time your church preached on money? How did it go?
- The Ask Barrier – Too often, we are vague in our requests. We can inspire people to give but often shy away from specifically asking and showing them how to give. Clarity is the goal here. In Fully Funded, I provide the single most effective fundraising question to ask donors.
- The Accounting Barrier – It happens every December. Non-profits compete for year-end giving due to the tax breaks people can receive. Most churches fail to have an adequate, aggressive and effective year-end giving campaign. As a result, they often send one email the last week of the year that gets lumped into all the other emails from non-profit organizations. To remove this barrier, you must have a well thought-out year-end giving strategy.
- The Aspiration Barrier – In most churches, the least planned out moment of a worship service is the offering. As a result, we often walk away from potential donations and never know it. As a result, people aren’t given a vision of what’s happening and what could be.
As you look at these seven barriers, which one will you and your team focus on in the next 90 days? After you have selected the particular barrier, have your team download Fully Funded and ask them to read it prior to your next meeting. At that meeting, talk about what you will do to shrink the gap in the next 90 days between your future vision and current resources.