“Our vision is simple: Love God & Love Hove like Jesus,” says the Rev. Dan Henderson of St Andrew’s Church in Hove. Vision is at the centre of generous giving for St Andrew’s and is helping the church family understand their role in delivering that vision.
Dan has been Vicar at St Andrew’s Church for six years and says the Church has always aspired to be a generous church, aiming to pledges 100% of its parish share. However, until recently, most of the parish share came from dwindling reserves and parish hall income. “We were unable to keep up with the maintenance of the hall and, as we have seen recently from COVID, it’s not a stable income.”
Income from giving was not meeting the Church’s need, therefore the PPC decided 18 months ago to address this with a generous giving campaign.
To start with, St Andrew’s reviewed their outgoings to make sure there wasn’t anything they didn’t need. They did a skills audit and invited members of the church to volunteer their skills to serve God. The financial review did come with difficult decisions and meant that they had to let go some of the paid staff.
After completing the skills audit, the PCC reviewed their finances and with the help of The Parish Funding Programme worked on establishing their vision for the church.
“We became a vison-led church and brought people on board with that vision. We promoted our vision to the church with a booklet and a video.” In addition to creating the promotional materials Dan regularly played the video and preached on giving during services at the launch of the campaign.
“At St Andrew’s we passionately believe in Christians funding the church and giving ownership of the vision to our church family, who understood and were excited by the vision.”
“We encouraged people to give to the Parish Giving Scheme, explaining the difference it would make to our ministry and our Christian lives. Part of our lives as Christians is to give to God,” says Dan.
“Showing impact is the one of the most effective ways if encouraging people to give. We looked at how we could demonstrate our impact on the church family, the community and the diocese and beyond.” Their Vision Booklet demonstrates the impact on all three with quotes and testimonials. They also explain the importance of giving generously just to keep the doors open so that people can come in and reflect. Giving enables St Andrew’s to host community groups, food banks and many other activities.
“Our verger says his main ministry for the church is to be a presence. It’s an opportunity to meet people we can pray with, it’s an opportunity for people to meet God,” explains Dan.
The growth in generous giving to the church has been positive and regular giving to St Andrew’s increased by £1000 per month.
Additionally online and text giving has been successful for specific campaigns. “We used online giving to raise money for Audio-Visual equipment during lockdown,” says Dan. “This shows the immediate impact of people’s generous giving as the online services have helped people during this difficult time.” Included in the Vision booklet is a testimonial from someone who said, “I’m on my own and the online services are the thing I look forward to most every week. They make me part of my church.”
St Andrew’s set up contactless giving to raise money for other charities such as Off the Fence, a local charity that works with homeless people. Their contactless giving campaign was featured on ITV News.
However Dan is keen to stress that, whilst positive steps have been made, it’s not a quick win. “We haven’t fully reached our target yet. There are occasional setbacks and it’s a learning process.”
Find out more about the steps needed to encourage a generous culture in your church.