Why Year-End Giving Is a Good Thing

Why Year-End Giving Is a Good Thing

November 30, 2015 by

In October a leader of a $100-million-a-year ministry told me that 60% of their annual budget would be received in the last three months of the year, and most of that in December.

Some say it’s a shame Christian giving is influenced by the year-end tax calendar. In my opinion, it’s not all bad. Our lives orbit around dates on the calendar. What if God is actually OK with that?

We push hard Monday through Friday, and then we get a weekend rest and earn occasional breaks. As we round out the year, we have more extended breaks—Thanksgiving, then Christmas.

The holiday calendar is for you and your church.

The year-end holidays are favorites. For many families they bring extra days to hang out, feast, watch football and play corny board games with the kids. But yes, people think about giving too. Church leaders should be mindful of this and not feel conflicted about discussing giving this time of year.

So how should church leaders communicate about year-end giving?

Gift Calendar

One of the first things God did for the Israelites (while working out a jailbreak from Egypt) was to give them a calendar. He filled it with three special holidays—each with periods of feasting and giving.

The Passover kicked off the beginning of the year with a nice seven-day vacation. It was early spring when all the new mamma sheep had birthed their lambs. The Israelites were careful to set aside the firstborn for sacrifice, along with every tenth sheep for the tithes. And as daddy was thumbing through the files (or knife notches on the barn stalls) he would note any vows they committed during the winter and set aside those gifts as well.

After gathering the gifts, the children strapped their portable video players to the camel humps, and the family set off for their pilgrimage to the temple to feast, celebrate, give thanks and give gifts.

Seven weeks later, Pentecost arrived. This was when the early crop began to show in the fields—their chance to gather a firstfruits’ offering and thank God for the coming fall harvest.

And in the fall landowners would bring in the full harvest, taking inventory along the way. After shutting down their fields for winter, they gathered their gifts and set off for the year’s final festival, the Feast of Tabernacles. This one lasted 21 days! (Enough time to capture each of the 35 bowl games on TV.)

Year-end giving can be a beautiful part of our life rhythm.

God peppered the Israelite calendar with gift seasons, each in sync with the livestock and harvest seasons. Folks worked hard during the year with periodic breaks to pause, assess God’s blessings, set aside gifts and offer them to God.

Holidays Are for You and Your Congregation

Just as Jesus reminded us that the Sabbath was for us, and not the other way around, remember the holiday calendar is for you and your church. It’s your opportunity to celebrate together, count your blessings from God and give your gifts. Year-end giving can be a beautiful part of our life rhythm. God enjoys giving us these breaks, celebrations and seasons of gifts.

As you approach the holidays, encourage your congregation to:

  • Understand that seasons of celebration and giving are part of God’s design.
  • Assess their harvest. Look over wage statements and other income sources and take note of their non-financial blessings as well.
  • Review their gifts throughout the past year. Life gets busy. Sometimes we lose track. It’s okay.
  • Pray about how God would have them finish out their gift year.
  • Remind your people to embrace and enjoy God’s rhythm of celebration and giving.

And finally, if you yourself end up online just before midnight on Dec. 31 to process one final 2015 gift, don’t feel weird about it. Instead look up the heavens, close your eyes, smile… and click.

Photo by Linus Bohman.
Post By:

Jeff Anderson

Jeff Anderson is the author of two books published by Random House, Plastic Donuts and Divine Applause. He began his career as a CPA for a Big Six firm, became a stock day-trader, and went on to become VP of Crown Financial Ministries before helping churches through www.AcceptableGift.org.
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One Response to “Why Year-End Giving Is a Good Thing”

  • Barn
    December 11, 2015

    Such a fantastic perspective on the end of the year, giving, and the church. Thank you for taking the time to put your thoughts out there. It’s so interesting that giving in the last three months of the year represents over 35% of total charitable giving and that Dec 31st is the single biggest giving day of the year … Even despite all the #givingtuesday efforts. Churches have to embrace it and have a solid plan.

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