To quote a line from Queen’s mega-hit from the late 70s, We Are The Champions, “And bad mistakes. I’ve made a few.” Truthfully, I’ve made more than a few; I’ve made a lot. It’s one of the reasons why I write so many articles on church budgets and operations – so others can learn from my mistakes, like when I thought I was saving the church money by eliminating the hourly facilities positions and doing the janitorial work myself. To give a little context, our church was going through a split and losing up to half of our donors, forcing many difficult decisions. I was committed to fulfilling the mission, so I decided to take on the janitorial and custodial tasks on top of my other duties. I kept a tally, and at one point, I worked 26 consecutive days. The results of this bad mistake were that my family suffered, my other duties suffered, my health suffered, and I was starting to become bitter.
While my attempt to save money was genuine, what I was too naïve to see at the time was the barrier I created to growth. I spent so much time setting up tables, vacuuming, taking out trash, replacing lights, and restocking paper towels and toilet paper that my other duties suffered. I couldn’t give my full attention to the areas that would help the church grow and heal. Sure, the facilities were presentable, but the finances, technology, human resources, and the front office needed more leadership. I unintentionally created a barrier preventing our church from moving forward.
I remember online giving as one area that needed my attention during this crucial period in our church’s history. In 2006, there weren’t as many safe and secure digital giving options as today, so I needed to research all the possibilities. I knew it was the future and that our church needed to move in this direction. I needed to put down the scrub brush and focus on the things that only I could do.
Investing In Growth
I learned the hard way, from experience, that some financial cuts are more costly than others. What we saved on hourly wages by eliminating the facilities team, we more than lost in our ability to move forward. We needed to invest in growth. One of those ways we needed to invest in growth was to figure out online giving. I’m glad we invested in digital giving when we did because it’s even more crucial today. According to the Ultimate List Of Charitable Giving Statistics For 2023:
- Almost half of all giving transactions happen by card (debit or credit).
- 60% of churchgoers are willing to give digitally.
- Churches that accept tithing online increase overall donations by 32%.
Recognizing my “bad mistake” of taking on the janitorial and custodial tasks saved a few dollars in compensation but prevented the church from exploring online giving solutions. Focusing my time, energy, and skills on digital giving eventually generated more than enough funds to allow the church to hire facilities staff. Identifying the barriers we create that prevent growth can be challenging. It requires an honest look at priorities and tasks and ensuring each staff member and volunteer is in the right spot. It’s a great way to eliminate the barriers and invest in growth.short url: