Over my 20+ years of serving the local church, we did several 90-Day Tithing Challenges. Overall I would say they were very effective.
“Effective at what?” you ask.
Giving increased, and, more importantly, giving at the end of the challenge was sustained at a higher level than when the challenge began. In other words, many people started tithing and continued to tithe after the conclusion of the challenge.
Here’s how it went:
- Once a year, usually in the fall, we did a 3-week stewardship series. They were all pretty much the same content with a different theme each year. The first week was on getting out of debt. The second week was on saving money. And the third week was on tithing.
- There was almost always a push for people to sign up for a class like Financial Peace University and a banquet on a Sunday night. It was usually the Sunday night of the first week of the series. Since sports was always a popular theme, we would have everyone wear the jersey of their favorite sports team. We usually got 300-400 of the most committed attendees to attend, along with some new people. The senior pastor got up and did a vision-casting message for about 45 minutes during the banquet. Of course, there was live music, funny videos, etc.
- In the 3rd week of the series, we asked people to take the 90-day challenge. The ushers would hand out response cards; a small stack was given to the person at the end of each row. We felt it important that everyone had to “take one and pass it down,” so everyone had to at least touch one. We believed if they were in the bulletin, many wouldn’t get them out to consider the challenge, or they might drop them (along with the connect card and other response cards) in the offering bowl when it was passed, always before the message.
We were confident that God would deliver as promised; the challenge was a “money-back guarantee.” People were asked to tithe (actually give 10% of their income to the church) for 90-days. If, at the end of the 90-days, God hadn’t worked in their lives and they realized that they didn’t even miss the money and are actually better off financially, we would refund their money. Of course, we put money in reserve each week of the challenge to ensure we could make good on the commitment.