Sojourn Heights – Increasing Giving
“I love the startup vibe I get from Pushpay and the commitment they make to software updates. They’re really listening to customers and doing what they ask. In the internet age that’s what you’re looking for in any sort of online solution, but especially online giving. If Pushpay isn’t going to adapt to the times, it’s not a platform worth having a decade from now. What I love about Pushpay is that I’m confident it will.”
Sojourn Houston, which is part of the Acts 29 Network, planted their first neighborhood church, Sojourn Heights, in 2010. Since then, they’ve planted one more neighborhood church in Houston, Sojourn Montrose, and they’ll launch Sojourn Galleria soon.
Their philosophy mirrors a growing trend in the church-planting world, which is to establish smaller neighborhood churches around the city rather than investing in one big megachurch. They do this to meet the specific needs of each neighborhood and because this low-to-the-ground method doesn’t require a lot of overhead or staffing. That means a good portion of giving can actually go right back into church planting in the Houston area and beyond.
Sojourn Heights was in the process of switching their bookkeeping to a solution that could grow with them, and their new bookkeeping company recommended Pushpay as a giving solution of similar caliber. They were looking for technology solutions that could scale as they scaled, and they were also looking to go live with a new giving solution in time for the year-end giving push. As for their challenge, it wasn’t anything too crazy; they were simply looking to grow and plant more churches, and that takes money.
Sojourn Heights, their first church, made the switch to Pushpay in November of 2014, just in time for the year-end giving push. What’s really significant about Sojourn Heights is that 90% of their congregation gives on a regular basis. This is abnormally good. But what’s even more amazing was the way their church fully embraced the transition to Pushpay. With 97% of givers using the Pushpay platform and a significant number of those givers also set up with recurring giving, Sojourn Heights was set up for crazy success going into 2015.
In 2014, with the help of Pushpay, Sojourn Heights ended up surpassing their year-end goal. And in 2015, nearly every month their giving increased $20K-$40K over their 2014 numbers.
Of course, what’s really important to note is this giving increase came with no significant rise in church attendance. According to Pastor Drew Knowles, “It’s not like the church exploded. It was really the same number of people, but giving increased by that much.” Just goes to show how important it can be to have a tool like online giving in place that simplifies the process.
When we asked Drew what he believed to be the secret to their success (aside from God’s blessing their church, of course), he quickly answered “recurring giving.”
At Sojourn Heights, one of the primary goals is church planting, both locally and around the world. In 2014, the church gave 15% of its annual budget to support the establishment of local churches as well as a group of churches in Italy. The congregation is committed to supporting this important work, and one of the best ways they realized they could plan ahead and be good stewards as a church was by setting up a very consistent and predictable budget through recurring giving.
The addition of this predictable monthly budget has allowed the church to set aside not just 15% but 25% of their annual budget for church planting in 2016, and they were so excited about being able to pour this additional 10% into building the kingdom.
And in 2018, as a mature Pushpay customer, Sojourn Heights is now seeing 2.6 recurring gifts scheduled for every recurring giver, which is a strong testimony to the work they’re doing and the confidence their community has in how that money is being used.
Statistics show that only 20 percent of regular church attendees regularly give financial support. Why are the other 80 percent getting lost? There are lots of possible answers to that question, so w...