Clif Christopher

Founder and President

Clif founded the Horizons Stewardship Company in 1992 following a challenging career in pastoral ministry.  He serves as the company’s CEO to this day.  In his twenty years as a pastor, he led numerous major building and capital campaigns.  Since founding Horizons, he and his strategists have led consultations in over 2,000 churches, conferences, synods and diocese in all phases of building, finance, and church growth.

Dr. Christopher is a certified church growth consultant and has earned the coveted title CFRE (Certified Fund Raising Executive).  In 1995, he was given the National Circuit Rider Award by the United Methodist Church for outstanding leadership in developing vital congregations.

Under Clif’s leadership, Horizons Stewardship has helped secure several billion dollars for churches.  He has personally worked in over 42 states and is a frequent speaker at stewardship seminars around the country.  He is the co-author of the book Holy Smoke, the author of Not Your Parents’ Offering PlateWhose Offering Plate Is It?Rich Church – Poor Church and The Church Money Manual published by Abingdon Press.  Dr. Bill Easum, noted consultant and author, said, “No one knows more about local church stewardship than Clif Christopher.”  Mega church pastor, Adam Hamilton said, “When I have a stewardship question, I call Clif Christopher.”  Foundation director, David Atkins said, “Clif is one of the most effective communicators in the field of church fundraising today.”  Author and highly successful pastor, Mike Slaughter said, “Clif Christopher is one of the top authorities on church finance and stewardship in America.”

Clif has been an ordained minister of the United Methodist Church since 1975, is a combat veteran of the Gulf War and is married and living in Little Rock, Arkansas.

The Top 5 Ways To Accidentally Reduce Church Giving

The Top 5 Ways To Accidentally Reduce Church Giving

In my over forty years of ministry, I have never heard a pastor say he/she has more money than the church needs. I have certainly found pastors who shared that their people were very generous or that they had out-given their budget, but never that they had too much....

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The Three Pockets of Giving

The Three Pockets of Giving

Are you inviting your members to contribute from all three pockets of giving? Many churches focus on the annual pocket and neglect to consider the other two--capital and estate pockets. In this next video in the Giving Intelligence Series, learn about the three...

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Who Should Know What People Give?

Who Should Know What People Give?

Clif Christopher, Horizons’ Founder and author of Not Your Parents’ Offering Plate, discusses the most argued-about stewardship topic in the church today: who should know what people give.   In this newest video from Horizons’ Giving Intelligence Series, Clif...

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Do You Know What Motivates People to Give?

Do You Know What Motivates People to Give?

Horizons is pleased to announce the launch of Giving Intelligence -- a video series offering helpful advice from the Horizons team of generosity experts. Leading off is Horizons' Founder, Clif Christopher, author of several books on giving including, Not Your Parents'...

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Book Review: God vs. Money by Clif Christopher

Book Review: God vs. Money by Clif Christopher

Available FREE to all Giving365 subscribers -- download a chapter from God vs. Money by Clif Christopher, author of Not Your Parents' Offering Plate. Giving365 is a free subscription providing churches the resources needed to grow giving in your church. Not yet a...

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An Interview with Horizons’ Founder, Clif Christopher

God vs. Money

Since its inception, Clif Christopher has been on the frontline in responding to Horizons’ clients about church capital campaigns. Providing timely and insightful counsel to pastors and lay leaders is at the heart of Horizons’ mission to guide churches on their...

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8 Ways to Improve Your Next Capital Campaign

8 Ways to Improve Your Next Capital Campaign

On August 21, 2018, my new book, God vs. Money, will be released. I wrote this book because I am firmly convinced our society, including the church, is in the midst of a war between the will of God and the lure of money. I am also convinced that money is winning the...

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RECENT Posts

Why Shifting Your Fiscal Year is a Next Level Generosity Best Practice

Shifting Your Fiscal Year

By shifting their fiscal year away from the traditional calendar, an estimated 40% of vital churches have become better equipped to manage ministry funding. In most churches, up to a third of yearly income is received in December.  In the next offering from Horizons’ Giving Intelligence Series, Managing Partner, Joe Park describes why moving to a non-traditional fiscal calendar should be one of your church’s best practices.

 

 

To find out more about Joe Park, click here.

 

Horizons’ Next Level Generosity (NLG) is a framework that enables church leaders to align people and resources to do more ministry. We’re not talking about a capital campaign, but a shift in culture that multiplies a church’s capacity to change lives and make a lasting impact on its community.  Churches that use NLG are reporting double-digit increases in year-over-year giving. To arrange a free 20-minute consultation to explore if NLG is right for you church visit nextlevelgenerosity.com or contact us at info@horizons.net

 

Did you miss the first installments in Horizons’ Giving Intelligence Series? Find them in our free Giving365 vault by clicking on the Giving365 logo below.

Giving365 - Blog - Horizons - church stewardship resource

 

 

Three Prescriptions for Curing a Scarcity Mindset

Do you hear things like, “Money is tight! We need to tighten our belts?” Or “People are giving all they can. We can’t ask them to do more?”

 

If the answer is yes, then your church may be afflicted with a scarcity mindset.

 

In this video, Kristine Miller, CFRE, Partner and SVP at Horizons, will discuss ways to overcome a scarcity mindset and the fear and hesitancy created by a glass-is-half-empty attitude. Also, you will learn how to build a culture that celebrates God’s abounding blessings and grows generous hearts.

 

In this next video in Horizons’ Giving Intelligence Series will help your church giving and move to the next level of generosity.

 

 

Horizons’ Next Level Generosity (NLG) framework can help you create and carry out your Generosity Battle Plan. Beginning with a comprehensive 360-degree analysis, your Horizons Ministry Strategist will create a clear and effective strategy for shifting your generosity culture. The result is more money for ministry and authentic life-change for your congregation. To arrange a free 20-minute consultation, contact info@horizons.net

 

Did you miss the first installments in Horizons’ Giving Intelligence Series? Find them in our free Giving365 vault by clicking on the Giving365 logo below.

Giving365 - Blog - Horizons - church stewardship resource

To find out more about Kristine Miller, click here.

 

What Church Leaders Need to Know About New Giving Trends

Ten years ago, in Not Your Parents’ Offering Plate, I voiced my concern that giving to religion, as a share of overall giving, had fallen significantly over the last several decades and was half of what it once was. At the time, the giving trends indicated that if we did not change the way we do overall stewardship in the church, the decline in giving would continue. Well, now it has happened!

 

For the first time ever, giving to religion as a percent of overall charitable donations has dropped below 30%.

 

For 2018, Giving USA reports gifts to religious organizations are down 1.5% to just 29% of total charitable giving. Total giving to charity rose to 427 billion dollars, but this came more from foundations and corporations and not from individuals–the church’s primary revenue source. On average, Americans gave away only 1.9% of their disposable income.

These giving trends are as alarming to me today as they were back in 2008 when I first rang the bell of concern. Financial resources are not our mission, but they are the fuel that propels the mission.

 

Without money, there can be no mission and no ministry in these days when the faith is struggling around the world.

 

What caused the latest decline? Some will blame the last tax law changes that significantly increased the standard deduction and thus reduced the number of people who itemize. Others will say that it just reflects that fewer people are in church and the world is more secular. I do not buy into the theory that the causes are all external and thus any solution must be external. I still hold to the conviction that the solution is within the church to save the church, but we have avoided the hard work necessary to make the cultural adjustment to get it done. In the strongest possible way, I am encouraging you to re-examine how you are teaching and preaching financial stewardship. How are you moving your church away from the stewardship methods of the 20th century and responding to a new 21st century culture?

 

How will you respond to the latest giving trends?

 

You do not need the new 2019 annual campaign in a box. You may not even need a capital campaign. What you do need is a systematic long-term culture shift that creates not just funds for the budget but generous hearts and minds. As I shared in my latest book God vs. Money, you need a Battle Plan.

Right now, many of you are thinking about what you are going to do for a fall stewardship emphasis. That is fine, but that is not going to fix the problem. Let me encourage you to form your fall campaign committee and put them to work if you must, but at the same time form another group that will go to work on a Battle Plan for generosity to change your whole church. If you are brave enough, go ahead and start to execute the plan ASAP and just skip the old approach. Why would you think just doing the same old thing will produce a different result? You may not be able to change America’s giving to religion, but you sure can do something to change your congregation to be generous followers of Christ.

 

Horizons’ Next Level Generosity (NLG) framework can help you create and carry out your Generosity Battle Plan. Beginning with a comprehensive 360-degree analysis, your Horizons Ministry Strategist will create a clear and effective strategy for shifting your generosity culture. The result is more money for ministry and authentic life-change for your congregation. To arrange a free 20-minute consultation, contact info@horizons.net

 

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