Build a giving ministry in your congregation.

A planned giving ministry does more than raise money for the church’s future needs. It allows church members to leave their own ongoing legacy and witness of Jesus Christ.

Find resources below to help you build a successful giving ministry in your congregation.


Mentoring the spirit of generosity in your community

To create a sustainable planned giving ministry, church leadership—especially the pastor and some trusted, energetic lay members—must be willing to make a long-term commitment that will involve promotion, mentoring, follow-up and transparency.



A pastor who is visibly supportive of the planned giving ministry is vital. This includes putting your own estate plans in place and serving as a mentor to others.


Host educational seminars to help members of the church understand the need to create an estate plan, and talk about how planned gifts can be made.


Create a team of trusted church members who can provide leadership, including putting their own plans in place and mentoring others.



Promote legacy giving opportunities on an ongoing basis. This can include helpful tips in your newsletter, regular inheritance planning seminars or reporting on the impact of previous gifts.


Implement a permanent fund policy that outlines how gift funds will be managed and how the income will be distributed for ministry. The Foundation offers free consulting services and example of successful policies.


Start a Legacy Society that includes members who have put plans in place for a legacy gift to the congregation. This provides a mentoring opportunity and encourages others to consider a similar legacy gift.


Support from the Christian Church Foundation

Christian Church Foundation staff members are trained to consult with churches to help create the processes that will make congregations good and worthy stewards of end-of-life gifts.

Available Resources

  • Downloadable training materials
  • In-person educational seminars
  • Help in finding answers to financial & legal questions
  • Free consulting services
  • Investment management services for endowment and other long-term funds

    Creating your legacy giving program

    The legacy giving program looks different in every congregation. Below are a few steps we recommend.


    Draft and approve your Legacy Fund Policy


    This is an essential first step in establishing a legacy giving ministry. Please send draft copy to your CCF VP before seeking Board approval.


    Identify members who have already included the church in their end-of-life plans


    Ask in your bulletin or newsletter, and get permission to add names to a list. Reach out to these members to form a Legacy Society. Typically, this is [Church Name] Legacy Builders, Legacy Planners, or Legacy Circle.


    Schedule an initial event


    This typically includes a fellowship time, at least one person who will witness as to why it was important for them to include the church with a planned gift, and a brief educational component often led by a CCF staff member.


    Start a conversation in your congregation


    Plan monthly newsletter articles and worship bulletin statements designed to encourage legacy gifts, teach about planned gifts, or highlight the Legacy Society. Schedule quarterly testimonies in worship, and invite members who have included the church in their end-of-life plans to share why it was important to them.


    Regularly celebrate gifts when they are received


    Remember to not talk about gift size. Plan an annual thank you event for Legacy Society members, and provide an annual report for the congregation that recognizes gifts. Highlight the impact of past gifts, and share stories of lives their legacy has blessed.


    Include information about legacy giving in new member materials


    Invite new members to join in the legacy of the church.

    What difference would it make?

    Can you imagine – instead of being surprised when your congregation receives an end-of-life gift from a member – being surprised when you don’t? The “Mentoring Model” helps a congregation make that transition.

    Many Disciples congregations are living out this vision.