The Miracle of Donor Generosity
An accidental pastor, along with his wife, has been taking ministry by storm. Their Tulsa, Oklahoma, church doesn’t appear on the 2021 List of Emerging Churches, but it’s been making waves since 2015. The former 300-member church has grown into a megachurch worthy of filling the first-place slot for all three list categories: fastest-growing churches, largest churches, and reproducing churches.
“We exist to Re-Present God to the lost and found for transformation in Christ. Megachurch Gives Back In Millions We are a multi-church. Meaning we are a multi-generational, multi-ethnic, multi-plying, and multi-campus.” — Transformation Church Website
While many large, successful churches overgrow due to the hypnotic charisma of dynamic leaders, this pastor was focused on something greater than himself. He wasn’t about being the biggest or the best; his vision for the church was about giving. This giving had nothing to do with growing the church but helping those in need in the community. Transformation Church, rightfully named, has been changing the lives of thousands with millions of dollars. How, might you ask? Through pure generosity.
Aspiring Musician to Accidental Pastor
In 2015, Michael and Natalie Todd, husband-wife lead pastors, took over Tulsa’s Transformation Church. Michael is a native Tulsan who grew up in the church. His parents started their congregation, but he didn’t consider going into ministry himself. Nevertheless, his dream of a music career catapulted him into his current role as lead pastor. He was a high school drummer working with jazz artist Wayman Tisdale to establish his own production company.
A sound production gig he did for a church turned into ongoing work. Others took notice of Michael, who was a very fast learner with the uncanny ability to connect with anyone regardless of age, race, or socioeconomic status. Naturally, he fell right into his pastoral responsibilities, even though music was still his calling. Eventually, he and his wife took over Transformation Church. Today, this power couple has changed their church into something truly transformational while raising four children.
Starting Out Small but With a Huge Vision of Giving
It’s clear to see that 34-year-old Michael never had the intention of making a name for himself or building a famous church. His only claim to “fame” lies in the millions he’s amassed for the sake of others.
When Michael took over Transformation Church, it had only 300 members with services held inside what used to be a grocery store. Obviously, the congregation was not well off financially, as it didn’t even have a traditional place to call home. Even though his church was in great need, Michael took an approach that would change the members’ lives and those of everyone they crossed paths with. Rather than collecting donations for his use, he asked the congregation to help other churches in need. That plea resulted in $8,300 BEING RAISED.
Fast forward six years, and he has already spent $66 million on properties, including one of the largest office buildings in Tulsa to be considered the church’s home base. Not only that, but he also gifted $200,000 each to three survivors of the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921, who have yet to receive city reparations for what they went through. In addition, his leadership and generosity have compelled 35,000 people to proclaim a relationship with Christ.
Generosity Is Key to Attracting Charitable Donors
Traditionally, churches have always focused on tithing as a means of supporting the church and pastors. Leaders often take a more forceful approach by emphasizing the sin or repercussions of not giving. While there are many bible verses about tithing, you must take additional steps to attract charitable donors.
Tapping into people’s emotions and pulling on their heartstrings is a fundamental principle of marketing. The same approach works wonders when it comes to church giving. People naturally get excited and feel good when they’re able to help others. When you nurture feelings of generosity, you’ll see your efforts pay off as your congregation grows financially. That is the power of donor generosity.
If you’re short on ideas about garnering donor support, check out How to Inspire Your Congregation to Adopt a Spirit of Generosity.
Engaging Audiences Can Transform a Church
A megachurch pastor who started small became a viral sensation through videos. His focus always was to build a generous church, and he has invested millions into the Tulsa area community. The one thing that he did to propel his efforts sky-high was to leverage technology.
As a musician and sound production professional, Michael was already privy to the advantages of technology. In fact, he used the initial $8,300 he first collected from donors to purchase video camera equipment. He recorded sermons and posted them online for anyone to view. It wasn’t successful until one series of sermons called “Relationship Goals” went viral, resulting in 2 million views over 48 hours.
His YouTube channel went from having a few hundred to more than 200,000 subscribers within 60 days. His presence on social media especially came in handy once the pandemic forced churches to close their doors to in-person services. Lastly, Transformation Church has grown in diversity (50% white, 50% nonwhite and 50% aged 30 and under, 50% over 30), thanks to Michael’s abilities to be inclusive and relate to all.
To learn more about how we can help your congregation be one that’s focused on generosity and encourages donors to give, schedule a discovery call.