Giving is good. It’s good for the church, and it’s good for people.
It’s good for the receiver, and it’s good for the giver.
The scriptures are clear about the importance of generosity, and secular research reveals the same truth.
Generosity is good for the soul.
Yet, despite all this, we often find it uncomfortable talking about money in church.
I want to share three simple strategies to help you create intentionality around giving conversations in your church this year.
Why? Because it will be good for your church as an organization and good for the people of your church.
Invite with Stories
The most effective way to communicate giving is not, “You should give!” or “God commands us to give!” but rather, “We want to invite you into what God is doing here and through our church.”
It’s an invitation.
Show and tell your congregation what you are inviting them to participate in.
Using stories, testimonies, videos, and celebrations in partnership with an invitation is a powerful and effective way to invite people to give.
Why? Because we aren’t moved by numbers. We aren’t moved by guilt.
Stories move us. We’re hardwired for them.
There’s a reason God revealed himself to us through stories.
One of the most effective ways to increase giving in your church is by adjusting how you ask people to give.
Invite with stories.
Preaching on Generosity
Jesus talked about money. He talked about it a lot.
There’s a reason for that. Money and how we use it has a significant impact on our lives.
I recently listened to a Tim Keller sermon in which he remarked that people are far more likely to confess struggling with a sexual sin than confessing to greed.
I think he’s right.
When’s the last time someone in your congregation confessed to you, “I’m greedy. I spend way too much on myself.”
It’s possible that’s never happened!
People need help managing money, and they also need to be challenged and called to generosity.
God is a generous God, and we are called to reflect Him.
Stewardship and contentment are also crucial components of discipleship. Teach on these things.
Our church has experienced a steady increase in per-person giving through the years.
I believe this has a lot to do with a consistent emphasis on generosity in our preaching.
’m talking about having a specific financial sermon series and a regular dose of financial applications in sermons that are not specifically about money.
If you’re looking for ideas, we are about to embark on a series called School of Contentment.
You’re welcome to tag along, borrow, and steal ideas.
This is a long-term strategy, but it’s an effective one.
Focusing on generosity and stewardship in your preaching for several years is perhaps the most effective strategy to pursue.
Seasons of Emphasis
If my math is correct, 25% of our giving comes in December.
That’s a highly disproportionate amount for one month of the year.
I think there are two reasons for this.
The first is obvious: A lot of people give or give more around Christmas time.
The second reason is less obvious: We ask them to give more.
We invite our congregation to bring an “above and beyond” gift in December, and over the years, they have in a big way.
I listened to a podcast this week where a pastor shared that in his church they choose two months of the year to ask for above and beyond giving—June and December.
He shared that in their church July giving is almost as strong as December. Interesting.
If you always make a plea for above and beyond giving, it will become noise or possibly drive people away.
But, if you strategically ask for above and beyond giving at specific times in the year, and if you do it in the right way, it can lead to a significant increase in giving.
I spent the first part of my ministry career avoiding conversations about money.
I avoided teaching on money, and in some cases, even taking an offering.
But, I’ve realized how important it is to disciple people in the area of money.
Money is an incredible tool for the kingdom and it can be a major source of misery when mishandled.
It is good, right, and important to disciple and teach on money, including challenging and inviting our congregations toward generosity.
I sincerely hope this has been helpful. Thanks for reading.