It was 1992, and I was in 7th grade.
It was a roller skate party.
The music dropped from the driving beat of “Can’t Touch This” by MC Hammer and slid into the subtle beginnings of “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston.
That song only meant one thing… couples skate.
Maybe you’re young.
Maybe you never experienced the sheer terror of skating up to a cute girl and stumbling through some version of, “Will you skate with me?”
What if she says no? What if she says yes?!?
Keep in mind, I didn’t even know how to skate. I was a gangly kid who could barely walk!
You want me to put on wheels and fly around a waxed circular floor?!?
I might as well have said, “Can we hold hands while I speed you into a brick wall or possibly trip and fall on your head?
Is it just me, or does asking people in your church for money sometimes feel like, “Will you skate with me?”
It feels awkward—you kind of wish you didn’t have to do it.
You feel like everyone in the audience is annoyed that you’re talking about money again.
I used to feel that way until I better understood the power of the Church in the world.
The resources given to the Church lead to transformed lives.
In addition, pursuing generosity has grown my faith and deepened my character.
Giving has made me a better person.
I believe in the importance and power of giving.
So, how do you talk about giving during your worship service in a way that isn’t awkward, like “will you skate with me?”
I have a few ideas that work well for me.
1.) Connect Giving to Ministry
When you talk about giving during your sermon, help people understand that their gifts lead to actual ministry.
Your gifts do more than keep the lights on.
They do more than pay the salary of the pastor.
They support mission work and ensure that kids get to hear about Jesus in your Kids’ Ministry.
They enable your church to help underserved people in your city.
People’s lives are changed through your gifts!
Connect giving with actual ministry so that your congregation understands that their gifts have an impact.
2.) Don't Wing It
While inviting your congregation to give isn’t as awkward as a couples skate, it can be poorly done.
Most of the time, I think this happens when we wing it.
We say dumb things when we aren’t prepared.
Inviting people to give their hard-earned money to the Church is worthy of a script and practice.
When I was a regular host for our weekend services, I would write out a complete script and practice it numerous times before delivering the announcements.
If you want to communicate in a way that is clear and compelling, don’t wing it!
Prepare and practice.
3.) Clear Next Steps
If you want to encourage generosity in your church, you’ll need to offer clear next steps so that people can give.
This used to be a lot easier before COVID.
You just passed a basket or plate.
I’m not sure about you, but we’re still not passing anything as we collect our weekly offering.
Because of this, we need to make our next steps very clear, practical, and accessible.
- Put your text giving number on the screen. If you don’t currently offer text giving, you can learn more about how to get started with text giving here.
- Put a QR code on the screen or in your bulletin so that people can access a link to give online.
- Put secure giving boxes in obvious locations in your auditorium or atrium.
Maybe it sounds crazy to talk about offering without offering plates.
I get it.
However, giving has been strong in my church through COVID mainly because of our online and text giving options.
4.) Grow in Generosity
When it comes to generosity, you have people engaged in the practice of generosity at various levels.
You have people who never give.
You have people who give impromptu.
You have people who give regularly, and you probably have major donors.
I believe there is wisdom in meeting people where they are and inviting them to grow in generosity.
Here are a few ways to invite people to give:
- Maybe you have never given to your church. We invite you to join us. Start. Start small but start.
- Many of you give, when you think of it, or perhaps when you feel led at the moment. Could I encourage you to become a regular giver? To set aside a portion of your income every week or every month and give regularly?
- Some of you give consistently, week after week. Can I tell you how grateful we are for your gifts? I challenge you to grow in generosity. What would it look like to increase your giving by 1% this year?
- There are a few of you who give and give generously. The truth is you have far more than you need. A few of you are in a place financially where God might be calling you to make a significant gift to your church. You could pay off the debt. You could finance the addition…. I would ask you to consider giving a substantial gift to your church.
Offering clear next steps for people at the different places they find themselves can be a helpful and practical way to encourage giving in your church.
A pitch like this would be inappropriate every weekend, but there are times when it can be very effective.
5.) Build a Culture of Generosity
I’ve saved what I believe is the most important aspect of talking about giving for last.
You need to build a culture of generosity in your church.
How do you do this?
Mostly by talking about giving outside of the offering moment.
The disciplines of generosity and stewardship should be a regular part of your sermons and modeled by those in leadership.
When generosity and stewardship are seen as, “this is just what we do,” then you’ll be well on your way.
I’m not just talking about a sermon about giving or a series about giving.
I’m talking about regularly occurring sermon points that are angled toward stewardship and generosity.
These are discipleship issues. Jesus and Paul talked about money a lot!
And, let’s be real, the people in your congregation need help.
We live in an affluent and consumeristic culture that is obsessed with money and things.
Discipling your people in their relationship with money and belongings is good for the kingdom, good for your church, and good for their souls.
I hope this helps as you talk to your church about giving and grow the culture of generosity that surrounds you.