I bet I know your least favorite topic to talk about from the stage.
It can feel so uncomfortable.
Money is awkward to talk about and critically important to the ministry of your church.
Most people want to be generous but aren’t as generous as they’d like to be. In addition, people are happier and healthier when they are generous.
But, how do you grow generosity in your congregation, both for the sake of the kingdom and also for the personal well-being of your congregation?
Here are a few lessons I’ve learned.
There is an aspect of discipleship that’s often missing in our culture.
It’s called stewardship.
It’s the biblical idea that everything belongs to God, and the resources we possess have been entrusted to our care to manage.
As we steward these resources, we are called to manage them how God would.
God is wildly generous, and we best reflect the heart of our Creator when we are generous.
I believe the foundational piece of growing generosity in your congregation is a theology of stewardship.
It’s a discipleship issue, which means we must teach stewardship to our congregation regularly.
Lead with Vision
There is a way to talk about giving that’s compelling, and there is a way to talk about giving that feels like duty and obligation.
Yes, we are supposed to give. Yes, it’s a duty.
But, people want to give toward something meaningful.
We want to be a part of a movement and transformation.
As you invite people to give, lead with vision.
Connect your offering with meaningful stories about life-change.
“In just a few moments, you’re going to have an opportunity to give to your church. Let me take a second and share with you the impact of your generosity.”
Share a story. Show a video. Interview a small group leader.
Help people understand that giving doesn’t just keep the lights on and pay for a new roof.
Their gifts empower ministry and life change.
God is using their generosity to transform lives!
Remove the Obstacles
Why do people resist generosity?
For most people, it’s not greed.
The thing is, when you give money away, it’s not yours anymore.
You can’t use it to pay a bill, build your emergency fund, or repair the family mini-van.
For most people, the obstacle to generosity is fear.
And, we have to understand that people want to be generous!
One of the best ways to increase generosity in your congregation is to grow the financial health of your people.
Teach them healthy and responsible financial practices.
Save. Avoid debt. Live within your means.
Financially healthy people are more generous because they can be.
Perhaps the smartest thing you could do this year is lead your congregation through Financial Peace, Balanced, Crown, or some other program or experience that teaches people how to pursue healthy financial practices.
Help people pursue overall financial health, and I believe they will begin to give more (and more often) because people want to be generous but are afraid.
Make it Easy
One simple factor dramatically impacted giving in my church—automatic recurring online giving.
I’ll use a personal story to illustrate.
Years ago, I would get a statement in the mail from my church showing my giving through the year.
It was a tax form. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.
Every time that statement came in the mail I would be disappointed.
Because I never gave as much as I thought I had been giving or as much as I wanted to give.
What happened was that any time I missed church or forgot to bring a check or whatever, I wouldn’t give and then I would forget.
Automatic recurring online giving changed that for me.
Now I never miss giving because it doesn’t depend on me remembering or being physically at the church building.
As a church, our giving has become much more consistent, especially during the summer months because of automatic recurring online giving.
It’s made a huge difference in our budget.
If you don’t have automatic recurring online giving options for your congregation, you need to make it happen!
And, good news, Breeze has a free product to help you with that.
I have one final encouragement for you as you work to grow generosity in your congregation.
You have to model it.
You have to pursue growing in generosity yourself.
You have to talk about your journey of generosity.
You have to speak about your fears and struggles here.
Nothing is more powerful than leadership modeling the behavior you are attempting to grow in your congregation.
As leaders in your church, if you aren’t growing in generosity, people will smell the lack of authenticity.
I encourage you to take a step toward growing in stewardship and generosity.
I hope this has been helpful. Leave us a comment with your own best practices in this area.
Let’s learn together.