Do you find yourself avoiding the “giving conversation?”
Many church leaders do, and it’s understandable. When it comes to your hesitation to address generosity, fear is likely at the root. Fear of being misunderstood. Fear of being seen as “money hungry.” Fear of not being able to make ends meet at your church.
But this spirit of fear is not from the Lord, and it greatly impacts the church.
Here are 3 practical ways to remove fear and replace it with faith so that you can cultivate a culture of generosity within your church.
1. Go Before Others
You cannot lead others somewhere you have not gone yourself. Be authentic, real, and genuine. No one expects perfection. But when it comes to biblical generosity and stewardship, seek to be faithful and faith-filled in your leadership. Consider putting these points into practice:
- Cleanse your hands. Purify your hearts.
Repent of sins hindering your ability to live as generous, faithful stewards.
- Give before asking the congregation to.
Model generosity. Live it out. While your congregation does not need to see you completely the act of giving itself, make it a practice to collectively give as a church team before asking others to give (1 Chronicles 29.)
- Manage church finances wisely.
As a church, live out biblical stewardship. Manage God’s tithes and offerings as God instructs you to in the Bible. Be financially wise. Request help with financial accountability from a trusted source.
- Be transparent about where, why, and how money is being spent.
Transparency is the currency of trust. If you want church attendees to trust you, be open and honest about where and how church funds are being directed.
- Trust God to provide and transform hearts.
As you teach biblical generosity, trust that people will respond with great joy and be drawn closer to God. You do your part, trust God will honor obedience and provide what the church needs. Trust the Spirit to stir in hearts. Because, He will.
2. Ask Hard Questions
Hard questions are what prompt us to examine our actions, our motives, and our lives. Asking ourself and our church tough questions will lead to growth. Incorporate these questions about biblical generosity by adding them into a sermon, church-wide devotional, or a small group discussion:
- Do we genuinely believe, as Jesus did, that two pennies from the poor are of even greater significance than the largest amount given from the rich?
- Is the biblical mandate pertaining to a life of generosity for everyone or only those who appear to have extra?
- Is this generosity mandate for all times or is it tied to a number on the Dow Jones?
After posing the above questions, create a space for people to reflect on their own responses. In addition to the reflection, make sure you teach what the Bible says pertaining to each question. Sometimes hard questions require hard topics to teach on, but the outcome is always worth it.
3. Encourage Small Giving Steps
A personal trainer wouldn’t ask a first-time weightlifter to squat 400lbs. So why do churches pressure a first time giver to give 10% of their income?
Within your church there are many types of people. Some have never given a penny, others have given hundreds, and some have given thousands. The point is this: Everyone is in a different place. Speak to them where they are on their journey. Encourage people to take a step in their faith by moving forward in their individual and unique giving journey.
Here’s what that looks like practically:
- If you’ve never given to the church before, begin to give.
- If you’ve given once before, become a faithful, consistent monthly giver.
- If you’ve given monthly but have not increased your giving for several years, take that next step. Skip something to give something (Skip your weekly Starbucks run and give that amount instead) to ultimately increase your monthly giving amount.
- If you faithfully tithe every year but never consider going beyond that 10%, consider giving an additional amount to a specific church offering or outreach opportunity.
- If you give above and beyond the tithe, pray over and consider what new initiative God wants you to give to!
Adjust to your givers, just like a personal trainer adjusts to his clients’ levels of fitness. Be sure to emphasize this point: in order for us to take even a small step, our fear must go and our faith must rise up. As our faith in God increases, so will our giving.
When churches fail to teach biblical generosity and stewardship, it impacts both the church and the donor. As a result, individuals are not able to live as the stewards God has called them to be in managing His resources and the church’s finances fail to flourish as the Lord desires.
The Bible is very clear. God has not given us a spirit of fear but a spirit of power, love and sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7.) Use the three principles listed above to help combat this fear so discussions about generosity in your church are no longer feared but fully embraced.