The Church Revitalization Podcast – Episode 199
It’s not a debatable point to say that churches need money to do ministry. So why is it so hard to talk about it? Many pastors carve out a couple Sundays each year for a sermon on giving because they feel obligated to do so. Money is a common topic in scripture and not one that is difficult to find God’s position on. God wants generosity and sacrifice, so we should all be good teachers of these high biblical values.
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Teaching a Biblical Perspective on Financial Stewardship
With some regularity, we must speak about money in the Church more often. Because of past sinful money managers, and well-publicized extravagance in some churches, it makes the topic of money uncomfortable now for most church leaders. This is a tool that Satan uses to restrict ministry. We are managers of what God has blessed us with and he intends his gifts to us to bless others and build his Kingdom here on earth.
Church leaders need to move away from soft, couching language (like is used for volunteering too) and more into definitive, biblical principles to increase giving for the right reasons.
Modeling Generosity as Church Leadership
One of the most effective ways of encouraging generosity is to show how the resources are being used. If they’re being used well, of course. Too often, people may feel like the church is just a black hole that dollars go into, never to to be seen again.
Some denominations require a certain level of contribution back into the denomination or some kind of shared cooperative program. Those programs can do an incredible amount of good, but the sense of ownership felt by the congregation can sometimes be low. Giving to help local needs and evangelism can often foster greater levels of giving.
Transparent Communication and Accountability
Similarly to the point above in which the congregation may not feel connected to how the money is being spent, being in the dark about how money is handled and spent can damage trust with church leadership.
A specific area that churches sometimes don’t handle well is a large savings or reserve. A reasonable amount is prudent, but too much savings that is either not earmarked for something with a use coming soon or a reserve that is much beyond what would be healthy, is a recipe for mistrust.
Creating a Culture of Gratitude and Celebration
Adding to the point above of giving as God desires, our hearts should be aligned with gratitude for what God has done for us. Some of the greatest testimonies are from those who even in tough times saw God’s faithfulness in their giving back to him.
Encouraging Sacrificial Giving
Beyond even teaching on basic biblical generosity, sacrificial giving should be cultivated in greater capacity in the church. Of course, giving sacrificially is relative. What is sacrificial for one may be overflow for another. Regardless, God wants our hearts to be aligned to his purposes and giving to support those purposes. It is common for this to be thought of as an element of spiritual maturity, but I think that’s the case because giving is not better taught to new believers who would probably be more willing and even excited to give if they knew what God desired from them.
Engaging in Strategic (vision-focused) Fundraising
If you’ve ever worked with one of us at The Malphurs Group, you’re probably heard us say “always lead with vision.” It’s the vision of the future that the church will work on together that drives people to get involved and give to support the work.
There are a variety of reasons that giving may be suffering in your church, but a lack of vision will probably be one of them.
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A.J. Mathieu is the President of the Malphurs Group. He is passionate about helping churches thrive and travels internationally to teach and train pastors to lead healthy disciple-making churches. A.J. lives in the Ft. Worth, Texas area, enjoys the outdoors, and loves spending time with his wife and two sons. Click here to email A.J.