Generosity is part of the commitment of being a disciple of Christ. Generosity should be a believer’s lifestyle rather than just fulfilling specific needs or “helping” during emergencies. Shifting the focus to teaching people that financial giving is an expression of faith and we are called to live our faith out loud, speaking and living the message of Christ for all to see (1 Thessalonians 1:8) will have the most impact. Did you know that if every Christian tithed their personal 10%, faith organizations would have an extra $139 billion yearly? I’d say that particular statistic is a loud wake-up call and a strong motivator.
Let’s look at what we know:
- The church needs money to operate.
- Many churches are hurting.
- People have simply dropped out of church.
- Past mistakes and misdeeds have soured some people’s minds.
- Church giving has been down since the pandemic.
- Budgets are stretched.
- Church leaders are stressed.
- God’s people are missing out on the blessing of generosity.
We must figure out the right ways to talk about and handle money. We can’t manipulate people or use gimmicks. A new resource, Increasing Offertory: Ignite Giving Out of Gratitude, shows us that although church giving is down, leaders can follow some principles and increase their giving by cultivating a spirit of generosity. How? Glad you asked!
Be a Generous Leader:
Embody the values you want to promote, and you’ll inspire them to follow. Give to missions, buy people lunch, get someone gas, and give like you really believe that it’s “more blessed to give than to receive.”
Be a Generous Church:
Make sure your church gives to those in need. Feed the hungry, care for the poor, and support missions. Give things away to less fortunate churches in your community or your denomination. And don’t forget about meeting the needs in your church.
Talk about Generosity & Gratitude, not Money:
Get coffee, lead Bible studies, have discipleship conversations, and share stories about generosity. Share your personal experience with the blessing of giving, and let others tell you their stories.
Help them Experience Generosity:
Create opportunities for people to serve others in need. Visit a homeless shelter. Organize a lawn mowing ministry for elderly or disabled adults. Volunteer in nursing homes. Give your people a chance to experience the power of generosity.
Teach about Generosity & Gratitude:
God is generous, and His people should be, too. Generosity is bigger than the green paper in your wallet. God wants to be generous with everything we receive from Him. Tap into the benefits of your reach with church technology by creating graphics and social media posts to discuss the 3 T’s: time, talents, and treasures, and then aligning them with the Scriptures.
Share Your Vision:
People give to your vision more than they’ll give to your needs. For example, Don’t discuss how much your church needs to pave its parking lot. Do talk about how you’ll use the parking lot. Talk about welcoming new guests, letting kids play games safely, hosting a neighborhood block party, or whatever your church might do with that freshly paved parking area.
Emphasize the point that this is their church, and together you are building God’s Kingdom. Give people voice and responsibility in different ministries and watch them grow. Providing regular budget updates reinforces the ownership mentality. By educating your members about automated church giving and the impact of seasonal and unforeseen giving dips, while also inspiring them with how their giving impacts the community around them, they’ll step up and respond.
Talk about Stewardship:
Some people don’t give faithfully because they don’t handle their money wisely. Many people have never been taught how or why to make a budget, live within their means, or plan for emergencies. There are several biblically based curriculums out there that small groups or Sunday School classes can use to incorporate this life skill as foundational living.
Be patient and persistent as you regularly connect the dots between the work of your church and the generosity that makes it happen. Change takes time. Keep the lines of communication open, and remember that the small changes in people’s giving behavior add up over time and will increase church donations overall. Hold onto and meditate on the promise found in Isaiah 43:19: See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. He is faithful and generous, and we are called to be like Him.
Your weekly offertory giving is critical to your church’s ministry.
In Increasing your Offertory: Ignite giving out of gratitude, you’ll learn:
- How to customize your stewardship plan to maximize your results.
- How to begin to develop a culture of generosity in your midst.
- How to engage a risk-free, experienced team of consultants to help.
Terry is a multi-disciplined executive passionate about serving the Church by supporting his leaders and organizations. His experience includes coaching and training Catholic leaders. Facilitating priority planning with dioceses and parishes and consulting with parish leaders to engage parishioners. And using technology to foster stewardship. Terry is chairman of the finance council for his home parish in Hartsville, SC. And a cantor for his parish in Myrtle Beach.