Malachi 3:10 says, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” So why don’t people do that? Money is mentioned several times in the Bible so it must be important. 2 Corinthians 9:7 says, “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” So why the reluctancy and somber faces when it’s time to give? Here are a few reasons why there might be obstacles to church giving.
Some people are simply uneducated on giving.
They’ve never been taught properly. Who has ever taken time to explain principles and Bible passages about giving and the tithe in a way that’s understandable and appealing to them? If people don’t get it, they might not be that open to giving.
Some people are jaded because of past giving experiences.
There’s a story that’s told of a small church that was meeting in a poor neighborhood and the pastor encouraged them to give, give, give so that they could get a new place to meet. When the day came for them to get together in preparation for the move, the pastor didn’t show up. He had stolen the money and disappeared. So why would anyone trust this situation again? Once bitten, twice shy – and they don’t trust it.
Some people simply can’t see where they can afford it.
If you have a family who is struggling to make ends meet and you ask them to give a sizeable portion to church – at least a tenth or more – of course they might think it’s unreasonable because the numbers just don’t add up.
Some people can’t see where the money is being used.
Someone keeps giving and giving but they don’t see what it’s going to. There’s the same old programming, the church restroom still needs repair, the AC is always going out, etc. They can’t see what they’re giving to!
Some might feel like you’re twisting their arm.
“Here comes the ask.” You have this awesome service and “the ask” slinks up just as the music plays the right song and they’re wrecked in emotion. Playing on the heartstrings could be a terrible feeling to people who already have reservations about giving.
Some people disagree with how church money is spent.
Some might wonder, “Why would we use money to buy a new church van when we could have simply repaired the old one? This ministry isn’t putting my hard-earned money to good use: I’m done!”
So those are some obstacles to giving – now how do you address them? How about strengthening their faith and calming their concerns through some of the following ways?
Educate your congregation.
Take time to develop literature and offer resources and conversations on understanding the principles of tithing and giving. If appropriate, teach through a message, series or workshops periodically. Also, provide financial resources and learning material in hardcopy and on your website including what is a tithe, how people can better manage money, how they can get financial education, etc. Include a way to submit questions, as well.
Testimonials are great.
Old churches used to have “testimonial services,” sharing stories of God’s goodness and faithfulness. Do the same or provide literature and/or space on your website for financial testimonials and success stories.
Consider the way you collect tithes and offerings.
If you find you’re constantly having to play on people’s emotions to get them to give, pray about that. Have you considered a different approach? For instance, make giving a celebration. In some churches, people clap and shout when the period of giving comes during the service, generating excitement. Other churches even march forward to music to take their gifts to the altar. It’s not a show but helps them participate in a joyful act of giving!
Share with your congregation where the money goes. Show some of the projects you’ve completed and plan to undertake, the causes you support, etc.
Lead by example.
Does your church tithe, itself? Some churches take 10% of what they collect and give portions toward non-profit organizations, church plants, disaster relief, etc. Don’t brag but share how tithes and offerings bless not just your own church house but also others. Remind members that it’s because of their giving you’re able to do for others – and celebrate those victories.
Ask people to trust God.
At the end of the day, it all boils down to their faith. Invite them into the process, asking them to pray to God to help them come to peace and understanding about the principles of giving.
Obstacles to church giving are real and need to be addressed. Investing in this process could help you grow giving now and in the long run. Communicate with your congregations to calm their concerns, check to make sure you’re being faithful over the resources, and always pray to God for guidance on how best to handle these situations. If people know you’re with them and ultimately they’re giving to God Who’ll take care of them, hopefully together you’ll overcome those obstacles to giving!
Pattie plays an integral role in key areas across ACS Technologies, including project management, business partnerships, operational excellence, and more. Pattie joined ACS Technologies in 1995. Before that, she worked in advertising and brand management leadership with Procter & Gamble. She also worked with Koinonia Partners, the birthplace of Habitat for Humanity. Pattie attends St. Catherine’s Episcopal Church in Florence, SC.
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