When pastors and church leaders approach the subject of stewardship, they often do so from one of two perspectives.
There are churches who rarely talk about money. It may be because they fear the repercussions. Or they claim that God will provide without any action steps. But either way, money is taboo. It’s a subject to be avoided.
On the other hand, there are churches who talk about money all the time, often using guilt to motivate people to give. Heavy handed tactics become powerful weapons in the name of making the bottom line.
In the middle of either of these approaches are the people in the pews.
Maybe you wonder…
- Are people turned off and turned away when the church talks about money?
- Is it true millennials are no longer giving to churches and religious organizations?
- Can you get an older congregation to embrace new giving technology?
These questions, and a lot more, are hot topics among church leaders who wrestle with the principles of biblical generosity and practical church leadership.
Raising money in the church is a complicated issue, but it’s not an issue to avoid.
In this article, I want to talk about seven stewardship principles, while encouraging you to take practical action steps to lead your church to generosity.
Rule #1: It’s OK to ask people for money.
One of the big reasons pastors avoid the subject of money isn’t a bad reason at all. It stems from caring for people and not wanting them to step away from the church, thinking it’s all about money.
This is actually a good tension to embrace.
But most people are not surprised to learn operating a church takes money. And they are not offended by being asked to participate in something important.
It’s HOW we ask that matters.
If you want people to give, you have to ask people to give.
Not with guilt. Or with a heavy hand.
But with clarity.
Too many times in churches, we make people aware there is an offering. But we don’t clearly ask them to participate at some level.
In this way, awareness becomes the enemy of action.
Awareness: “We’re about to receive an offering.”
Action: “We’re going to pass the offering and I would like to invite you to participate.”
If God has called you to lead a church and if your church is doing eternally significant work, you don’t have to apologize for talking about money or asking people to fund the vision.
You can actually talk about money quite regularly without overdoing it. It might look like something like this.
- Once a week – Take 60 seconds right before the offering and share a quick story or connect the dots for people. You don’t have to preach an entire sermon or make the whole day about it to properly highlight generosity. Our friends at Fully Funded have a comprehensive stewardship program that includes 52 giving scripts.
- Once a quarter – Preach a sermon on money, or at least devote a significant amount of time during a sermon to the topic.
- Once a year– Take a few weeks to talk about whole-life stewardship. Giving is certainly a part of this, but so is saving, spending, debt, volunteering, leadership, time and many other topics related to being a wise steward of resources.
Why is it important to clearly ask people to give? Because stewardship is a part of the discipleship process. Jesus said our hearts and our treasure were connected. They influence each other.
Why are we asking? Because stewardship is a part of discipleship. Heart and money connected.