Have you ever heard it said that the last thing to get converted is a person’s wallet? Unfortunately, that saying is often true when it comes to stewardship in the church. Many people are eager to attend on Sundays, get involved in a small group, and maybe even serve a few times each month, but cringe when the topic of financial stewardship comes up. If you are a pastor or church leader, you’ve probably scratched your head thinking of ideas to encourage generosity within your congregation. Money is a touchy subject. You need your congregation to be generous so your church can reach more people with the gospel, but even one well-intended sentence has the potential rub people the wrong way. It’s hard to find a balance, but we hope to help you with that today. Here are three ideas to help you encourage generosity in your church:
Define stewardship biblically
Psalm 24:1 says “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.” Simply put, everything in this world belongs to God. Any earthly possessions, including our wealth, has been entrusted to us by him. It’s so easy for us to forget that. We often slip into believing the lie that we own all of our possessions and can do as we please with them. “How dare someone tell me what to do with my money!” Many people who are uncomfortable with the idea of sacrificial giving are operating on this false foundation. As a leader in your church, you have the opportunity to lovingly help your congregation see that they are not owners of their wealth, but managers of it. God calls us to be wise with how we manage our money (Matthew 25:14-30), and the Bible also teaches us that we will give an account for how we manage it (1 Corinthians 4:2). Sacrificial giving becomes more joyful when we realize what a privilege it is to manage the resources God has entrusted to us.
Tell your congregation where their gifts are going
Stewardship is a two-way street. God calls us to be both generous and wise with the wealth he’s entrusted to us. This applies to both individuals in the church and the church itself. People aren’t going to be as excited to give if they think that their money is simply funding your pastor’s family vacation. To be sure, your team needs to make a livable wage and have time to relax (and parts of your church’s donations should be going toward that), but sharing stories about how your church’s generosity has helped spread the gospel will have a huge impact on your congregation. If you are supporting missionaries, share updates about their work. If you have a building campaign, share updates about how that new space has impacted people once it’s been built. Additionally, focus on the communal aspect of giving! Supporting the church financially is a team effort. How awesome is it to be able to tell your congregation, “Together, we were able to fully fund this missions project”?!
Lead by example
This may be an obvious one, but it’s extremely important. Your congregation isn’t going to give sacrificially if the leaders of the church aren’t doing so themselves. By practicing what you preach, you are showing your church that everyone is in this together. When you lead by example, others are more likely to follow suit.
We’ve been talking about stewardship a lot recently, and for good reason...Jesus talks about it more than anyone else in the Bible! There is so much that goes into financial stewardship, from getting good processing rates all the way up to the message from the stage, and we are passionate about providing you with resources that help your church increase generosity. Speaking of resources, we've recently published a free webinar and eBook about getting the best processing rates, which you can access by clicking the links. And as always, if you have questions or would like additional resources, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!