Do you have a generous church?

Church leaders often base the answer to this question on whether or not the church met their annual budget. If a church meets their budget, they are generous. If a church does not meet their budget, they struggle with generosity.

While meeting the budget may reveal something about a church’s generosity, such a correlation is littered with problems. What if the church simply did not budget well? What if a local economic downturn hurt members’ income therefore lessening their numerical giving?

So, if meeting the budget can only answer a small portion of the question, what are some other indicators of generosity? Though not exhaustive, here are five indicators that you have a generous church:

1. Generosity is an explicit goal.

Generous churches talk and teach about generosity.

They are intentional about raising up generous disciples. They do not shy away from their desire to see men and women in their church reflect the sacrificial generosity of our God. They set generosity expectations in their prospective member class and challenge current members to live and give generously.

Generous churches talk and teach about generosity.

It is not accidental that they are a generous church.

2. Church leaders are generous.

Generous churches are led by generous church leaders.

Leaders of generous churches challenge the members to go where they have already been. Church leaders are asked to commit to sacrificial giving, and they are held accountable. This expectation often extends beyond paid staff and to key lay leaders as well.

Generous churches are led by generous church leaders.

Church members can sense it, their leaders are living out their words.

3. Designated gifts are limited.

Designated gifts (gifts that are designated to go only to a specific cause or ministry) are not always bad, but excessive designated gifts can be a sign of distrust.

Members feel that they know how to leverage the resources better than the church leaders. Conversely, limited designated giving can indicate trust in the church leaders’ ability to steward resources well. And where there is trust, there is increased generosity.

4. The 80/20 principle does not apply.

As it pertains to church generosity, the 80/20 principle means that 80 percent of a church’s giving comes from 20 percent of the congregation.

Church leaders often assume that this top heavy giving is unavoidable. It isn’t. While generous churches still have larger givers that make up a significant portion of the church’s offerings, the percentages are not as stunning. Generous churches have a large amount of less wealthy individuals who give sacrificially.

5. High volunteer participation rate.

Generous churches experience, not just a high financial participation rate, but a high volunteer participation rate.

The reason is simple—a generous disciple’s generosity does not stop with his or her wallet. Their openhandedness extends to other areas of their life, including their time.

The reason is simple—a generous disciple’s generosity does not stop with his or her wallet.

Generous disciples volunteer. They support the church with their money and their time.


So, do you have a generous church? Meeting the church budget is important, but it is not always the best indicator. As you evaluate your church’s generosity, consider the five indicators above. And hopefully, you will find yourself realizing that you truly have a generous church.

If you find that your church doesn’t exhibit the characteristics of a generous church, the SecureGive team can help. In addition to providing the best giving software on the market, they help churcesh build a strategy that will increase giving and create a culture of generosity. Give them a call (855-895-8951) and let them help your church become more generous.