Without question, 2020 will be forever remembered as a terrible year. It will regularly become a baseline by which other years are measured. “At least it wasn’t like 2020,” will likely be a common refrain.
But even though the calendar tells us we’ve moved on from that dreadful year, the events and their corresponding fears of 2020 are still reverberating into 2021. The economy’s recovery is still in question, jobs are still being cut, and income is still being reduced. Moving from December 31 to January 1 has not alleviated individuals’ real financial concerns. 2020 is now a memory, but the fear of one’s financial future is a very present reality for many Americans.
2020 is now a memory, but the fear of one’s financial future is a very present reality for many Americans.
The people in the pew are not immune to this fear. In many churches, you will find men and women that are just as hesitant to give and live generously as those outside of the church because of their financial concerns.
But there should be a difference. Believers in Christ should respond to crisis and concern in a way that reflects an eternal hope, not an earthly, momentary one.
Pastors have the opportunity to change a congregation’s focus from the momentary to eternal. This is not ignoring the current situation but viewing it through the lens of eternity. Here are three suggestions for moving church members from a place of fear and tightfistedness to a place of trust and generosity:
1. Acknowledge the situation and corresponding fear.
Fear results from either experience or anticipation. Some have lost jobs or had their income reduced and many have much tighter budgets than before. If they have not experienced such events yet, they are anticipating them, waiting until it is their turn to have their world rocked. Acknowledge and do not dismiss reality. This will give you the perfect opportunity to point the congregation to the promises of God.
2. Point them to the promises of God.
When Scripture speaks on money and possessions, a promise often follows. Matthew 6:25-34 is one of these passages. Jesus tells us not to worry about our present needs, even those caused by a global pandemic. Why are we not to worry? Because there is a promise—He will provide, Jehovah Jireh.
We see these types of promises over and over again. Those who set their sights on the promises of God may or may not financially endure, but they will certainly spiritually thrive. Encourage them to live and give generously, even during uncertain times, because of the promises found in God’s Word. Care for souls and grow disciples by pointing out the promises of God.
Encourage them to live and give generously, even during uncertain times, because of the promises found in God’s Word.
3. Provide practical ways for them to take the next step.
An understanding of and trust in God’s promises are often demonstrated through action. As you point your church to God’s promises, give them a tangible way to express their trust in Him. You can do this by encouraging members to give online or through a recurring donation. Or utilize community outreach by challenging your members to provide a meal for a neighbor or someone in need. Help them break the chains of financial fear with generosity. Provide two or three practical ways they can show that they have an eternal hope.
Help them break the chains of financial fear with generosity.
There is a financial fear among those who sit in our churches. Put an eternal lens on the current situation by pointing churchgoers to God’s promises. And in doing so, may fear turn into hope. May the struggles of the world result in the flourishing of disciples’ souls.