What causes hesitation in pastors when it comes to teaching on generosity? Pastors courageously hit on a number of difficult topics throughout the year. Covering challenging topics is a must for pastors desiring to teach what the Bible says. So, what is it about generosity that creates a pause for pastors?
Often, the pause comes from a few lies. They may have heard these lies from other pastors or churchgoers. Maybe, these lies are just assumed. Together let’s look at five lies pastors believe about generosity sermons:
Lie #1: Churchgoers will leave en masse.
The truth is that most churchgoers welcome teachings on money and generosity. As long as attendees know the pastor wants something for them and not from them, they will lean in to the sermon and show up next Sunday to hear another sermon. They recognize this is an area in life in which they struggle and are eager to hear what God has to say about it.
Lie #2: Churchgoers will fill up the inbox with complaints.
Is it possible to receive a complaint? Sure. But these complaints usually happen significantly less than pastors imagine. Most pastors find that the number of critical emails are no more than after any other sermon.
So if complaints aren’t what increases, then what does? Generosity. The number of gifts to your church will grow in response to teaching. Instead of counting the amount of critical emails, consider counting the number of gifts as a better way to gauge churchgoers’ response.
Lie #3: Churchgoers already understand biblical generosity.
Many pastors are surprised to learn how little their church grasps God’s teachings on giving. Not too long ago, giving to the local church was just a part of what people did to be good citizens. The act was cultural, and very few pastors felt the need to teach on generosity. But things have changed. Pastors should assume that churchgoers know very little about biblical generosity, and that they won’t take the next step in their generosity journey unless the church shows them what that next step looks like.
Lie #4: Churchgoers don’t want to be challenged in this area of their lives.
The truth is that churchgoers want better answers than what the world has to offer. The men and women in the church regularly have questions about these topics. They have experienced the world’s way of doing things, and it left them wanting. Because of this, churchgoers want someone to share with them the truth about money and giving. They want answers that lead to fulfillment and satisfaction. They want the answers found in Scripture. They want to be challenged.
Lie #5: Churchgoers don’t want to financially support the pastor.
Most churchgoers do not actually draw a straight line from their giving to the pastor’s salary. A handful may use the phrase, “I pay your salary so…,” but this is likely only one of the many challenges you have with these few. The vast majority of churchgoers don’t view teachings on generosity as a fundraising pitch for the pastor’s benefits package. They are giving to the larger mission of the church. They give to be a part of reaching their community and world for Christ.
Don’t believe the lies and focus on the truth. Teach biblical generosity so that your church is filled with men and women who understand and reflect God’s generosity to a lost and dying world.