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6 Common Surprises About Church Giving for First-time Pastors

Every first-time pastor has their fair share of surprising moments, moments when they realized that all the education in the world could not fully prepare them for what they now face.

Some of those moments relate to their church’s generosity. Sometimes, the pastors are encouraged by what they find, and, other times, they find themselves, well, not as encouraged.

Here are six common surprises about church giving for first-time pastors:

1. Church members appreciate receiving gratitude for their generosity.

Many first-time pastors don’t understand the power of “thank you” when it comes to generosity. While most church members do not give to be noticed, most church members appreciate a simple “thank you.” And when first-time pastors start to find small ways to show appreciation, they’re surprised that the gratitude often leads to further generosity.

And when first-time pastors start to find small ways to show appreciation, they’re surprised that the gratitude often leads to further generosity.

2. Some church members would love to give to the church out of their estate, but no one from the church asks them.

As church members craft their wills and estate plans, they are reminded of the non-profits that asked if they would be included in the estate. While these church members would include distributions to the church, no one from the church ever mentioned the possibility. During the estate planning process, the church is out of sight, and therefore, out of mind. And faithful members end up leaving portions of their estate to family and other nonprofits, but not the church.

3. The biggest critics are usually poor givers.

You know the saying, “the squeaky wheel gets the oil.” This is often true in church ministry.

First-time pastors will often spend a significant amount of time with the larger, consistent critics. Some first-time pastors assume that these critics are vocal because they are significantly involved with their time and money. However, they are eventually shocked to realize that their assumption could not be further from the truth.

4. Digital giving provides the most financial consistency for the church.

Initially, first-time pastors do not put much thought into how a person gives.

And certainly, the way a person gives is not the most important generosity component. However, first-time pastors are surprised to see how digital giving provides financial consistency for the church. Automated giving allows for consistency in amount and date. First-time pastors will eventually find themselves appreciating how digital giving makes stewarding the church’s financial resources significantly easier.

First-time pastors are surprised to see how digital giving provides financial consistency for the church.

5. The top 20% of givers usually give 80% of the total.

First-time pastors are surprised when they discover that a small percentage of the congregation makes up a significant percentage of the annual giving. They are even more surprised to find that their church is not the only church where this occurs.

6. The biggest givers are not who they think they are.

While first-time pastors are surprised to find that the biggest critics are often poor givers, they are also surprised to find out who the biggest givers are. The biggest givers are often not the wealthiest or the most vocal church members. First-time pastors often find that some of their church’s largest givers are a quiet and, seemingly, ordinary few who sacrifice financially in an extraordinary way.

First-time pastors often find that some of their church’s largest givers are a quiet and, seemingly, ordinary few who sacrifice financially in an extraordinary way.

 

If you are new to ministry, thank you for heeding God’s call on your life. Thank you for pastoring. Thank you for navigating the many, inevitable surprises that come along with shepherding a local church.

As a company founded by pastors, we understand what you’re up against because we’ve walked in your shoes before. SecureGive has had the privilege of serving pastors and churches for over 17 years. We pride ourselves on not just being a provider, but a partner by offering the resources and tools you need to cultivate a culture of generosity in your church. Interested in reading more resources? Need help creating a giving strategy? Want to have a chat about how you can build a generous church? Send us an email to grow@securegive.com or give us a call at 855-895-8951.

Art Rainer
Art Rainer

Art Rainer is the Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He writes and speaks widely about issues related to finance, wealth, and generosity, and is the author of The Money Challenge: 30 Days of Discovering God’s Design for You and Your Money. Art lives in Wake Forest, North Carolina with his wife, Sarah, and their three children.

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