6 Signs Of A Church Struggling With Generosity
After working with thousands of churches of all shapes and sizes, I’ve started to see specific themes pop up in churches struggling with generosity. Everything else can be going great for the church– Sunday mornings are awesome. Children’s ministry is great. Tons of volunteers. But if a church can’t get their giving going, I can usually tell by identifying one of these six signs…
- SIGN #1: A small amount of people make up for a LARGE percentage of the overall giving.If you lost just a handful of these generous donors, the church would be in a real mess. The 80/20 rule is real, and maybe it always will be. (On average, tithers make up only 10-25 percent of a normal congregation) However, by cultivating a culture of generosity, there’s no reason we shouldn’t see those percentages grow! But why don’t we have a culture of generosity? Well, that leads me to the next sign…
- SIGN #2: Giving is only talked about once or twice a year.Usually around the holidays and maybe around a rally / kickoff Sunday. However, for a church that wants to establish a culture of generosity, giving must be talked about at every service! And beyond just talking about it during a service, it should be part of our process of discipleship as well. It was important enough for Jesus to talk about, in fact, 11 of his 39 parables deal with dollars-and-cents money. If it was important enough for Him, it should be important to us! Not only on a Sunday morning, but in every area of making disciples.
- SIGN #3: The preaching pastor is reluctant to talk about giving from the front.This doesn’t mean they never talk about it, but it’s more about what happens to their nerves when giving comes up as a topic. And I get it, no one wants to be seen as the pastor that’s begging for money from the church, as if it’s for your own personal gain. But when you speak about it confidently because you know it’s what God has called you to do as a Christian, and it’s what He has called us to do as the church, the congregation will recognize that you’re genuine, and be more likely to respond. Communicate to your congregation that YOUR financial blessing as a pastor is not dependent on their giving, but rather on your own stewardship and generosity.
- SIGN #4: The staff / team does not tithe at least 10 percent.If a church’s leadership isn’t giving a Biblical tithe, why would the rest of the church? Leading by example in the area of giving is critically important for creating a culture of generosity. Let us not forget to disciple our church staff and leaders in the area of giving. There is no room for “do as I say, not as I do” anywhere in the church, but that’s even more true when it comes to giving. Creating a culture of generosity starts with church leadership!
- SIGN #5: There’s no giving solution besides “passing the plate.” Churches make it 10 times harder on themselves when they don’t make it easy for members to give online. People don’t carry checkbooks anymore. Period. Churches that accept tithing online increase overall donations by 32%, and 60% of those who attend are willing to give to their church digitally. It’s easier than ever to incorporate digital giving, and by not utilizing this tool, you’re practically robbing the church of donations, and making it harder for your members to be generous!
- SIGN #6: There’s no clarity on how tithes and offerings are spent.Church members may feel reluctant to give if there’s not an easy way to see what their money is supporting. Take time throughout the year to highlight how the dollars are being put to work. For example, if your church financially supports a specific organization in the community, show a video about how they’re making a difference. Share with your congregation how their gifts are impacting lives and growing the kingdom!
This is a great time to take inventory of how your church communicates the importance of giving generously. Take some time and really reflect on areas your church can improve the message of giving and stewardship. The reality is, if we’re not teaching about it from the stage, and discipling our church members in this area, we are robbing them of the blessings from God that come when we are faithful with our finances. There’s no quick fix to cultivating a culture of generosity, but by recognizing the areas we can improve, seeking God, and being faithful to the mission He has called us to, we can lead our churches to live more generously than ever before!