“The church members here just don’t give.”
You’ve probably heard this comment before. Or maybe, you have made this comment before.
A recent study by State of the Plate, found that 59% of churches’ budget were either stagnant or in decline from the prior year.
Your church might be able to relate.
But I am sure that you know or have heard of some churches that are bucking this trend. They are churches that are characterized as generous churches.
What is it about these churches? What are some of their common practices that may contribute to a culture of generosity?
Here are a few that I have found:
- Generous churches talk and teach about generosity. I know. Mind blown. But the reality is that most churches don’t really spend too much time on generosity beyond a single sermon series. Generous churches believe that discipleship includes teachings on generosity and that if their church is failing to be generous, they may be failing in their ability to disciple well. So in both big groups (services) and small groups (Sunday school, home groups, etc.), generosity is consistently emphasized, not because they want more money but because they believe that the Bible consistently emphasizes
- Generous churches know their urgent mission (and they talk about it a lot). Talk of mission motivates, not talk of budget shortfalls. People want to give to a place where they believe their money is making a real difference in the world, where they can see God’s Kingdom advancing. Generous churches focus on their mission. They talk about it all the time. They don’t guilt people into giving, which only creates a temporary response. They encourage people to join them on the mission, which creates generosity.
- Generous churches are generous storytellers. Changed lives changes giving. Generous churches find ways to tell the life-changing stories that have happened in the church. They have a system in place to collect the stories, and, with the permission from the particular individual, pass those stories on to the congregation. A great time to do storytelling is prior to the offering in a service.
- Generous churches are lead by generous, mission-passionate pastors. The pastor talks about why his family gives to the church and what motivates him. He leads with action and words. And he is constantly communicating the urgent mission of the church.
- Generous churches set generosity expectations for members. This typically happens during the new member class. It is made known that the church they are considering joining is a generous church, it is an emphasis. And while hard and fast giving requirements are often not presented, the expectation to be generous is.
- Generous churches are financially wise and trustworthy. Generous churches are known for wise stewardship. Many get external audits to demonstrate their ability to be trusted.
- Generous churches view stewardship as a horizontal ministry, not a vertical They don’t isolate stewardship. They let it impact the DNA of all the ministries within the church.
- Generous churches know that stewardship is about more than money. First, they know that God has called us to be a good steward of all things, not just our money. Second, they know that stewardship is not about an attempt to increase giving, it is about something much more consequential—the heart. It is about teaching and encouraging others to reflect the heart of a radically generous God.
God designed us, not to be hoarders, but conduits through which His generosity flows.
Generous churches are intentional about helping their church members align with God’s design for their lives and their money.