If you ask the typical church member these questions the answer would probably be a resounding, "Yes."
Do you want to see our church lead more people to Christ? To invest more heavily in local, state, and international missions? To more effectively love the hurting people within our community and congregation?
The problem is not what your typical member wants to see happen, it's what they are willing to do to make it happen. Everyone wants to reap a great harvest, until they realize the cost of the seed.
If your church is consistently being the hands and feet of Jesus, you'll always need more money. Growing generosity in your church does not happen by accident. You must develop a thriving culture of generosity. Here are three tips to do so:
1) Connect Giving to Life Change
Giving should be relational, not simply a transaction. Show your congregation how lives are being changed through your church.
To which of these scenarios would you be more compelled to give?
a) "Dear church family, the church bus died last week and it will cost $8,000 to replace. Would you consider making an investment this week in our new van purchase as the plate is passed?"
b) "Dear church family, I want you to meet Jacob. He's one of our high school students that came to our church through our bus ministry. Three months ago, Jacob gave his life to The Lord. Next Sunday he's getting baptized. As you may have already heard, this past week our church bus died. It'll cost around $8,000 to replace. As the plate is passed this morning, would you prayerfully consider making an investment in the teens in our community just like Jacob?"
Never be manipulative. But always show people how their ministry dollars are leading others to Christ.
2) Cast Clear and Concise Vision Constantly
Pastor, it is impossible to cast too much vision.
If I said right now, "In 75 words or less, write down the vision of your church over the coming 12 months," could you do it? Could your congregation?
Clear vision should become part of your church's DNA.
Proverbs 29:18 says, "Where there is no vision, the people perish..."
Spend some time this week to get crystal clear on your church's vision. Write it down (on paper) in 100 words or less. Then, communicate it to your congregation on a weekly basis.
People are more generous when they know exactly where the church is going. If you fail to effectively cast vision, your ministry (and budget) will suffer.
3) Teach What the Bible Says about Money
Teach people the joy that accompanies cheerful and sacrificial giving. Show them the blessings of God that are promised to those who give faithfully. Help people understand giving is worship.
Speaking to your congregation about can be tough. Realize generosity is a spiritual discipline. Just like prayer, fasting, and studying Scripture, it's your responsibility to shepherd your people well in this important area.
Growing generosity will take hard work, prayer, and consistent Biblical teaching. But it can be done. And here's the most important part - not only will you be able to do ministry more effectively, but the hearts of your people will grow, too.
Question: What can you do differently over the next 90 days to begin cultivating a culture of generosity in your church?
This post was written by Larry Poole, Director of Generosity at Northpark Church in Raleigh, NC.