Money is always an awkward subject — especially when it comes to church tithing. Yet, the Bible instructs people to give, so it’s important for church leaders to broach the subject. This can be done gracefully in a manner that invites participation instead of making people feel guilty.
Giving really is an opportunity for people to invest in God’s work. Through giving, people can play a role in church efforts and the impact churches make in the community and world. But, before you start talking on the subject, be sure the check out these helpful reminders for how to talk about giving to your congregation.
God invites people to participate in that missional work through serving the community and providing financial assistance that makes the work possible. The Old and New Testaments demonstrate a call for giving, through tithes and offerigs, in order to care for the poor and to support and fund the ministries of God's people - particularly those teaching and spiritually leading the congregation. Doing so furthers the work of God.
Pastors, teachers and other church leaders should connect giving with the means in which God often furthers His work in the world. It is important to demonstrate how giving often provides food or medical care to those in need and also facilitates the work of God in the church. When people participate in giving, they share in God’s work in their church and in the world.
The tangible act of giving demonstrates a person’s honor for God. It serves as a reminder that God is ultimately the one who provides and gives the surplus that people possess. The act also reorients a person’s priorities placing God and the needs of others before our personal desires.
In ancient times, the Israelites were called to offer their first fruits as a sacrifice to God. Unlike today, it called for a great deal of trust. When you harvest some of the first fruits, you are not guaranteed the remainder of the harvest. A sudden drought, hailstorm or swarm of locusts could strike and leave you with no food. Such a catastrophe could threaten a person’s life because there was no modern transportation to bring food from other areas. The act of offering first fruits showed a trust in God as the one who would provide protection and provision for His people throughout the remainder of the harvest season.
Today, people often think of worship in terms of singing songs. Yet, the Bible clearly demonstrates that worship involves the offering of our lives to God. This includes money. Church leaders should help define the “time of giving” during a service as an act of worship. It is a recognition that God is good, and we hold nothing back but joyfully offer all the aspects of our lives unto God. We recognize Him as the one who has given all good things to us and we return a portion to Him as an act of our love, adoration and worship.
Linking the story of people’s giving with the impact it has made over time is a great way to set the foundation for how people can bring about results that influence future generations.
Church leaders need to periodically connect congregational giving and the impact it is making. This can be done via social media channels or in the church newsletter. It can also be helpful to create a short video that highlights the impact of giving. This is often great to include as part of a year in review video.
It’s important to set aside time to tell these stories of giving on channels that resonate with your audiences. Let your congregation know and celebrate some of the results of their giving of tithes and offerings. It will inspire others to give and participate in compelling work that the church is doing.
Remind people of the true blessing in giving. You don’t have to guilt your church by giving them a mandate. Instead, invite them to participate in something bigger than themselves. You can also talk about the various ways to give. Money is certainly one of them but help people think about serving as well. This will ensure your teaching is balanced by connecting to worship and God’s mission.
It is important for church leaders to share how giving connects with the larger vision of the church. For example, your church may focus on investing in the next generation of church leaders. This would mean supporting children’s ministry, church planting efforts, local seminaries and even youth or university ministries. Not every dollar donated would go to this sort of specific vision, yet it would be an area to emphasize as what the church hopes to realize through giving efforts.
When leaders communicate a vision for giving, they invite people to participate in seeing those goals realized. Providing a tangible goal to focus on invites people to join in the effort and support it. From there, leadership can continue to increase buy-in and periodically remind people of the purpose for giving. Communication is not only from the pulpit. There are a number of ways to communicate your mission and to even build it into the fabric of the church culture. Giving can be one of those elements that becomes part of the mission, vision and culture in your congregation.
Share a call to action by creating a goal or campaign that links to your church’s vision. You may want to frame the campaign as a slogan such as, “here, near and far” and invite people to support the church’s focus in those areas. Or you may set a goal to see a certain amount of dollars donated toward a cause, such as helping refugees. Regardless of what you want to support, you must first call people to participate. Make the ask that invites them to join in the mission of God, acting in worship and obedience and joining in God’s story of changing people’s lives.
There are so many positive ways to talk about giving in your congregation. Just remember to invite people into the great privilege of what God has in store for them and how He will use their faithful giving for His glory and their joy.
Steven Borders is a Marketing Strategist at SignUpGenius and has served in a number of church leadership roles. He has an MDiv from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary.