Are you, as a church leader, okay with telling your congregation not to give to the church? You need to be, if you’re truly going to encourage your church to grow in generosity. You have to help people see that they’re not giving to your church — they’re giving through your church to make a difference in your world.
If we’re going to help our members and regular attenders grow in discipleship, generosity and giving are a key component. People’s bank statements show you pretty quickly what they really value, and people whose lives are being shaped to be more like Jesus want to give generously. Your church can help be the conduit through which that giving makes an impact in the world.
But before you can say that to people, you as a leader have a responsibility to make sure your church truly is making a difference. Here are four questions to help you assess where you are today:
- Are you making an impact on the people who are in your church every week? Are people consistently making professions of faith, getting baptized, and inviting their friends and family to be part of your church? Are they engaged with your ministries, consistently serving and participating? Are they connecting with each other through small group or volunteer ministries and building the relationships that lead to life change?
- Are you making an impact on your community? Are you reaching out to those in need in your community and your world? Are you partnering with organizations that have the ‘boots on the ground’ to show you where the greatest needs might be? Would people miss you if you were gone?
- Are you meeting critical needs in a credible way? The hard truth is that people won’t give to your church if they don’t see that you’re managing the money well. You have to have the systems and processes in place to manage money well. You have to have easy-to-understand reports and metrics that show how you’re meeting needs. You have to understand the numbers in those reports and the stories they’re telling you.
- Are you sharing the stories of how giving is changing lives? We as humans are hard-wired to connect with stories. Help people see that they’re not giving to your church, but they’re giving towards changing more lives for the glory of God. Celebrate those stories, and celebrate the generosity that’s making them possible. Show and tell people how their giving is making a difference, and how your church is the vehicle for helping that to happen.
Can you tell people with confidence that they’re not giving to your church? Why? Why not?