As I travel from church to church, all I hear is “We need more money!” Has this conversation come up at your church? Do you meet your budget or do you have the funds you need for mission work? Does your church have maintenance issues that they can’t afford? Many churches tell me they don’t need a Stewardship Program, but yet they have the problem of not having enough money.
In many churches, the pulpit only talks about money once a year. Stewardship sermons need to be preached at various times of the year. Stewardship should be a regular Sunday morning subject, not just when the church is trying to raise money. Money is a regular topic in God’s Word. Being a faithful giver is a subject that denotes our faith and our ability to help others. Of the 35 Parables, over one-third deal with money. Paul wrote about two-thirds of the New Testament, and he constantly talked about giving. The word “tithe” comes from the Greek word “a-sar”, which means a “tenth”. The “tithe” acknowledges that everything belongs to God.
Pastors need to take heed and become the example of giving, if they are going to preach about it. It is impossible for the pastor or any church leader to be able to talk about “giving” if they are not “givers” themselves. How can you ask someone to dig deeper, if you are not doing the same thing? If pastors and Finance leaders in the church would set the example, others would follow. Many pastors and finance committee persons need to take a long look at their own giving before they challenge the congregation.
I think a common mistake in stewardship campaigns is not saying thank you enough to givers. Somehow, someway, we need to thank those who give so abundantly. Sometimes this can be done from the pulpit, sometimes in person, sometimes in a newsletter, and sometimes in giving statements. Pastors don’t always need to know what a person gives, but pastors always need to know when someone increases their giving. A personal thank you means a lot.
People want to know what their money is being used for. Transparency and accountability must be present at every turn. Sharing with the congregation what apportionments are used for is important. Many members have no idea of what it costs to operate a church, and everyone needs to know. When people know what it costs to have a church, they are always more willing to give. Transparency comes from newsletter articles. Transparency comes when we have a “Money Moment” during the worship service and the pastor is not the only one who should be talking to the congregation. When someone has a life changing experience from learning how to “give,” they need a time to share this with others.
Look at how your church gives. Check writing is 50% less now than a few years ago. People, especially younger people use credit cards, debit cards, PayPal, and other financial apps for everything. People often like having a certain amount deducted from their checking accounts so they don’t have to worry every week. And the last word is to pastors – make sure you give in such a way that everyone sees you giving. Make it a point to put something in the offering plate every week, so people can follow your example!
Money, Money, Money will not be a nasty word in the church as we become more transparent and realize that all that we have has come from God! Don’t worry about what someone else gives, but make sure that you are giving according to the gifts God has given you!