Having a healthy perspective on why we don’t give is the first step towards creating trust that connects people to the blessing of God through your church or ministry. I’m positive these aren’t the only reasons, but here are a few discoveries I’ve made along the way.
1. They weren’t taught
Dr. Robert Morris says he teaches about giving every Sunday. But he only teaches about money or tithing a few times a year. He also says, “Don’t apologize for teaching about money, giving or tithing. If you’ve not watched this message from General Council 2017, I highly recommend you block out 90 minutes to listen and reflect. As pastors it is our responsibility to ensure our people have the information and inspiration they need to grow. Don’t assume people come into our churches knowing what tithing is, or why we give. Don’t assume everyone remembers what you taught about tithing last year.
2. They don’t see it modeled
My Father-in-law has always been a generous man. Ever since he gave me his daughter for the rest of her life he has always modeled generosity. He could tell I would shrink with humility when he would thrust a blessing on us. He would look at me and say, “If you aren’t a good receiver you don’t allow others to be a good giver.” We all know scripture says it’s better to give than to receive, what I think my Father-in-law was really teaching me was to find a good receiver. Part of what makes a good quarterback is a good receiver. Has your church or ministry found a good receiver, or good ground? I recommend you find a trust worthy non-profit in your community to give to as a church. If you really want to be a game changer, make it a non-religious organization.
3. They don’t trust the leadership
This is a big one. Thom Rainer states in his blog that one of the biggest reasons churches fail financially is due to lack of transparency. When people see that their church is transparent with finances it builds trust. In addition it displays good stewardship and it models giving. Assuming the church gives financially to partnering organizations. Consider taking 10-15 minutes in a Wednesday or Sunday night service monthly or quarterly to go over the budget. Or make an annual report available online.
4. They can’t see where it’s going
When was the last time you talked about the fun things happening in the children’s ministry or in the youth? Or showed iPhone video from an event you had in the community? No matter how small, our people need to know that they made a difference in the world. Talk about what was able to happen because of giving, and thank them for it. Be quick about it. If you take up an offering to repaint the nursery: show pictures of Don loading the paint in his truck at Lowe’s the next week, or the men’s ministry taping off the room to paint. Let them know their gifts are going to work right away. It’ll be easier for them to give the next time.
5. They weren’t asked
There may be a time where you have to make a heart-felt ask either from the pulpit or in person. I don’t think these are very often but when the need arises we have to obey. The shepherd has to shear the sheep when it’s time. It’s actually healthier and safer for the sheep to be sheered when the time is right. Shearing too often can be hazardous to them and won’t yield good product. Not shearing enough and at the right time, their wool becomes matted or they’ll get entangled in thorns and bushes. (See where this is going…)
6. It’s not convenient
Remember the days when the only way to make a phone call when you were traveling was to find a pay phone? Then you had to have change to use it. If passing the plate is the primary way by which people can give to your church or ministry, you could be denying people the opportunity to be generous. Multiple ways of giving allows people to give in the moment, when they need to, and when they’re traveling. Offer many ways to give, in-person, mail-in, on-line, mobile and text. You can even offer a phone in option with Generush. Let donors choose what works for them.
7. They forget
We’re all busy. Is it a hericy to forget to tithe or give? It may not be an issue during your services because you probably have an offering time which is a good reminder. What about those that miss service? If you send out a news letter or periodic email, or use social media, a gentle reminder that online giving is available is necessary. Especially near the 1st and 15th of the month. Stop falling into the enemy trap that keeps saying, “You’re just asking for money.” We’re not! We’re opening an opportunity for God to rebuke the devourer for their sake and to be blessed by their generosity.
8. They watch service online
Streaming your services online is so easy today and in most cases can be done without any extra costs. Are we allowing our online viewers to fully participate in the service? Including at offering time? Be sure to include a quick mention on how to give on-line so those that are not sitting in worship can participate in worship. Provide a giving link on the main page of your website that leads to the donation page and instruct viewers to click it.
I’d love to hear your thoughts.
After 21 years in full-time church ministry in both pastoral and operations, Mark now oversees all church and business solutions at the Assemblies of God Credit Union. Born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma Mark now resides in Springfield, Missouri with his wife and two children. His passion is fixed on creating tools to help the local church make a massive impact in their communities.