Should pastors know what their people give?


I was in a generosity game plan workshop yesterday with over 10 North GA. UMC pastors.  We were there to discuss generosity, stewardship and how we can become more effective at communicating the vision of the church and the need for the giver to give.  Many churches are hurting financially and for the past several months most churches have been in reactive mode.

During the dialogue yesterday a pastor asked me what did I think about pastors knowing what their people give.  He said he had always not wanted to know to ensure that he would not minister to his people differently based on his knowledge of how much they give or don’t give.  It stirred up quite the conversation.

I am in favor of pastors knowing what their people give for a few reasons:

  1. Financial giving is often times a good indicator of someone’s spiritual health.  If a family in your church who gives regularly suddenly stops giving or begins giving significantly less, something is going on.  If the pastor doesn’t know that their giving pattern has changed, he/she can’t minister to that family.  There may have been a job loss, or a large medical bill, or other issues that could affect their giving.
  2. Knowing what people give makes it easier to identify leaders.  Pastors want leaders to serve who are committed with their prayer, service, time, passion, AND financial gifts.  Most indicators of leadership can be seen; giving can’t.  Pastors need to have a good relationship with their treasurer, bookkeeper, business administrator, etc. in order to make sure people serving or being asked to serve in leadership roles are generous givers of their financial resources.  Leaders MUST go first.  The people being led will not outrun the pace of the leader.
  3. Generous givers can help shape the vision of the church.  People who give are passionate about what they are giving to.  In this case it is God and the church.  In most organizations the people who invest the most finances often times shape the look and the feel of that particular organization.  Why?  They have the most invested, are passionate, and have a lot to lose if the organization is not successful.  Isn’t the church the same way?  Shouldn’t we have our most generous givers on the Vision Team of our churches?  Aren’t they the most passionate and invested in the future of the church?  Isn’t that who you want on your vision team?

I passionately believe pastors should know what their people give.  What do you think?

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