It is mid summer and many finance teams, stewardship teams, generosity teams and church staffs are planning their fall stewardship strategies. The fall has become the default time to talk about giving.
I have posted on the topic of this post before, but I thought it was the right time to talk about it again. The summer often times illuminates some gaps in a church’s generosity game plan. Ministry dollars are high on people’s radars during the summer. One area of a generosity game plan to focus on to help avoid gaps in giving is for pastors to be aware of trends in giving of their people as well as changes in their people’s giving. To know this information might mean the senior pastor may need to know what their people give. This is a controversial topic.
I am in favor of pastors knowing what their people give for a few reasons:
- Financial giving is often times a good indicator of someone’s spiritual health and/or personal situation. 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.
- 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.
- 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 (not necessarily those who give the most $) 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?