Over the next several weeks I plan to continue to answer the question “Should we talk about giving in worship?” It is a simple concept that has a proven track record of increasing giving in churches. However, many/most churches will not talk about giving in worship. I am perplexed by this. If you were to ask any pastor what is your number one concern/struggle in your church they would probably list “finances” as one of their top three concerns. If finances are a major concern of most pastors then let’s figure out a way to make this situation better.
My ministry has been influenced a good deal by Andy Stanley of Northpoint Community Church in Alpharetta, GA. I have heard Andy speak many times on stewardship, giving, generosity, etc. He has been quoted many times regarding generosity “You have to PREACH it, You have to TEACH it, and you have to CELEBRATE it.” I heard him say that several years ago and I found a summary of a presentation he did at Exponential in 2004. You will enjoy the read. Andy is also known for saying “At Northpoint we want our people to know what we want for them regarding finances; not what we want from them.” Do your people know what you want for them regarding finances? The only way for them to know is for you to tell them. Start by preaching it.
“Okay Alan, I am willing to preach about generosity. How often should I preach about it and where do I begin?”
How often? I think every pastor in America should look at the calendar and plan three times a year to preach about generosity. You should look at it like you are going to give the congregation one full course meal a year and two snacks.
- The full course meal should include a 3-6 week series on tithing (old testament and new). Teach your people what your church’s interpretation of the tithe is. Do we tithe on the gross or the net? You make that decision and teach it. Start from the ground level and build up. Don’t ASSUME! You know what happens when we assume right? (contact me if you don’t know:) Do not assume your people know all there is to know about tithing. They DON’T! If they knew everything there is to know about tithing they would be doing it right? Because the blessings we receive from tithing are overwhelming! I know that everyone in your church is not tithing because less than 6% of Christians tithe (10% of their income) to their church according to Barna.
- The two snacks should be a 2-4 week preaching series dealing with other areas of generosity. Being truly generous is a heart condition; not an intellectual condition. Being generous is a lifestyle. A truly generous person does everything with a generous spirit; prayer, service, encouragement, missions, witness, AND giving. The two snacks during the year should include ALL of the components of generosity, but don’t forget the finances. The snacks are a great time to do a “refresher” on giving of our money.