5 things the senior pastor must do to have a generous church


You are busy.  You try and juggle the different hats you wear.  You have a calendar on your phone with reminders and you have an assistant to keep you straight.  However, we all are guilty of getting caught in the weeds while neglecting the entire lawn.  Senior Pastors are no different.  I work with pastors everyday and one of the consistent issues I see keeping them from leading their church toward a healthy culture of generosity is focus.  Over the next couple of weeks I plan to talk about the 5 things the senior pastor MUST do in order to have a generous church.

The first thing a senior pastor must go to lead a church toward being generous is give generously.  If the church teaches 10% tithing, the senior pastor must give 10% – at least.  If the church teaches generous giving instead of % giving, the senior pastor must give generously and tell the people what generous giving looks like to them. One of my mentors regularly uses a quote to explain leadership in the area of generosity.  He says “People who are being led will not run faster than the senior leader.”  The senior pastor sets the pace for generous giving and generous living for the church.  If the people do not know their senior pastor gives generously to the church and beyond, the people will wonder what they should give.

Pastors are often reluctant to talk in specifics regarding their giving out of fear of appearing pretentious or coming across bragging.  A pastor’s salary is public knowledge in most churches so people can do the math.  People want to know the expectations of them regarding financial giving and the senior pastor must set those expectations.  Do pastors need to give specific $ amounts regarding their giving?  They do if it will help their people have a better understanding of what they should give.  The only way to remove all doubt is to tell the congregation what generous giving looks like in the pastor’s world.

Pastors, you cannot shy away from this responsibility.  You cannot ask someone else to do this for you.  You can’t bring in an outside speaker to frame up giving expectations for the people you lead.  You cannot write an article in the church newsletter and expect that to “cover it for now.”  You cannot share the teaching responsibilities with your staff.  You can’t offer a personal finance class on Wednesday nights and call that a generosity game plan for your church.  You cannot have lay testimonies about giving if you aren’t willing to give your own.  You cannot apologize for talking about giving and stewardship; Jesus surely didn’t!

Pastors, you get blamed for a lot of things you don’t deserve and sometimes get credit for things you didn’t do.  There are responsibilities you can delegate and there are MANY you SHOULD delegate.  However, setting the pace and expectations of what generous giving and generous living looks like in your church is not something you can pass off to someone else.

You can do this!  You were called to do this!  God will walk with you into this journey.  I pray for you and all pastors as you lead in the area of generosity.

Can I help you with this?  I’d love to hear your comments and questions.

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  1. jcaprell55

    Thanks Alan for your words of encouragement. We were discussing our church finances and playing a ‘what if…’ game, wondering what our income would be if everyone tithed or understood generosity. I told our stewardship chair that I would really like to have some of the money we give to the church staying in my bank account. (We have been helping our oldest with grad school and our youngest with private music conservatory). But I tithe because it adds a dimension of trust to my life; my life has deeper meaning, and is more joyful.
    Hmmm, sounds like a sermon idea!
    Thanks again.
    Jim Caprell
    Simpsonville, SC

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