Alan Wildes

Alan Wildes

Giving is Personal – Part II

Originally posted March 2, 2010

This is the second part of a two part post discussing generosity and leadership.  Leaders must take giving and generosity personally in order for the people of their church to consider becoming a more generous person.  Scroll down to view the first part of this entry.

I absolutely love and believe this saying about leadership; People will not outrun the pace of their leadership.

– Leaders must go first.

– Leaders must be transparent about their generosity.

– Leaders must practice what they preach.

When it comes to teaching our people to become more generous givers we must be willing to ask ourselves as leaders of the church do I truly believe in what I am communicating? This is a very difficult question to ask ourselves because leaders don’t like talking about their personal finances any more than anyone else in the church does. We don’t always like what the answers reveal about our own generosity and priorities as it pertains to giving. The reality is we are all human. We all have bills to pay. We all have unexpected expenses come up. We all like nice things. We all want our families to be well provided for. We all want our children’s lives to be better than ours. We all struggle with the topic of money.

Staff and lay leadership must be willing to share their own giving story and how important giving back to God is to their spiritual health and relationship with God. Transparency is the key to leading a congregation toward personal generosity and lifestyle stewardship. Pastors should tell their people on a regular basis that they tithe and that they encourage everyone else to tithe or get on the path to tithing. Unfortunately some pastors, staff members, and lay leaders do not tithe (10%) to God.

However, even if the leaders are not tithing they need to be transparent about that. During a 2009 fall stewardship campaign I listened as a pastor told his congregation that for the past two years he had not been tithing. He listed several reasons as to why, but he then said that they were not reasons, but excuses and he would be tithing in 2010. He stood in front of his entire congregation and was completely transparent! He was disappointed in himself and it was obvious. He could have continued to hide what he was doing, but he made the statement “How can I ask you to tithe if I am not tithing myself?” It is no wonder that this church’s fall stewardship campaign went well. Transparent and bold leadership will produce loyal and passionate followers every time!

– How often does the leadership in your church talk about their personal giving story?

– Has your pastor ever told the congregation he/she tithes and encourages everyone else to tithe?

– Is it obvious to you that the leadership of your church takes giving personally?

What actions will you take if you do not like how you answered some or all of these questions?  I must requote Albert Einstein at this point;  “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

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