In March I have had the opportunity to speak to groups of pastors and lay leaders regarding the topic of a Generosity Game Plan for churches. There are tons of questions to be asked regarding this subject, but the main question I keep coming back to is “Why don’t most churches have an intentional stewardship plan?”
All churches have a stewardship strategy. These strategies vary widely from never talking about stewardship at all to having a Generosity Team with a comprehensive strategy to include all aspects of the church and its’ ministries in the process. However, in my 10 years of working with churches and their stewardship needs I find that most churches do not have a detailed stewardship strategy outside of having some type of fall stewardship campaign. My simple question is “Why?”
Here are a few of my thoughts on why:
1. Pastors do not want to teach/preach on stewardship due to the feedback they know they will get on Monday morning. Pastors get the phone calls and emails from those lay people who are really uncomfortable with hearing the pastor talk about giving from the pulpit/stage. I have heard some really tough stories from pastors pertaining to feedback they get from sermons on stewardship. After hearing some of those stories I can see why pastors might be a little tentative to preach/teach on giving.
2. Lay people do not want to hear the teaching/preaching on stewardship. I hear and read all the time from christians and non-christians “All preachers ever talk about is money” or “I don’t ever hear from the church until they need more money.” Most people don’t want to hear about money in church because it makes them uncomfortable. Often times the discomfort comes from knowing they are not where they need to be regarding their own giving.
3. Church leaders do not feel confident about how to put together an intentional plan. Pastors, staff member, and lay leaders alike often times do not have the tools and training to put together a comprehensive generosity game plan. In most cases the desire is there, but the knowledge on how to get started is absent.
What should church leaders do?
1. Pastors please preach on stewardship and teach the biblical principles of giving. Please preach at least two 4 week sermon series on financial giving; once in the spring and once in the fall. Have confidence that you are doing what is right. If you do not teach your people then who will?
2. Lay leaders please go to bat for your pastors when they preach on stewardship. Please encourage others to have patience and to hear the entire message and the heart from which the message is delivered. The church does need money to operate and that is a part of stewardship, but giving is more about the need of the giver to give than the need of the church to pay bills.
3. Church leaders please start your plan. Please create a generosity team if you do not already have one. If you do have a stewardship/generosity team please get them together at least once a month to discuss a generosity game plan for your church. Even if you feel like you don’t know where to start I would encourage you to dive in and get going.