One of our top goals at Generis is to “normalize the conversation surrounding generosity in every church.” I work hard to help pastors and church leaders get over obstacles and address fears surrounding the topic of giving/generosity/stewardship. A key factor in beginning to normalize the generosity conversation is for the lead pastor of every church to be comfortable with the topic. The best way to do this is to have a strategy.
A definition of tithing can be one of the most controversial topics in any church. It is imperative that each church have a clear understanding and explanation of tithing. One of the first questions to answer is “Will our church use the word tithing or not?” If the term ‘tithe’ is going to be used the pastor must make it clear what the church’s stance is on tithing and what the expectations are for each person in the church. If the church is not going to use ‘tithe’ then the pastor and leaders must make it clear what terminology will be used to discuss giving.
Most churches use the term ‘tithe’ to discuss ‘regular giving.’ Here are three steps to establishing a clear definition and explanation of tithing/giving in your church:
- Evaluate – As the pastor what is your stance on tithing? What do you feel the Bible’s stance is on tithing? Do you practice what you preach? Is your giving where it should be? Have you had a recent discussion with your family about what your family gives? Remember; the people being led will not run at a faster pace than the leader.
- Formulate – Obtain buy in from the church staff and leadership to create a generosity game plan (at least 12 months). Create the strategy to help communicate the church’s beliefs and expectations in the area of giving and generosity; especially the definition of ‘tithing.’ Be sure to incorporate this explanation in the overall communication strategy of the church; sermons, discipleship/education, offering moments, email, print, video, social media, and website.
- Educate – Implement the strategy. Work the plan created by the staff and leadership. Have different leaders help implement the strategy but pastors must take the lead. The pastor must go first. Expect push back from some of the congregation but continue to work the plan.
January is a great time to do go through these three steps. You can make it through these three steps by the end of January if you make it a priority.
What are your thoughts on the three steps? Am I over simplifying this?