By Chuck Lawless | Article from blog.echurchgiving.com 15 OCTOBER 2015
Few people are as frugal as I am. In fact, I’m cheap. I admit it. So, talking about increasing giving is not easy for me – but it’s critical to the work of God. My strong desire to see our neighbors and the nations won to Christ mandates writing a post like this one. As you shepherd your people, think about these ways to lead them to give more.
1. Strengthen your church’s discipleship program.
This first step may surprise you, but here’s the point: the strongest believers tend to be the most faithful givers. When a believer loves the Lord, reads His Word, seeks His face, and strives to be holy, he is also quite willing to give to the Lord’s work. Giving then becomes a privilege, not an obligation.
2. Include financial giving in the overall teaching of life stewardship.
God requires us to give ourselves to Him (Matt. 10:37-39). That commitment includes our talents, our time, our energy, and our dollars. Limiting stewardship to financial giving risks gaining more dollars without edifying souls; on the other hand, believers fully committed to God will give both financially and of their time with little hesitation.
3. Cast a God-sized vision – and keep it in front of your church.
Though I am actually a younger baby boomer, I think a bit like a millennial: I want to know and see the purpose for my giving. If you show me a vision and let me watch it become a reality, I’ll open the checkbook. So, cast the vision wide and often. Show transformed lives. Convince your folks that they will miss something if they don’t give.
4. Teach the Word about giving.
Though there’s debate about whether the New Testament requires a tithe (I believe there’s enough evidence to make a case), it’s clear the Bible expects God’s people to give to His work. From building the Tabernacle (Exo. 25) to supporting the church (2 Cor. 9), God’s people sacrificed for Him. Don’t shy away from preaching these truths. Let the Word of God speak for you.
5. Model sacrificial giving.
I don’t know any other way to make this statement: if you’re a church leader and are not giving sacrificially, you will not challenge your people to do so with integrity. Give personally until it hurts, and your teaching will carry more authority.
6. Teach believers how to live within a budget.
I’m convinced many believers want to give more to God’s work, but they genuinely can’t see any room in their budget to give more. In many cases, that’s because they’ve budgeted poorly and spent unwisely. Help them learn how to budget and spend well, and they’ll likely find additional dollars for God’s work.
7. Help members plan realistic giving increases.
Quickly moving from giving a few dollars to giving a tithe might be challenging for many believers. If so, guide them to formulate a strategy that increases giving incrementally (e.g., +1% every six months to reach the tithe). The combination of good budgeting and incremental giving will make increases easier to handle.
8. Let the church hear giving testimonies.
The life story of a brother or sister who has learned to trust God financially can put flesh on biblical teachings about giving. I can still remember some of the tithing testimonies I heard in church more than 30 years ago. Choose wisely, but let others illustrate God’s Word with their lives.
9. Call members to annual accountability.
At least once a year, challenge your church to (a) evaluate how much they are giving, and (b) pray openly about increasing their commitment. Many of us maintain the same giving pattern for years without considering an increase. Assuming your vision is God-sized and clear, you should not fear asking your folks to do this annual evaluation.
10. Develop a “thank you” protocol.
Ideally, believers would give with no desire to be thanked – but our humanity likes expressions of gratitude. Develop a system for expressing thanks throughout the year. For example, send a thank you letter from the pastor one quarter. The next quarter, ask the leader of a growing ministry to send an email thanks to all givers. For the third quarter, ask a missionary you support to provide the thank you. Perhaps a community leader might come to the church to publicly say “thank you” during the fourth quarter. Consistently express thanks, and your folks will be more open to giving.
What steps would you add to this list?