Grace Institute News
October 3, 2012
Stop telling your people to give to the church...
Almost every church we've been in contact with struggles with the unending shortage of money for all the things they believe God has called them to do. And often the shortage puts basic expenses in jeopardy. Traditionally, we go into a reactive mode and make sure people know how short we are and the bills that might not get paid or salaries that might be in jeopardy. It is a natural reaction and seen practical.
But here is the problem. As we try to build a culture of generosity in our church the waving of the desperation flag can be counter productive because it sends the message that the end goal of their offering is the church. While on one level of practicality, offerings do pay the bills and salaries. But a true culture of generosity is helping people understand that they are giving TO God THROUGH the church. It is a big difference.
Paying bills and salaries is institutional and doesn't automatically connect with a person's gratefulness or desire to not only express thankfulness to God but help build the Kingdom. Giving to the church doesn't communicate the concept of "first fruits" or help people understand priority in their own personal finances. Giving to the church doesn't capture the countless teachings in the Bible that talk about the role of personal stewardship in our spiritual walk.
This might sound like nothing more than semantics. But, culture is built from the semantics we choose. Images convey identity, expectation, and move people emotionally, not just practically. So stop asking people to give to the church...ask them to give to God and tell them why.