If a church is going to become intentional about reaching people for Jesus, there are a few things that must be in place. The church must be welcoming to unchurched people, children’s ministry needs to be top notch, and there obviously must be a clear gospel message.
But there’s something else that is critical as well, and that’s giving.
It’s not a popular subject, but the reality is, it costs money to reach lost people. Taking an offering isn’t a strategy designed by the church; it’s God’s strategy. Giving is meant to accomplish two things. First, it ensures God has our entire heart. Jesus said, “No one can worship God and money…” (Matthew 6:24). It’s no surprise that money often competes for our heart. Secondly, giving is God’s plan to finance the work of the gospel. Although scripture is clear about how Christians should handle money, many churches still struggle financially. In many cases, this isn’t the result of disobedient church members.
“Taking an offering isn’t a strategy designed by the church; it’s God’s strategy.”
Here are three giving mistakes I often find in churches:
1) Trying to Sneak It In
I have attended churches where it felt like the offering was slid in during announcements. When this happens, usually very little, if anything, is said about the offering. Buckets are quickly passed during a video or someone sharing upcoming events. It feels like the offering is snuck in, in hopes that no one will notice.
The problem is, many times people don’t notice or, if they do, they don’t give it any attention (because the leadership doesn’t). As a result, giving per capita goes down and ministry doesn’t get funding. Giving shouldn’t be bundled with announcements to save time or keep things comfortable, which are usually the excuses I hear. Giving is an opportunity to share God stories from the stage, as well as create a teaching moment for the congregation.
2) Missing the Moment
I have also seen churches who refuse to take an offering. In their opinion, passing a plate or offering bag is too pushy. Instead, they let everyone know there’s a box in the back of the church where people can give if they wish to. I know a few churches who handle giving this way and actually do well, but most don’t.
We need to remember that giving is an act of worship. When churches choose not to take an offering, they are removing the opportunity for people to worship God. There should be a moment where people can express their worship through generosity. An intentional worship focus on giving can create an experience of devotion that can enhance the weekend experience as a whole.
3) Guilting People Into Giving
There’s nothing worse than feeling guilted into doing something. This is especially true when it comes to giving. When leaders use defunded ministries and failing budgets to “guilt” people into writing a check, few usually respond and those who do, don’t last long.
While financial transparency is important, creating an environment of guilt and desperation never works well. Giving should be presented as an opportunity to fund vision and reach people with the gospel, not an obligation to appease guilt-filled demands.
At the end of the day, tithes and offerings are vital to reach lost people. If your church isn’t healthy financially, determine which ministries aren’t producing life change and bury them. Take the resources from those dead ministries and place them in areas that are making impact. No one wants to invest in a sinking ship, but Christians will give to a vision that’s reaching people for Jesus. Learn more about How to Bury a Dead Ministry and increase gospel impact.