As pastors, it’s really important to know the make-up of our congregation, in particular WHY they may have trouble giving to our church.
Why people don’t give money to the church
1) Money makes people funny
People will give what they want to give and buy what they want to buy. “It’s MY money!” Try to enforce rules regarding THEIR money and a friend can quickly become an enemy.
As pastors, it’s important to make them feel good about giving. This can be achieved with education, services and full disclosure.
2) Don’t understand the spiritual concept of giving
It’s really unfortunate that many people in the church have not been adequately taught on the subject of giving. Gone are the days where you can say, “Just give!” We have got to educate them.
A business concept that, I believe, can be applied here is the W.I.I.F.M. principle – “What’s in it for me?” We’ve got to show them the spiritual benefits of obedience.
If you are not comfortable in this area, consider getting a speaker who is GIFTED in the area of teaching on giving. At the very least, consider purchasing stewardship DVD’s or reading articles to help you address this delicate subject.
3) Knee deep in debt
Like the world, many Christians are up to their eyeballs in consumer debt from the over use of credit cards to buying homes and cars far beyond their budgets.
Many people, including pastors, are in this situation and are in need of some debt management training. It would be a great idea to seek out some resources in this area. Why? Because inDEBT Christians DON’T Tithe!
Dave Ramsey’s, “Total Money Makeover or Dumping Debt DVD’s is a great place to start in addressing this problem.
4) Can’t see where the money is going
People need to SEE something. There needs to be evidence that funds are going somewhere. It is important especially to the biblically illiterate member to SEE some tangible things happening with funds. This is particularly true if pastors are frequently asking for money.
5) Don’t agree how money is spent
This is one sure way for obstinate members to keep monies in their pocket. They may see some purchases as lavish and unnecessary.
As pastors, it is important to COMMUNICATE with your congregation, the VISION for the church. They NEED to see evidence of planning and NEED to be assured that the church is ALSO being a good steward. Being up front and open with your church will assure that funds will continue to come in.
6) Volunteer instead of giving to the church
Although we celebrate all of our volunteers who selflessly donate their time and talent, we simply can’t pay tangible bills on time and talent. Dollars in the form of tithes and offering are MANDATORY to operate the church.
Volunteering is CRUCIAL in the life of any church, however; it should NOT be done INSTEAD of making financial contributions but in ADDITION to.
Pastors MUST communicate this message clearly.
7) No clue how much it costs to run a church
We tested this theory one Sunday morning and had people shout out how much they thought it cost to run our church per year. Some shouts were as little as $25,000 to as high as $150,000. We then disclosed what it was: $600,000. We witnessed jaws dropping in disbelief.
I am convinced that some people believe, like Jesus multiplying the two fish and five loaves of bread to feed the multitude, that somehow we can turn their $2 a week contribution into $200.
They also think because we are a church that we are EXEMPT from any penalties, the results of which could be quite embarrassing especially when the bank padlocks our doors for lack of payment or the electric company cuts off our lights, heat or air or the phone company shuts off our phones or Internet.
As pastors, it’s important to give the congregation a TRUE sense of the church’s financial obligations. Show them an itemized listing of ALL the church bills. List them in the bulletin or display them on the screen.
It’s not enough for you to just say it. They need to SEE how much the mortgage is, SEE how much it cost to keep the lights on, SEE how much it cost to heat and keep the church cool. Doing this will give them a better appreciation on how much it costs to run a church and hopefully give them an incentive to do their part in being consistent givers.