Some of the most uncomfortable topics to discuss are tithing or giving in church. Regardless if it’s easy or not, giving in church is one of the areas that we need to pay attention to as leaders and church members. When it comes to tithes and offerings in church, there typically tends to be those who don’t fully understand the purpose of giving back to God, those who withhold from God for various reasons, and those who live fully surrendered to God. Whatever the case, the Bible is very clear about what our stance should be when it comes to money and the pursuit of wealth:
“Loving money is the first step toward all kinds of trouble. Some people run after it so much that they have given up their faith. Craving more money pushes them away from the faith into error, compounding misery in their lives!” – 1 Timothy 6:10 (The Passion Translation)
How To Encourage Giving In Church In 10 Steps
Each member serves an important role in the family of God and we are counted on to support one another in a variety of ways: time, prayer, encouragement, and monetarily. Money by itself isn’t evil, but when we love it, we can be consumed by wanting more and more of it. Just like any idol, we replace the rightful place of God with our greed. Money replaces God as our comfort and status. Unfortunately, our society is rampant with this idolatry. How do we disciple members of our congregation to recenter themselves and generously give to God’s work through the church? Here are 10 things to consider.
1. Start With The Basics
The Bible is full of passages about giving and tithing. It’s foundational to identify Scripture as the source and then move to how and what to give. When we teach about what the Bible says, we realize what kind of attitude God demands. If there’s no basic foundation or understanding of giving, there will be nothing to build on, no basis or premise as to why giving is needed. Perhaps this is one reason why giving doesn’t always increase in churches. Are we teaching the biblical foundation for giving? Without it, there is no foundation or conviction, and with no conviction, we may see inconsistencies in giving at best.
Giving is not exclusive to money, but it’s the most common medium when we talk about giving. Why do we need to give? Does God really need our money? The answer is, “No.” God doesn’t need our money; He provides everything for us and we’re called to surrender what we have to Him. When we give, we are being changed. In most cases, giving relates to controlling the desires of our hearts. That is why Jesus says you can’t serve both God and money (Matthew 6:24). Again, this does not only pertain to money, but money is one of the most prominent items that battle to control the desires of our heart. This is also why Jesus uses this as the example in Matthew. When we give freely and with a cheerful heart, we’re saying to God that we trust in Him more than the wealth of the world. If God is to be the Lord of our lives, we have to let Him be the Lord of our money as well.
2. Be Transparent
There are times where we need to keep confidential information to ourselves. This should not be one of them. Being open and transparent about church finances can actually cause more good than harm. If the congregation has an idea of how the church is doing, financially, there is a higher chance that they would give if they had the ability to. Think about it: if the congregation’s perception of the church is that the church is financially healthy, what would prompt them to increase their giving? Sure, this is not the reason why we want people to give, we don’t want them to give out of compulsion or out of a reluctant heart (2 Corinthians 9:6-7), but we want them to know about the opportunities to serve the church as they arise. They will never know unless someone explains it to them. An atmosphere of openness and honesty will encourage people to give.
3. Create A Vision
One of the most beneficial ways to inspire giving is to create a vision that everyone can rally around. Combined with communicating the needs of the church, this is a great opportunity to paint the vision for your members so they can be shaped into God’s vision through the church. All of us like to feel needed and to be a part of something that is bigger than ourselves. The vision needs to be close to the hearts of everyone and hit close to home, in a sense. The reward comes from achieving the vision and realizing the impact that decisions have on others. Here are some general ideas:
- funding an overseas mission or a mission team;
- donating to a local charity;
- helping a family in need;
- becoming a self-sustaining church;
- helping a cause in your local community.
4. Teach Giving Along With Money Management
Start a financial support group or a group that is geared to help with personal budgets and money management. The goals of these groups are to help each other get out of debt, save for the future, and to begin tithing and giving in a significant way. Start talking about your finances openly and get input and suggestions on how to look at your money in a different way; God’s way. This is not a time to give financial advice, especially if there is no one in the group qualified to do so. But the bottom line is that there are too many people who operate without a budget or even a sense of their financial situation and this leads to unnecessary financial stress. God calls us to be a good steward of the resources we are given (Matthew 25:20-21).
5. Share Success Stories
Share a personal story with someone else about a victory that you’ve achieved with God in your finances. Hearing success stories from others is an encouraging way to build them up and allow them to feel like they are not the only ones who struggle with their finances. It’s normal to have financial struggles at times. Focus and share about God helping you through that time and, in doing so, you will also build up your own faith. Share your story, but have other people share their stories as well in a small group setting where they feel safe and can open up. Finances are a sensitive subject for most, but hearing the details and the level of vulnerability it takes for others to go through something like financial hardship, it welcomes others to do the same. If you’re going through a hardship now, be encouraged that God will take care of you, He is in it for the long haul and He wants you to have faith in Him through your consistent giving.
6. Create More Opportunities
Most people don’t give on a regular basis (hence this article). Giving isn’t something that we always have at the forefront of our minds and it’s something that requires practice. Creating opportunities to give allows people to be more open and comfortable about giving, plus it helps to develop a habit of giving. Being able to recognize when a giving opportunity is present alleviates the compulsion giver and eliminates the stress and pressure of giving in general. Coupled with the success stories, providing ample opportunities will make the road to giving a lot easier. Challenge your congregation to think creatively about their giving and don’t be afraid to dream big for God.
7. Introduce Online Giving
There are a number of hesitations that arise when you mention online giving. Some people are in favor of it and some people are against it. Some of the most common misconceptions about giving revolve around ease-of-use and change. Here are some of the common misconceptions:
- Online giving is for the younger generations only. Change is scary and some don’t think it’s worth the effort to learn how to do something new when the old way works just fine.
- Online giving is too difficult to implement and educate their congregation. Putting forth the time and effort into something that would help your congregation to give at a higher level is a good thing. Sharefaith Giving allows you to simply create a giving form, link to it on your website and members or visitors can donate instantaneously.
- Online giving automates a process that should be manual. Really, the heart is what matters when you give any amount to God. There are people on Sunday morning that automatically cut checks and put it in the tray without thinking about it any deeper than something that they have to do every Sunday.
The learning curve for technology took a little long, but we are currently at a point where every generation has exposure to the internet and some online interaction. Banks are implementing online bill pay systems which operate similarly to an online giving platform.
As far as implementation, Sharefaith Giving has created an easy-to-use platform that allows members to set up their online giving account quickly and integrate it with their website. Sharefaith also has an amazing support team that is ready and willing to help you get started right away. The benefits of having an online giving platform far outweigh the negative aspects. We ensure that your donations are tracked in a secure manner and we strive to be good stewards of your donation in the same way you are being a good steward of your money. Paul says that we need to excel in the grace of giving. Making it simple and easy for those who want to give is one of the best ways we can bring the opportunity to those who need it.
Sharefaith Giving offers online, text, and mobile giving for $0/month. Providing donors multiple ways to give makes it easier to give the moment they feel inspired.
8. Illustrate The Impact
Do you ever wonder where your donation is going after it goes into the plate? Surely there are some who have had this cross their minds at least once. Being able to see where your donation is going and the impact that it has affirms the sacrifice of giving. Witnessing the physical impact of donations allows the congregation to fully realize what their sacrifice has done. Let people know where their money is going and the impact it had on those who benefited from it. For some people, seeing is believing, no matter what you tell them so the more open you can be will help the trust to build with that individual even more.
9. Walk The Talk
I’m sure most have heard the phrase, “Practice what you preach.” Words are just words if they are not followed by action. The action is where the rubber meets that road and all the letters of a sentence come alive. Telling someone to give faithfully and not personally believing that or not currently practicing faithful giving will lead to disbelief. Others will pick up on that and will set the bar to that level also. Trying to fake it results in inflated personal experiences that lack passion and motivation. With no passion, there is nothing to build faithful giving on. Others will be demotivated and will not have an urgency or need to move to action and start giving. Consistency and repetition develop a habit and once that’s formed, it will be tough to break.
When you’ve experienced first-hand what giving sacrificially looks like, you will be able to minister to other people about their finances in a way that will impact them greatly. This isn’t reserved for pastors, this is for everyone. Your life makes an impact on the people around you, whether you believe it or not. The choices and the decisions you make have an impact on everyone around you.
10. Have A Mobile App
If online giving isn’t convenient enough, go mobile! It’s one thing to give on a church website that is beautifully designed and another to give through a mobile app. What’s the difference? A website application (web app) typically requires a Wi-Fi connection or it uses cellular data. Whereas a mobile app is downloaded directly to your phone and can function independently without needing an internet connection. This truly gives you the ability to give anytime, anywhere.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in December 2017 and has been completely updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
Hopefully, this article has inspired you to connect givers with the meaningful giving opportunities your church provides. With Sharefaith Giving, you’ll have a support team with a mission of serving the local church behind you. For $0/month, you can provide your church with online, text, and mobile giving. Get started today.