5 Overlooked Areas That Kill Your Church’s Generosity

5 Overlooked Areas That Kill Your Church Generosity” is a sponsored blog post by Jim Sheppard. Jim is the CEO and Principal of Generis. Generis exists to help churches, Christian schools, and faith-based nonprofit organizations weave a culture of generosity into the very fabric of who they are.

Churches are starting to find their way toward the next season as the worst of the pandemic seems to subside.

However, as church leaders begin to navigate other new realities, we have to think through our priorities.

In this season, we can’t lose our passion for generosity in the church. Biblically rooted generosity and stewardship are an integral part of the disciple-making process and the foundation of mission impact and ministry growth.

Here are five generosity killers we have observed in churches:

#1: No One Knows Your Giving Journey

Generous churches are led by generous pastors. Having watched generosity in the church for as long as we have, this is clear. And the only way your people will know about your generosity journey is if you share your story.

Many pastors have not shared their giving stories. Or, if they have, they have not shared it recently and have stopped talking about it. We get it; many things fell by the wayside during the pandemic season. But what if this was a reset moment for you as a pastor?

If Jesus talked about money and possessions more than any other topic other than the Kingdom of God, it likely means He knew what an issue it would be for us. It was an issue then. It is an issue 2,000+ years later.

The money God has placed under our management can potentially steal our hearts.

When pastors share their generosity journey and the challenges of handling money God’s way, people are moved to recognize that it can be — and likely is — an issue for them. They see a fellow pilgrim who is making progress in this area of the Christian life.

This transparency in your stewardship journey can inspire your congregation in their own journey while also further normalizing the giving conversation.

#2: You’ve Left Your Offering Moment on Auto-Pilot

The offering moment is one of the single best ways to teach your people about God’s view of money and possessions. Every week in the worship gathering, churches have the opportunity to set the tone for their culture of giving and generosity.

And yet, for far too many churches, the offering moment is on auto-pilot and falls flat. This moment misses the focus and intentionality of the other segments in the worship service. This became especially true during the pandemic season when many churches that passed an offering plate or basket needed to stop doing so.

Online giving became the normal and primary mode of giving. But, it evolved into an awkward moment for churches that were accustomed to passing the plate. “OK, now what do we do?”

The offering moment became transactional: “Here is how you can give to our church.” There is nothing inherently wrong with this; communicating ways to give is important. However, if you are only providing instructions on how, you’ve missed the opportunity for significant transformation in the life of the Christ-follower. Take the moment to intentionally teach biblical generosity and enhance disciple-making in your church. Online giving is here to stay, so we’ve got to get this one right.

There is much to say about the offering moment. We have written a few resources about it: an eBook you can download and a video you can check out.

Let’s focus on one key idea: Giving TO versus giving FROM.

Giving TO my church versus giving FROM a transformed, surrendered heart. As church leaders, when we communicate with our people about giving and generosity, the conversation tends to revolve around giving TO my church. Giving TO our ongoing ministry. Giving TO our next building project.

That’s all well and good, but what if we framed it differently?

Don’t misread this. We’re not saying to ignore the perspective of giving TO, rather we’re emphasizing the perspective of giving FROM.

What if we emphasized that giving and generosity are the outgrowth of a transformed, surrendered heart?

This shift can take our disciple-making to another level. When Christ-followers can get the money and possessions part of their journey right, it is a significant maturity step in Christian life.