By Matt Dawson
What’s the deal with Churches and Money! (Think of that part of the movie I love when Jerry Maguire’s so desperate – he gives into unabashedly yelling “Show Me The Money!!!”)
There is often a considerable amount of TENSION that exists when it comes to this subject. Some feel it because they don’t understand WHY the church wants their money. Some feel it because they religiously give to their local church and struggle with those “free-loaders” who are enjoying the benefits that their local church offers, but are refusing to invest in it. Some just struggle personally with how much to give (before tax, after tax, what percentage, what fixed amount), and some simply struggle with HOW many churches try to manipulate people into giving more (and more, and more).
I understand this tension from a different perspective. I’m your pastor. When I speak on money, I literally see people’s entire bodies clench up and get white in the face. It’s quite a sight to see.
I love leading our amazing church. We manage a large budget that is 100% dependent on God using the obedience and generosity of folks within the church to fund that budget (staff, ministry, missions, etc). It’s a challenge. I LOVE talking about the blessing of stewardship…when the church is doing fine. I really struggle to talk about giving when the church is behind in it’s budget.
So the tension is real, no matter who you are in a church.
So let’s talk about it.
Over the next few weeks we’re going to discuss the difference between Investors & Consumers in our upcoming series. This will be different from any other series I’ve done that talks about generosity because I want to specifically teach on WHY God set up the system of giving that He did.
However, before we get into the series, here are 3 perspectives and decisions you can make about money that will resolve this tension in you forever!
- View Giving as a Priority. If you’ve already made the decision to give ANYTHING to a church, then you don’t need to feel tension over people asking or talking about giving. When giving something is a priority – then you can simply view the “asking” as options for you to consider. You can view the talking about giving as an affirmation of your heart. You know you’re going to give, so just pray and ask God to help you make the decision on where to give it.
- Determine to make your Giving a Percentage. The amount of your giving doesn’t need to stress you out if you’ve already pre-determined what your percentage will be. The bible instituted a “tithe” or “tenth” as a principle of keeping giving consistent with your means. It tells us that people gave “based on what they have, not on what they don’t have” (2 Corinthians 8:12). This doesn’t mean you give out of your financial margin (most people don’t have ANY margin). It means your financial gifts are predetermined based on your income, stage of life, and how God is blessing you financially.
- Challenge yourself to make Giving Progressive. If giving is already a priority and a predetermined percentage, then the last piece is to understand that it should be progressive. WHY? Because generosity produces generosity. The more you give (without tension) the more you want to give. As a spiritual principle, “the more you give, the more you will be entrusted with to give” (Luke 6:38) Therefore, you will find yourself progressively giving more every year. If you’ve already decided to make your giving progressive, then when churches ask for “more.” you won’t feel bad about what you can and cannot do. You will already know how much more you can do, and that will determine your giving.
Once you’ve made the decisions about giving money based on those 3 P’s (Priority, Percentage, and Progressive) – you can shake off the tension that comes when churches talk about money. It’s not about manipulation or even inspiration when you understand how your giving is tied to your faith.
I look forward to walking through this tension together as a church and understand in a better way WHY God tied giving to our Faith in Him. Regardless of where you find yourself when it comes to churches and money – I hope you’ll be there every week for “Investors and Consumers”. I believe it will have the power to set you free from ever feeling uneasy about money again!