Four basic truths about stewardship

We are on the verge of producing the third generation of believers who know nothing about stewardship. The church now has fewer resources with which to respond to needs. How can we counter this trend?

Fewer than 7% stay away for fear of being asked for money

Did you know that those who believe the church is just out to get money are not representative of the typical unchurched person?

George Barna found that fewer than 7 percent of them stay away because of a fear of being asked for money. In other words, we have tried to shape a message for a very narrow audience.

If people shied away from places that want money, then we would have empty shopping malls and sports arenas. People are not afraid of the subject of money; they are simply looking for a valid reason to give it. Since we possess God's Word, the time is ripe to provide the truth about money to a curious and seeking society.

Let's examine some basics about giving.

1. People Are Much More Willing to Give Money Than Their Time
Time has become more precious than money in our society. Many pastors who are afraid to ask their people to give an offering never hesitate to ask them to volunteer their time. In reality, asking for time is a much more costly request.

The expectation of giving is not offensive-it's the fact that many don't know of a sufficient reason to give. We must communicate that offerings serve a higher purpose than paying a church's bills. We must help people understand giving money is just as much an expression of worship and obedience as giving time.

2. Most People Are Willing to Financially Support What is Important to Them
I believe that giving to God and providing for His church are important to Christians. People invest a great deal of time and energy in serving God. Those who truly love Him will not be resistant to opportunities to give.

3. Removing the Offering from the Worship Experience Turns Giving Into Fund-Raising
Giving is worship. We do not bring our tithes and offerings to help the church meet the budget. Once the offering is removed from the worship experience, it becomes nothing more than raising money. When we ask people to give by placing money in a box in the foyer or having their bank account or credit card charged, the offering is reduced to a monthly budget item. As we realize that giving an offering is worship, the experience is infused with new meaning.

4. The Proper Way to Correct a Misunderstanding Is to Teach the Truth
Pastors should confidently proclaim the truth about giving. People are eager to hear and willing to respond when the truth is presented in a clear and positive fashion.

If Jesus came to church today to watch His people bring their offerings (see Mark 12:41) He might have to take a seat in the foyer. Would Jesus still say to the young man, "If you want to be perfect ... go, sell your belongings and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me." (Matthew 19:21 HCSB)?

We must be careful that we do not change the gospel in order to attract an audience.


Terry Austin is a Stewardship Consultant.

Payment Options: LifeWay Account, MasterCard, Visa, Discover and American Express

LifeWay Accounts are for churches, ministries, and businesses only. Organizations having a not for profit status may also enjoy savings by not having to pay sales tax on qualifying products.

Your trusted source of Christian resources since 1891

LifeWay Christian Resources, Religious Goods, Nashville, TN