7 Insights That Inform How You Talk About Money With Your Church
Insight #1: Sermons On Money Are Powerful
There have been a lot of sermons on money. Some good, some bad. Some helpful, some not so much. Some true, some completely false. Some normal, some ludicrously insane. In our opinion, heres what makes a money sermon a good one:
- Biblical accuracy. Like all other sermons, money talks need to be true to Gods word. The good news is the Bible has a ton to say about money. Make sure you’re teaching the whole counsel of God’s Word and not cherry-picking a verse to back up what you want to say.
- Hope. This is huge. Why? Because God is a God of hope. But most people dont feel it. They are bombarded with fearful messages from the world. They know that they need to get out of debt and start living generously, but they don’t feel like it’s possible. A good sermon on money will teach them truth, but it will also give them hope in the process.
- Help. We have to stop beating people up about tithing and start offering them practical help in other financial areas. In addition to understanding generosity, your congregation needs to learn about debt, savings, and spending. Many churches talk about money for three or four weeks so they can unpack truth in multiple areas.
- A next step. The best money sermons have a practical next step that people can take. Maybe its a small group that goes through a finance book. Maybe its a one-time money seminar. Maybe its individual coaching with a trained leader. Maybe its a weekend retreat for married couples to fully examine their finances.
Offering immediate help is critical to a sermon or series on money. When you help people, you earn trust.
People in your congregationand in your communityare struggling with money.
They have questions. Maybe a good move for you is to offer a two-hour financial seminar and open it to anybody in your area who wants to come. Let them know that its not a give-money-to-the-church ploy. Provide free food and childcare.
There are probably people in your church who are making wise financial decisions. If you can connect them with people who have questions, it can go a long way. You can even form a team with two or three people who are willing to help individuals or couples develop a spending plan. Regularly announce that this team is available. Even people who dont utilize it will be reassured knowing that your church provides it.
Insight #2: Its Okay To Talk About Money
Many preachers fall to one extreme or the other when it comes to preaching about money. Either they avoid the subject out of fear of offending people, or they harp on the subject and play on peoples emotions.
Like all things money related, balance is key.
You need to talk about money because Jesus talked about money.
In the Sermon On The Mount, Jesus said that our hearts will follow our treasure. In fact, if you read all of the Gospels, youll discover that Jesus had a great deal to say about the subject. Because Jesus didnt shy away from it, you shouldnt shy away from it, either.
You need to talk about money because people struggle with it.
Married couples argue about it. Single mothers worry about it. Theres a good chance that 90% of the people in your congregation have financial pressures. This isnt a theoretical topic for themits real life. When you preach about money in a helpful way, youre meeting a gigantic need.
Lets face it, youre going to talk to your church members about financial issues. Those conversations, however, are better on the front end than the back.
You can teach them about Biblical finances, or you can counsel them through bankruptcy.
You can teach them to generously fund the vision of your church, or you can beg them for money because youre way behind budget.
Its the same with marriage. Wouldnt you rather teach aboutand modela Godly marriage than counsel couples on the brink of divorce? In that same way, its better for you to intentionally communicate what God says about money and model good stewardship for your church body.
People are bombarded with worldly financial messages. You may think you already talk a lot about it. But if you do a four-week series on money, most people will only hear two or three of those messages. Not because theyre skipping churchcertainly theres no one who skips your church services! But because theyre volunteering in the nursery or humbly serving some other area of your church
If they do hear (and pay attention to) three sermons, thats 90 minutes of Biblical teaching on money. Stack that up against the thousands of commercials they see, offers they get in their mailbox and inbox, and sales pitches they hear. Not only should you do at least one financial series a year, you should also sprinkle messages on generosity throughout your teaching calendar. Dont assume that preaching on money once a year is enough.
When you do a marriage series, devote one of the weeks to finances. After all, money is one of the biggest causes of marital conflict. If you talk about faith, connect it to the idea of giving by faith. If you teach through a book of the Bible, youll probably encounter a passage or two on giving and stewardship. Dont shy away from those passages. Lean into them in a healthy way. Remember, giving isnt just a financial issueits a measure of where someones heart is.
Talk about money throughout the year. In Giving Rocket, well show you how to preach about money and grow your giving throughout the year. It provides simple, ready-to-use solutions and includes several messages.
Insight #3: People May Get Mad When You Talk About Money
Some people leave a church because its not deep enough. Some leave because the music is too traditional. Some leave because the music is too contemporary and the bass player has a visible tattoo of a sand lizard. Some leave because they dont like the childrens ministry, the student ministry, the discipleship ministry, or the geriatric womens recreation ministry. In some cases its sad, but people leave churches. Its always been this way, and its always going to be.
There are legitimate reasons people choose other churches. But many times, its about personal preferences.
If youre a pastor whos willing to talk about money, you might aggravate some peoples personal preferences. You might as well get used to it.
If it makes you feel any better, liars get offended when you talk about lying, and people who are having affairs get uncomfortable when you bring up infidelity. So who knows whats going on with people when they get mad about you preaching on money. Thats not your primary concern. Whether you talk about faith, sin, evangelism, forgiveness, or money, youre responsible to preach the truth of Gods Word.
Youre called to rightly handle the Word of Truth, which means you cant always cater to what makes your audience happy.
People might get mad and leave your church when you dont lead the way they want. But you are where you are for a reason. God has called you and gifted you! If youre honoring Him and walking in His steps, then youre being faithful to His calling and your character.
It doesn’t mean you should be insensitive. Sometimes people arent offended by what you say as much as how you say it. Its possible to talk about money in a way that is Biblical, helpful, and challenging without sounding judgmental or condemning. You have to work on it. You cant be a jerk and blame it on your God-given personality. You cant be rude and say, Im just preaching Gods Word. Dont offend people on purpose.
But dont avoid the tough topics, either. You can handle them with love and kindness and, in the process, be helpful to people and faithful to Gods calling on your life.
Insight #4: There Are Multiple Ways To Inspire Generosity
Every weekend, you have the opportunity to motivate your congregation to give. But its time to abandon the tired, canned speeches. Spice it up, people! And in the process, you can motivate and inspire people to give.
Here are three tools you can use:
- Stats. Does your audience know where their dollars go? Do they know how many guests have attended your church so far this year? Do they know many children are in a particular environment, how much aid youve given your community, or how many volunteer hours it takes to execute a weekend service? When you offer stats that answer questions like these, you not only highlight specific ministries, you connect the ministry of the church to the offering time.
- Stories. People who dont care about statistics often connect with a story. How has Jesus changed someones life? How has your church helped a particular family? Which marriages have been restored? What child has placed his or her trust in Christ? Who is going public with their faith through baptism? If lives are being changed, you can explain how tithe dollars make it possible.
- Scripture. Many people simply do not know what the Bible says about generosity and giving. They dont know the difference between a tithe and an offering. Perhaps they grew up in a church that misinterpreted Biblical principles. Nothing cuts through walls like the Word of God.
Every Giving Talk from Giving Rocket is based on one of these three things. We take a stat, story, or Scripture reference and write a Giving Talk that you can use in your weekend gathering. Its a ready-to-use service available to every Giving Rocket member. Its a great way to inspire and motivate your church to participate in the offering. You can get started for just $1.
Insight #5: You Can Invite Guests To Give
We want to reach the unchurched, not steal sheep from other local churches, and unchurched people are tired of the church talking about money. Studies show that people think the church harps on money all the time, so we don’t want to scare them.
This is a common excuse given by pastors for low giving in young churches. The problem is the same with most excusesits just not true.
Unchurched people may not know Jesus, but theyre certainly not stupid. They understand that it takes money to run an organization. They know that you can’t write “Pay To The Order Of Faith” on a check. Plus, they appreciate honesty, whether youre talking about faith, prayer, or money.
Its time to stop using evangelism as an excuse not to teach people what the Bible says.
You dont have to dance around the subject of money out of fear of alienating people who are new to your church.
You can talk about it in a way thats sensitive to outsiders and newcomers. It may take some skill, counsel, wisdom, and practice on your part, but it can certainly be done.
Some churches encourage first timers to opt out of the offering time. Pastors will tell them its for members and regular attenders only. While the intention is goodnot to make guests feel uncomfortableits a big mistake. For one thing, its not completely honest. You do want guest to participate. Second, you never know how people will respond if you invite them to be part. For that matter, you never really know what your guests are thinking or feeling. They could be dying for someone to offer them a tax write-off!
If you put some thought into it, you can come up with a way to talk about giving that challenges all people to participate and doesn’t alienate unchurched folks in the process.
Insight #6: People Give For A Reason
Maybe youve heard someone say, People dont give to need. They give to vision. Well, thats not entirely true. The truth is, people give for a variety of reasons. Just like people have different personality types, they have different motivators for being generous. Everybody in your congregations isnt motivated by the same thing.
Lets talk about the five reasons why people make a donation to your church:
Reason #1: They See A Need
The bottom line is that most people will not give without being asked. You need to present the need, offer the opportunity, and then encourage people to get involved. Some people will be moved to give to the needs of your student ministry, a need for facility repair, or for the filling of a much-needed staff position. You probably want to avoid over-communicating church needs to your congregation. But you also want to avoid keeping all needs out of the public eye. Oftentimes, when you present the need, people in your church will step up to meet it.
Reason #2: They Believe In The Vision
People want to be a part of something thats bigger than themselves. Lets face it, keeping the staff employed, paying the mortgage on the church building, and staying current on all billsnot very sexy. Its important, its just not inspiring. But being a part of a church thats making an eternal difference is a mission that will inspire people.
Like weve previously mentioned, stories and stats keep the vision in front of people. When you share stories of real life change and show people the kind of impact their church is making, it connects their financial contributions to dynamic ministry.
Reason #3: They Have A Relationship
People give because they have a relationship with someone. Whether its with a pastor, staff member, or volunteer, relationships in the church are very powerful. Weve seen it over and over again. Once people get connected with a small group or volunteer team, they buy into the church on a much deeper level.
One of the most helpful things you and your staff can do to increase the generosity levels of your church is get to know people. Dont manipulate them or invite them to small groups where you ask for money. Just hang out with them. Better yet, connect them with groups and teams in your church and watch relationships develop.
Reason #4: They Are Taught How
Many people dont give because they dont know how. Its second nature to you, but youre innately familiar with how the church works. There are a lot of people, especially people who are new to your church, who dont fully understand the process. You have to educate them! Tell them why you pass buckets or provide envelopes. If you had never been to church, you have to admit that its odd when a stranger sitting to your left passes you a huge bucket with 11 dollars and 37 cents in it. You must explain why. Talk about the process of giving online. Show them how to set up recurring contributions. Let them know that theyll receive a giving statement for tax purposes.
Reason #5: They Want To Obey Gods Word
In addition to stats and stories, you must teach people what Scripture says about giving, stewardship, and generosity. Show people what the Apostle Paul said about giving intentionally, generously, and in response to Gods goodness. Talk about the Old Testament commands to tithe, and the New Testament goal of stewardship. Help people understand what Proverbs says about money.
You can create intentional offering talks built around these reasons. And in the process, you can connect the dots between generosity and ministry.
Insight #7: Giving Should Be Celebrated
It’s a big deal in your church when someone makes a decision to follow Christ. You celebrate when someone is baptized. You get excited when someone chooses to serve or get connected.
But its time to a celebrate another decisionthe decision to trust God by making a financial contribution to your church. With so much skepticism about the church these days, its a giant step when someone overcomes their concerns and entrusts you with their money. In essence, they have decided to part ways with their hard earned money and give it away to help your ministry thrive. Thats a major decision.
And its also a spiritual act.
When people give money to the local church, its a sign that their heart is beating more in step with Jesus. Its about faith more than it is about finances. Your church should rally around their decision.
Thats why you should send handwritten, personalized thank you notes when someone tithes to your church for the first time. Its also why you should appreciateand updatepeople who support the ministry on a regular basis. Its not about manipulating or showing favoritismits about helping people follow Jesus with their whole heart. Yes, you are funding your operation. But much more than that, you are leading people in a healthy and humble way.
One of the greatest benefits of jumping in with Giving Rocket is not just that well help you talk about money, but well also show you how to appreciate your givers.