One of the more common concerns I hear from pastors is the fear that too much money talk can turn a church sour. So how much is too much and what is the right amount? Let’s set the stage to make sure we are all on the same page with the conversation. Here are some scenarios to avoid.
- Only talking about money when the church needs it and finding yourself in a position where the church needs it a lot. This should be avoided at all costs.
- Only talking about money from the perspective of what the church needs to fund its budget, buildings, or causes. While this is 100% true, being church focused in your approach can create a very transactional culture which is not good.
- Only talking about money with a fund raising or tithing message. Again these messages tend to be perceived as church centric, transactional in nature, and can create a one sided culture if you are not careful.
In all of these scenarios mentioned, I would agree. You can definitely talk about money in church too much. It can create a sour culture. So how much is too much and what is the right amount with the proper perspective?
- Move from talking about money and finances to leading with generosity as a trait of discipleship. When we are talking about growing generous disciples we never have to worry about the amount of times we talk about it. Generosity can be seen through the same eyes as seeking to grow the disciplines of prayer, outreach, and personal Bible reading. We have removed ourselves from budgets and buildings altogether.
- Normalize the conversation. Do not make money and finances seldom heard. Make generosity conversations the norm. Thank people for being generous with both their resources and how they serve. Celebrate what generosity does in terms of vision advancement and life impact. Then always direct our praise and worship to the most generous God. Make generosity a normal and expected theme.
- Tell your story often. A pastor’s testimony of how he is growing and learning about generosity is really important. Do not be afraid to disclose your honest story of both failure and success. No one gets generosity right all the time and everyone needs to keep growing.
- Lead with what is best for a giver. It is easier to separate the topic of money from discipleship and to only communicate about money based on what the church office needs. This is extremely common, maybe even the default culture for most churches. However, we need to shift our thinking to what is best for the giver to help them experience all God desires. When you lead with the giver it will revolutionize your approach.
In conclusion, I would absolutely agree that you can talk about money the wrong way even just a little and create a bad culture. However, if you lead with generosity as discipleship you will find yourself never wearing out the topic while growing an ever increasing positive culture. My personal experience is church leaders are quite shocked when they discover generosity is actually a topic their people both desire and enjoy. Just wait until your members start asking for opportunities to fund new ventures advancing the vision in ways that surpass your wildest dreams! Unleash giving today!