Why Giving Money Away Might Be Hurting Your Church

Occasionally, I will write a blog that seems counter-intuitive to what a generosity professional might be perceived to value. For instance, I do not believe that digital giving alone is a silver bullet solution even though I direct a department with a best in class platform. I also believe that the tithing message is very limiting even though I am a huge advocate of the principal. Well, here is another counter-intuitive message from me. When we celebrate how much money we give away as a church it may actually have negative affects on our culture.

First, let me say that I believe the church should be the most generous organization in your city. I believe a church should prioritize at least 10% of receipts toward external giving. I also believe that things like a one day designated offering to give away to an outside cause is a very good practice. So the value is there, but if they are not handled properly they can create unhealthy messages.

For instance, if we celebrate and promote moments when we are giving away church offerings and resources to outside causes it can imply that this is a better use of resources. So inside giving to the budget can feel less than or even a bad use of money, while contributing to external causes is exalted to the level of holy and pure. I have even seen special offerings driven to support external causes become sacred cows of sorts because it feels so bad to help leaders redirect these offerings in the future to meaningful causes that may not be outside the church walls.

I suspect most pastors have dealt with the ten foot invisible wall built around budget line items to long standing mission causes or nonprofit orgs that have an enduring relationship with the church. Under-funding church ministry can often be the result of such strong alliances. So I want to help you enable your decision makers and givers to see all of God’s resources as equally valuable.

  1. Your church should be considered one of the leading nonprofit causes in the city. You are a 100% outside cause if you are driven to use your resources to impact society. Join the club of being a powerful nonprofit in your city that is investing its funds wisely to impact people both on your property and off via your ministries and programs. You are not different than outside causes. You are one of them.
  1. Celebrate all forms of giving and investing. Do not allow the celebration of giving to causes outside the church seem larger or better because we talk so little about what the church does with all the other resources internally. Outside giving seems better simply because we talk about inside giving with so little vision and impact. We make the comparison bad with our silence. Increase our volume and cadence of helping people see what every dollar does.
  1. Talk consistently about investing in causes in your city and around the globe. It should not be limited to a special day or occasion. The more regular and normal its seems the better. When things are infrequent they seem more significant by implication. Make generously investing around the world normal and expected.

I believe that every church should be generous. I also believe every church should feel proud about every dollar it invests in its ministry. Let’s raise the value of giving internally to the same visionary levels that we often give to special external opportunities. Unleash giving today!

Have you ever taken the time to think about all that goes into a giving moment? There is actually an undeniable decision making and spiritual growth process occurring in many micro-moments. Download our free ebook, Why We Give and Why It Matters.