Did you know Jesus talked more about money than he did about heaven, hell, prayer, or faith?1 Thousands of verses discuss money.
The Bible isn’t bashful about money and stewardship—but many pastors and church leaders are (especially when it comes to church fundraising and year-end church capital campaigns).
Asking church members for money can feel awkward.
What’s the cure?
A gospel perspective on giving, explained in this excerpt adapted from Abundance: Creating a Culture of Generosity by Michael Ward.
There are plenty of roles in the church for pastors and lay members to serve. Pastors can choose to occupy themselves and their time on all kinds of tasks. But . . . spending time on stewardship and growing giving is essential work. . . . Growing giving is ministry. Leading people to a culture of abundance is ministry at its deepest levels. As we do stewardship well, we are proclaiming, teaching, caring, challenging, praying, mentoring, and more.
Henri Nouwen says, “Fundraising is proclaiming what we believe in such a way that we offer other people an opportunity to participate with us in our vision and mission.” Ponder that for a minute, and recognize the deep spiritual opportunity that Nouwen states fundraising provides to people. Nouwen goes on to say,
From the perspective of the gospel, fundraising is not a response to a crisis. Fundraising is first and foremost a form of ministry. It is a way of announcing our vision and inviting other people into our mission. . . . Fundraising is precisely the opposite of begging. When we seek to raise funds we are not saying, “Please, could you help us out because lately it’s been hard.” Rather, we are declaring, “We have a vision that is amazing and exciting. We are inviting you to invest yourself through the resources God has given you—your energy, your prayers, and your money—in this work to which God has called us.”
And, finally, Nouwen says,
In fundraising as ministry, we are inviting people into a new way of relating to their resources. By giving people a spiritual vision, we want them to experience that they will in fact benefit by making their resources available to us. We truly believe that if their gift is good only for those who receive, it is not fundraising in the spiritual sense. Fundraising from the point of view from the gospel says to people: “I will take your money and invest it in this vision only if it is good for your spiritual journey, only if it is good for your spiritual health.” In other words, we are calling them to an experience of conversion. “You won’t become poorer, you will become richer by giving.” We can confidently declare with the Apostle Paul: “You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity” (2 Cor 9:11).
. . .
It is our responsibility and high calling to help lead people to relating to their possessions differently. We need to help them recognize that by giving a portion of their treasures away, their hearts will be closer to God’s plans in the world. And by giving generously, they declare to themselves and the world that God has provided enough, and they don’t need to worry about tomorrow. Giving money away is an opportunity, and we can invite people to do this so that they will be more engaged in ministry. We are inviting them to discover a deeper meaning for their lives. We are inviting them to see that God is most important.
Giving is an opportunity to trust God, obey his Word, and further his kingdom. Through giving, your congregation can take part in what God is doing in your community and around the world.
For ways to inspire giving in your church this season, download the free Simple Strategies for Successful Year-End Giving guide.
- Randy Alcorn, Managing God’s Money: A Biblical Guide (Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2011) chapter 1.