How to Preach Effectively on Giving

How to Preach Effectively on Giving

How long has it been since you preached a stewardship series?  I ask this question every year when I write about the necessity of stewardship education from the pulpit.  Why is it that most pastors seldom, if ever, preach on stewardship?  The answer is that it’s unpopular, and we fear we will turn people off and they will never come back.  We so seldom hear sermons about giving that I titled my book on stewardship sermons, The Forgotten Sermon. 

Convincing pastors to put stewardship into their preaching schedules is a tough sell.  I’ve probably lost half of my send list when they saw the title.  The reality is that pastors hate to preach on money.  In 1996 there was a survey that found 85% of the pastors surveyed disagreed with the statement, “Most pastors enjoy preaching about money.”1.  I find that I put off or never do what I don’t enjoy.  So, my task is to convince you of the necessity of preaching a regular series on stewardship.

To begin with, you need, The Right Attitude – “I simply don’t like to talk about money.” I realize that some of you are uncomfortable with any talk about money, giving, finances, etc. I hear that a lot. I understand, but my approach might surprise you. Here is one of my core principles, it is not that we ask for money that people hate. It is how we ask for money that matters. I’m going to show you how to create a desire within people to want to give to your church.

What’s the right attitude for church leaders when it comes to stewardship? First, we must realize that it is never about us but about the mission of the church.  Let me answer that with a couple of questions. Is the mission of your church important? Do you believe in that mission, or is this simply a job for you? It’s eternally important, and you wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t deeply believe in your calling. How about this for an attitude statement?

My mission, to impact my world for Jesus, is given to me by God. We are changing the world one life at a time. Since all this is true, why would a Christian not want to give money to support that mission?  If you adopt this kind of attitude, you just took the first step toward building a stewardship platform to put your church on the path to financial security.

Second, we must embrace an attitude that preaching on stewardship is about helping your members, not about helping you meet the budget.  It is counter-intuitive to think that financial security would come when we give our money away, but that is exactly what the Scripture teaches.

Right as Covid was hitting our shores I was tasked to help my friend Dr. Ronnie Floyd finish up a stewardship preaching book that was to be utilized by the entire Southern Baptist Convention. Wouldn’t we come off as tone-deaf telling people struggling financially to tithe?  Dr. Floyd dealt with that question in the opening pages of his first sermon, God is the Owner of Everything.  He wrote: “Change, transition, and uncertainty abounds. This results in an unsettledness like nothing we have ever experienced before. That is why people are desperately looking for something they can lean on and count on continually. They want to find stability in an unstable world. Certainty in this uncertain world. In these dark and fearful days, people are looking for direction and security.  I have some very good news for you today. God has a pathway for you that is certain and secure. I believe it is one of God’s keys to building security.

Listen to what God says: “Bring the full tenth into the storehouse so that there may be food in my house. Test me in this way,” says the Lord of Armies. “See if I will not open the floodgates of heaven and pour out a blessing for you without measure… says the Lord of Armies.” Malachi 3:10,11 CSB

Over the next six weeks, I will share with you about something I believe will lead you to live a life that is bigger than you and a life that is not about you. Please go with us on this journey for the next six weeks. I believe when you do, you will never be the same again.  When you hear it, you may be doubtful, but if you will live it, you will never doubt it another day in your life.”  Dr. Floyd showed that the link between uncertainty and stability lies in trusting God and being a good steward!  That is a powerful and needed message in our materialistic society.

When you preach on stewardship you are helping your members become financially stable and secure.  Funding your church’s mission and aiding your members financially is reason enough to change your attitude of not liking preaching on giving to wanting to preach on stewardship.

How do you preach effectively on giving? Here are some key thoughts I came up with over the years…

  1. Don’t run your people through the guilt gauntlet! Guilt never works!
  2. Get them to focus on their priorities. This deals with the “I can’t afford to give” argument.
  3. Teach total stewardship. You must have a long-term plan to teach total stewardship. Remember, teaching stewardship will not drive people away if you do it correctly.
  4. Dedicate a whole series to stewardship. Barna’s studies have shown that series on stewardship is always more effective than a stand-alone sermon. See the Bonus Section.
  5. Inspire them to give. If you show your members why giving will benefit them, you will see them give more. Here are a couple of thoughts to that end:
  6. Point out God’s blessing for giving – Jesus said, “Give, and it shall be given unto you…” Malachi says that with regard to giving, God will “throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”
  7. Help them see they are making a difference through their gift – Studies have consistently shown that people give when they see the need and feel their gift will make a difference.

This kind of preaching will increase giving and attendance. Thus, preaching regularly on stewardship helps your members become good stewards, which benefits your church’s finances and your member’s finances.  Let’s start planning for your next stewardship series! Get a copy of my book, The Forgotten Sermon here

Mark Brooks – The Stewardship Coach

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