Six Thoughts on How to Preach on GivingMark Brooks
Only 32 percent of American church members reported that they had heard a sermon on the relationship between faith and personal finances in that previous year. Robert Wuthnow who led the study concluded, “clergy often tiptoe around the topic of money as if they were taking a walk through a minefield.”
By the way, this study was done in the 1980s! If the same study was taken today I suspect that even fewer church members would report hearing a sermon on giving. Is it any wonder giving is in decline and younger generations are giving far less than their grandparents and parents? If we are to reverse the decline in giving we must start with preaching.
I believe it is not that churches talk too much about money; I believe we don’t talk about it enough. When we do we often do so in a way that turns people off rather than turns them on! So, let’s talk about some simple steps towards building a good sermon series on preaching. Notice that I said sermon series not simply a single sermon on giving. That is because…
A series on giving is better than one sermon on giving. George Barna years ago stated, “A series on giving is nearly two and a half times more likely to experience an increase in giving than preachers who only talk about stewardship once a year or on two nonconsecutive times in a year.” So, start planning out your next series on giving.
Need help planning out your giving series? Get my book “The Forgotten Sermon: How to Preach Effectively on Giving.” You will get practical advice as well as tons of sermons. I have sermon series for every season in the life of a church. Get your copy today at https://acts17generosity.com/shop/the-forgotten-sermon/
The theme, content, and focus needs to be positive, not guilt-laden. Most preaching on giving is what I call “ought to” preaching. The minister tells the congregation what they essentially know, that they “ought to” give. I agree. A disciple of Christ gives because He gave and keeps giving. Sadly however most “ought to” preaching is at the same time laced with guilt. Guilt as a motivator never works towards building faithful stewards. Remember the Scripture teaches us that, “God loves a cheerful giver.” So, let’s make giving fun!
Showing the importance AND impact of giving will lead to more giving. The audience we are preaching to is different than what our fathers and grandfathers in the ministry preached to. With Millennials especially you need to show them what their gift does. Giving fuels missions and ministry so your sermon series should help people make that connection.
Show them, “What’s in it for them.” Before you object consider that the Scriptures clearly teach that when we give God gives back to us. Giving thus has a benefit for the giver. I am not advocating that if someone gives a dollar God will give them a hundred back. As we know the blessings of God are not always returned via cash. None the less giving brings rewards and who doesn’t love a prize? Showing people that their gift will have a positive return will mean they are more apt to give.
Think beyond the sermon series to creating a healthy stewardship climate. If you think that simply by preaching on giving you will see an increase in giving you are mistaken. Just as you cannot preach one sermon a year on giving and see giving increase you cannot preach one series on giving and see a positive long-term increase. So, while preaching on giving is important you have to have a multiple approaches towards seeing your giving increase. We need to see preaching or teaching on giving as more than sermons from the pulpit or platform. Here are a few mini-sermon thoughts on how to communicate giving beyond your sermon…
- Use every offering time as a moment to teach the positive benefits of giving.
- Have a great online giving platform starting with your website.
- Use Social Media to focus on giving. Facebook allows you to tell your story in pictures. One of my clients posted a picture on Facebook of a baptism and added this line, “Your giving goes to #SBCLifeChange! Thank you! Click here to support life change now. Then they listed their online giving portal.
- Direct appeals work so use them. You should regularly write appeal letters and emails focusing upon the positive things your church is doing AND asking for financial support.
Be constant and creative about preaching on giving. That is my last thought or word of advice. For you to accomplish this you must continually be thinking about and planning your sermons. My advice to pastors is that at least 10% of their time should be devoted to stewardship. Making time for this crucial aspect of ministry will mean that your church’s missions and ministry are fully funded. It might also mean you get paid!
Mark Brooks- The Stewardship Coach
Start your sermon planning today with this resource at https://acts17generosity.com/shop/the-forgotten-sermon/