A team working together around the challenge of stewardship in the 21st century has worked hard over the past eighteen months to put together “The Generosity Project,” a pilot program running from Sept. 2017 – Dec. 2018 which will work to provide stewardship resources and support to a cohort group of pastors from New England regions. Members of the team have prepared blogs for “The Generosity Project” participants, which will also be shared on the ABCUSA website in the coming months. To learn more about The Generosity Project, click here.
In April 2018, team member Rev. Margaret Marcuson provides her thoughts about stewardship and giving.
Do you want people in your church to show more generosity? Do you want them to give more to the church and beyond?
Here’s one important way: Ask them to give.
Many pastors I speak to are hesitant to boldly ask their members to give more. They are reluctant to preach about stewardship more often than once a year. They worry that people will think the church is always asking for money. They feel conflicted because the giving they ask for helps pay their salary. And they simply feel that talking about money is somehow a distraction from their real ministry. I felt like this myself for many years.
But I learned to think differently about asking people to give. I came to believe that helping people deal with their money and become more generous is ministry. It’s a critical part of pastoral ministry to individuals, and an essential part of leading a congregation.
And I don’t think pastors need apologize because people’s giving pays their salary. Pastors’ leadership is a critical part of the work of the church. And, as Paul says, “the laborer is worthy of his [or her] wages.”
Five reasons to ask people to give
Here are five reasons to ask people to give, and to ask more than once a year:
- Many won’t give unless you ask. They weren’t raised to give, and they are used to giving in response to an appeal by other groups.
- Other groups, such as faith-based nonprofits, do not limit their asking to once a year.
- Asking regularly can increase giving, which means more money for your church’s ministry and more money to give away.
- Giving can help your people grow spiritually. Encouraging them to give is a real contribution to them.
- Helping people let go of their money can lead to greater freedom and sense of sufficiency in other areas of their lives.
What ministry could your church do if everyone understood the gracious flow of money into and out of their lives, and supported ministry within and beyond your congregation?
Bio: Rev. Margaret Marcuson helps ministers do their work without wearing out or burning out, through ministry coaching, presentations and online resources. Margaret is the author of Leaders Who Last: Sustaining Yourself and Your Ministry and Money and Your Ministry: Balance the Books While Keeping Your Balance. Get Six Ways to Last in Ministry at http://margaretmarcuson.com