The Giving Moment Mistake
- March 08, 2016
- Nathan Ealy
We are in a brave new world when it comes to preaching and teaching about generosity. In the past generation most leaders in the Christian community have shied away from talking about money, afraid that doing so would lead seekers away from the church. Now the statistics show us the vast majority of Christians have no idea what giving is all about, and our leaders are doing the best they can to change the conversation again.
Unfortunately bad habits are hard to change, and it’s time to address one of those. This habit comes from good intentions, but completely contradicts our message of why giving is important. This bad habit is the “don’t feel compelled to give” message.
As I travel and visit different churches, I hear the giving message changing. We are embracing the understanding that this is what we want for our members, not what we want from them. Those leaders who have experienced the joys of giving understand that our lives are more full because of generosity, not in spite of it. Yet with all this understanding I still hear too many leaders tell visitors that “we’re not asking you to give”, or “this time is reserved for our members”. In one breath we tell people how generosity can change a person’s life, and the next we tell them please don’t participate. How confusing!
Someone may be in your church for the first time feeling the need to give. In a world of greed and consumerism it could be that moment that helps them understand the life a Christian seeks to live is different and refreshing. Or what about the “guest” that has been at the church for five years (I may or may not have been guilty of that at one time). Are they using your words as an excuse not to give or take the next step in becoming a member?
Please continue sharing the message of generosity and how it not only changes lives in the community, but most importantly it changes the giver. If the guests must be addressed, let them know that this is how Christians grow in our faith while also participating with God in the work of the Kingdom. Then let them decide if and how to participate.
Easter will be here soon, how will you share this message of generosity in light of what Jesus has done for us?