The next set of financial resoutions for churches from Brad Leeper of Generis.com
3. Conversations must move beyond stewardship to generosity
With all due respect to the biblical concept of stewardship, the term itself is passive, hard to understand, and boring. In the secret places of the heart, people do not long to be good stewards. They do long to make an impact. To be a difference maker. To be generous to the point of giving up something that is good in exchange for something that is better.
Churches that celebrate generosity become more generous. Churches that are silent about generosity become zealous about cutting expenses. I have lived in that cutting expenses season. Experiencing generosity is much more fun. Try a vocabulary shift in 2009. Replace stewardship with generosity and unpack the stories about how the generosity of your church changed lives. Watch your giving flourish.
4. Churches must speak more intentionally about finances
Economically tough times create intense static in the minds and hearts of your people. Consider that we have been accustomed to a consumer driven lifestyle accompanied by $3 cups of specialized coffee and the internal confusion hits decibel levels too loud for even 18 year old rockers. Where do your people stand in juggling financial realities? According to a USA Today article May 2008:
· 9 out of 10 consumers in their 30s are in debt.
· 45% of respondents in one survey said they had too much debt to think about saving. Do we think the answer is any different about their generosity?
· 20% of adult in their 30s are still paying college loans.
Another source reports that Americans now save, on average, less than 1% of their income. How can we expect people to give generously when their margin is already so razor thin? Be daring in your coaching. Teach people how to get out of debt. Teach them how to save. Inspire them to live above the roar of our consumer-driven machine.
When I perform a giving analysis for a client, it is very typical to receive a list of regular attending households (OK, relax. I do not ask for names) with over 50% of those households having giving nothing in the last year. I have had pastors tear up when they realize that they are the number 2 top donor in the church. Your people are not as up to speed about finances as you think they are. The church that preaches and teaches about sound, biblical financial practices will create a long-term culture that gives abundantly to match its compelling vision.