Unfortunately, most churches fall victim to the 80/20 rule, where 80 percent of the total giving is done by just 20 percent of the people. If you want more people to give to your church, you need to understand and address the reasons why they don’t give.
Sometimes it’s a lack of spiritual maturity. Other times it’s a knowledge gap, a logistical challenge, or a financial difficulty. As you remove these barriers to giving, more of your congregation will be able to participate in your church’s generosity.
A five-year study that culminated in 2013 revealed that only 10–25 percent of people in the church give to the church. Here are some reasons why people are not giving:
1. They have not responded
In time, we will respond to Jesus’ generosity by being generous. If people in your church, both old and new, don't give, then the first hurdle they might need to cross is within their heart. Having a class or a study that addresses the vision and mission of the church and what it means to be a Christian is recommended.
2. Don’t know why
So, why do we give to the church? As a church leader, don’t assume everyone in your church understands what the Bible says about stewardship. They may have never learned or been taught how to steward (be responsible) with their resources
3. In a transition
As Christians, we’re constantly growing in our faith. Our growth trajectory is not a neat, clean, or continual straight-line. Like all of life, we need directions, take the occasional U-turn, and hit a few potholes along the way. Are some of your church members new to faith? As a church leader, graciously walk alongside your people during these times as God graciously works in their life. It will take time, hard conversations, and big decisions for people to make the changes they need to.
4. They think the little they can give is simply not worth giving
For some, they look at the amount they can give, and it almost seems pointless. What difference would my gift make in the church anyway? They feel their gift is insignificant. They don’t understand that God is a God of multiplication and how that applies to their generosity. They also think that giving is about a number instead of a heart. They missed the message of the widow’s mite—In God’s economy, amount sacrificed always supersedes amount given. So, because they have little, they don’t give.
5. Find it inconvenient
Most people within your church will know how to give but people new to your church may not know. Many people no longer carry checkbooks or even cash. Be sure to regularly show people how they can give. Whether it’s in the offering plate, online, or through a mobile app, share with people the options they have available to give. Your website, streaming video platform, bulletin and newsletter can give info on this.
6. Don’t know where their money goes
How does your church budget the money you receive? Do you provide an annual report? Are your finances available for anyone to see? Do you share compelling stories about how donations are used? Inviting people to look into your church’s finances will encourage (or discourage) them to see how their gifts are being used. It’s okay if people ask questions or express concerns on how your church finances are managed. This is just one way your church can hold itself accountable.
7. Don’t see why
Why should we give? Administrative costs are essential for running a local church. There’s no way around it, but giving toward the day-to-day needs is not a compelling reason to give.
People are coming to faith. Marriages are being restored. People are sharing the gospel in their community and around the world. You’re hosting children during the summer vacation Bible school. Share with your church how God is at work. Let them see the lives redeemed and changed. Invite them to be a part of what God is doing. They need to know that their gifts are what make the ministry of your local church possible.
8. Too much debt
The reality is that most of your congregation is up to their eyeballs in debt. According to a recent study conducted by the Black Rock Investment Institute, the ratio of household debt to personal income in the United States is now 154 percent. Your people have no margin to give anything. They can’t see beyond the bills, late notices and creditors. Incredibly, 43 percent of all American families spend more than they earn each year.
Larry Burkett once wrote, “Over the last decade, giving overall in Christianity has increased about 20% — but recreational spending increased almost 125% and debt spending increased 550%. To unleash generosity in your church, consider providing a financial class like Financial Peace University to help your church members manage their money, get out of debt, and create long-term wealth for their family.
9. Not involved
There’s so much more to church volunteers than the work they do. According to different studies, volunteers are more likely to give than non-volunteers. From a biblical perspective, this makes sense. When you give your life to Jesus, you will be compelled to be generous with your money, time, and skills.
After you get a church volunteer management system in place, lead your church members to volunteer. Not only will this provide you with helping hands. Most importantly of all, this will help your church members to live out their faith in Jesus.
10. Don’t trust your church’s leadership
Trust is a huge factor in motivating people to give. Here’s the deal: If someone doesn’t trust you or your church (for whatever reason), they will not financially support your church.
One of the best ways to remedy this situation is to follow through with tip #6 above. You’ll be surprised about how powerful this simple act can be when it comes to creating trust and inspiring generosity.
People usually don’t give because they’re a bunch of Scrooges. Normally, one of the reasons listed above is the cause of your church members not giving. As a church leader, focus on loving the people you serve well, teach about generosity, and make room for God to work in the life of your church.
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