Eliminating Generosity Obstacles – Part Three

Communication // September 17, 2012

This is the final in a three-part post on Eliminating Generosity Obstacles through effective online giving.

The previous two posts can be found here:

Part One

Part Two

Part of the local church’s work is to help Christ followers identify and eliminate barriers on our transformational journey. And sometimes, the church inadvertently creates those obstacles, many of them in the area of generosity.

Here are more obstacles to consider:

Obstacle: Using Christianese with no explanation

Josh is fairly new to the church. His small group just started a study about generosity, and he has a lot of questions he’s not comfortable asking in front of a group of people who seem so much farther along in their spiritual journey.

He decides to check out your website to see what’s available. He encounters words like stewardship and tithe. He heard those words at church and in small group, and he feels like he should know what they mean. But he doesn’t.

Earlier, I mentioned that having disarming language on an online giving page can be a way to diffuse some of the negativity around church and money.

Hint: Using words that only long-time church-goers understand is NOT disarming . . . unless you define them.

It’s fine to use stewardship but explain that we believe God owns everything.

And, that it’s our responsibility to care for (steward) what He gives us.

Teach folks that tithe isn’t the same as offering. (You know, don’t you, that plenty of people in your congregation think that if they give anything, they’re tithing. Right?)

Obstacle: Separating ministry from money

Lindsey’s a bit of a techie. She pays all her bills online, she’s thrilled that your church offers an online giving option, and she’s been tithing online for a couple of years now.

Although some people grow in their giving over time – even beyond the tithe – most folks see tithing as a destination, rather than a starting point.

One way to encourage some people to accelerate their giving even beyond a tithe is by allowing them to see how their generosity contributes to the mission of your church. Yes, we’re back to the conversation about connecting the dots through story. (That six-part series begins here.)

Think about ways to make your online giving page more than just a bank transaction; design it from the perspective of an act of worship, and people will be encouraged to extend their generosity! Check out Elevation Church for a great example of visual story-telling.

Just to be clear: Removing obstacles is not about making sure the church gets as much of people’s money as possible. When I write about “missed opportunities,” I’m not talking from the church’s perspective; I’m talking from the giver’s perspective.

This is not about the need of the church to receive. Rather, it’s about the need of the believer to be generous. It’s about allowing people the opportunity to experience the blessings that result from generosity.

What questions do you have about online giving? What fears do you have? Do you already offer online giving options and have you’ seen growth? I’d love to hear from you!

About Rusty Lewis

As a church leader, there’s nothing more frustrating than not having the funding to do what God’s calling you to do. But when you think about trying to address that problem, you feel overwhelmed, you dread the potential pushback from your congregation, and you’re not sure where to turn for help. Over the last 18 years, I’ve helped more than 120 churches close the gap between their current financial reality and what they need to move forward in ministry.

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