Stories – Part One – Telling a Different Story

Communication // May 18, 2012

In traditional thinking, perhaps the only thing worse than hearing about money at church is preaching about it. (Was that my imagination, or did I just hear a chorus of “Amen”?)

More often than not, pastors cringe when the fall “stewardship series” rolls around–its accompanying drops in attendance and “all-they-ever-talk-about-is-money” criticisms sucking the life right out of them.

Notice, though, the three words that began this post: in traditional thinking. By default, many pastors tend to approach the topic of money with fear and trembling, inadvertently reinforcing the “Oh great, it’s the money series” attitude among their church family. Is that where you are? Are you timid when it comes to those money messages? Are you even teaching about it at all?

Here’s the problem: In traditional thinking, pastors approach the topic of money from the church’s perspective: Here’s what we need from you. Sure, some people will give because the church needs it. Some people may even give cheerfully because the church needs it. But you don’t want only some of your people to experience generosity . . . right?

The truth is, we (the church) have an uphill-in-the-snow-both-directions battle to fight. We didn’t develop that fear of talking about money for no good reason. Reputations don’t just spring up out of nowhere, and the church certainly has an unfortunate reputation for talking about and handling money poorly.  But if we really believe that generosity is a spiritual issue—that giving has something to do with our relationship with God—we can’t just shrug our shoulders, cross our fingers, and hope for the best.

So here’s the fundamental question: How can we shift our thinking—and our congregation’s thinking—from “UGH” to “AWESOME” when it comes to conversations about money?

We have to tell a different story.

“Story” is a bit of a buzzword right now, and I’m guessing some of you are feeling a twinge of annoyance or panic. “What does that even mean?”  Stay tuned!

Questions to consider:

  • Is giving an obligation? Or is it a discipline?
  • How might gratitude and generosity be related?

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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