People Don’t Like Your Sermons on Giving? Be Counterintuitive.

Generosity // March 6, 2020

“I love talking about money in my church.” – said no pastor ever. 

In reality, I’ve worked with quiet a few who now look forward to the conversation. How would you like to reduce your giving sermon complaints?

It’s safe to say most pastors don’t like preaching on money and possessions because they hear negative comments from attendees. We let our pastors talk just about anything today, but talk about money and some are going to voice their displeasure. 

So what do you do?

You don’t talk about it. Until we…

  • get behind budget and the finance team asks you to preach on giving
  • enter a capital campaign season 
  • start the hunt for “green October”, otherwise known as the annual campaign season
  • have a special or urgent need and need to raise some money quickly

Do you see the problem here?

You are unintentionally conditioning people to associate any sermons you preach on money to mean you need more of their money. 

The only time we talk about money is when we need more of it. That’s a problem. It drives people to push back on those sermons because it feels like you’re ‘always’ asking for more. You and I know it’s not ‘always’, but that too is part of the conditioning. 

It creates the perception that you are more interested in my wallet than you are my heart. That’s a huge mistake.

So what’s the solution?

It’s counterintuitive. Preach more often on money and possessions. Talk about it during your offering introductions. Link giving to ministry successes and life change you are seeing in your ministry. Talk about giving unapologetically. There are excellent examples online. Here is just one message that is a favorite.

To recondition your people, preach about money when you don’t need more. Preach about money when there is no commitment card or special offering involved. If you’ll do this regularly, people begin to realize your teaching is about what you want for them, not what you want from them. And this is critical. Once I realize you teach this topic because you care about me, my heart, and my relationship to God, then I DESIRE the teaching. I realize I NEED to be discipled. I LOVE that you’re my pastor and that you’re bold enough to take us where we may not want to go.

Let me stretch you on that leading sentence in the previous paragraph. Preach on giving when you don’t need more. In fact, preach on money, promote a huge offering for several weeks, receive the offering, and give it all away. Every.Single.Cent. You’ll be amazed at the differences you will see in how people react to your teaching. They will actually get excited about generosity. You’re helping them see giving as something done not just out of obedience, but out of joy and gratitude.

Think you can’t afford it? If done appropriately, you’ll receive more in the other 51 weeks of the year than you used to receive in 52. We’ve seen it countless times. Talk about counterintuitive.

Generosity Audit

Despite feeling anxious about the topic of money, most pastors truly want to help their congregations grow in financial discipleship. But they aren’t sure how, and so they feel stuck and even a little inadequate. With a Generosity Audit, you’ll understand your church’s current financial health and start developing a more generous culture. Contact me to learn more.

Additional Resources

Check out our latest free eBook:

  • Fund the Vision: Six practical steps you can implement to accelerate giving

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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