Pastors are always asking me, “Alan, what can I do as the pastor to help increase giving in our church?” I feel that if the church is to have a healthy culture of generosity, then there are three basic steps that a pastor can take:
  1. Pastors must give.
  2. Pastors must teach.
  3. Pastors must model generosity.

As important as Steps 1 and 2 are, I believe Step 3 is often the least talked about. So, with your permission, I would like to develop a few thoughts on Step 3. Here goes:

In order for people to follow a leader, they must believe that the pastor or leader is willing to do what (s)he is asking them to do. And they must see the leader practicing what (s)he preaches. The pastor must model generosity through words and actions.

Words are powerful. Pastors spend between 15-25 hours a week preparing 20-30 minutes of words for their sermons. I suggest that you choose your words wisely, especially when talking about generosity (trust me, your words will be scrutinized!) Here are two specific areas surrounding generosity where words are paramount:

1. Communications

  • How about if you write/speak as if you are addressing someone who rarely comes to worship and is not involved in any form of discipleship opportunity.
  • Choose 3-5 key words/phrases related to generosity to use in publications, videos, social media, and face-to-face speaking opportunities. Over time, this will help shift the conversation towards the long term vision. This enables a culture of generosity to be nurtured in the church.

2. Celebrations

  • Talking about generosity during celebrations should point to not just money. Generosity is about life change.
  • How you celebrate generosity, how often you celebrate generosity and what you say while celebrating generosity should always be high on the priority list of the staff and communication team.
  • Develop and work a plan for celebrations; don’t ad lib.

Actions speak louder than words. Modeling generosity through actions speaks with more clarity and volume than any written or spoken word could ever do. Yes, giving financially is modeling generosity, but people can’t see that. People need to see their pastor or senior pastor being generous. Pastor, here a couple of suggestions to help you through:

  •  If you ask people to volunteer on a Saturday, then why not be there too?
  • If you believe that local, national and global missions are important, then you need to go on some mission trips.
  • If you request for Sunday school teachers, then you could teach a children’s Sunday school class a few times a year.
  • If you value community through small groups, then you could be in a small group too.

In brief, pastor, all you need to do is,

  •  Identify key words about generosity to incorporate into everyday publications, sermons and small group opportunities.
  • Model generous living. Is there a special financial giving opportunity that you could participate in? Share the story with your people.
  • Participate in a special service opportunity during Lent or another major church occasion. Why not ask others to join you as well?