The people of God want to give. If led by a true shepherd in a Biblical fashion, they will give and support what God wants that local Body to do.
Most ministry concerning giving approaches people from the point of view that people are reluctant to give and need to be convinced. Some are that way, but not as many as believed. I guess the issue is similar to the “is the glass is half empty or glass half full” story. Attitude determines approach and approach determines outcome.
I was in a convention when the head of the organization was receiving the offering and said this, “I know God has met the need, but you people are not obeying Him.” The approach to God’s people was that of a good scolding. That may work once, but it will not work a second time because that kind of treatment is abusive. I gave something just so that minister would shut up. A minister like that will have constant problems with financing the ministry and never know why.
People want to give but there are many Biblical reasons why people do not give. If we remove the hindrances to giving, the people will give. I am presently working on a book entitled, “Fourteen Reasons Why Money Does Not Come to the Church.” The financial focus of most ministry is almost always on something to “get” the people to give. If there are unresolved hindrances to giving, there is nothing you can do to “get” them to give. There are many more than fourteen Biblical reasons why people do not give, but I have never heard any of them addressed.
The nature of the Christian is that of a giver. We are the children of God, God lives in us, and God is a giver. While many Christians are carnal and selfish, and some rebellious, it is wrong to assume that most people do not want to give and have to be persuaded to give. If that is the approach, then it is an antagonistic one and will establish a barrier between the minister and the congregation.
Every minister I know has been through the frustrating stages of establishing a financial base within the local church. But, there are no shortcuts and there are absolute Biblical principles, when if followed, will produce what is needed. In this process, we need to be careful to not simply follow what we have seen other ministers do. Not everything out there is Biblical, even though it may be widely believed and practiced.
When Christians give, they are satisfied.
(Ephesians 2:4–5 AMP) “But God—so rich is He in His mercy! Because of and in order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us, Even when we were dead (slain) by [our own] shortcomings and trespasses, He made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ; [He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He quickened Him, for] it is by grace (His favor and mercy which you did not deserve) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation).”
God gave in order to satisfy His love. Love, with no place to demonstrate it goes unsatisfied. If a Christian is not satisfied in their giving, then something has gone wrong in the process and they become unwilling to give in the future.
Giving is a decision we make between God and ourselves. Giving comes out of what is “ours” after the tithe. As a gift, people want to know that their giving has touched another life in some way or provided something useful in the Kingdom. Think of Christmas, we give presents and we strive to give loved ones something that we know will bless them - and that brings satisfaction to us. Thinking of someone else satisfies the love of God within us.
Sowing seed for a personal harvest does not satisfy love because it is not giving. Sowing seed for a personal harvest is for self - it’s business. A farmer does not sow seed to give the rest of us food. He sows it either to eat it himself or to sell it to the rest of us. Sowing is not giving and does not satisfy the love of God in us. The present overemphasis on “sowing” is not satisfying the love of God in people and many are becoming weary. People want to give and the love of God inside of them wants to be satisfied in giving.
Paul addressed giving in an unusual way.
(Ephesians 4:28 ESV) “Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.”
(KJV) “so that he may have to give…”
You would think that Paul would instruct a thief to work and sow seed for his need so that he would no longer have to steal to get his needs met, but he didn’t. Regardless of the reason that a thief steals, a thief has no self esteem. Paul instructed the thief to become a giver because there is personal satisfaction in giving. The love of God within us is satisfied and we feel good about ourselves.
When I was a new believer, one day I was sitting at my desk opening the mail. I opened an envelop that had a $3,000 check in it that was payment for a business transaction. As I was dreaming about how to spend this money the Lord suddenly spoke to me and said, “Give that money to (name of a person).” It was clear and I could not mistake the instruction.
So, I got in the car and drove down to see the man. Upon my arrival, he was standing talking with another man. I told him why I had come and gave him a check for $3,000. His eyes grew wide and he said to me, “We prayed for this exact amount this morning. (The other man) has been working on a project for Oral Roberts without payment and needed to pay his mortgage and some bills.”
I remember this like it was yesterday. I cannot accurately explain the joy, peace and satisfaction that I experienced - it is indescribable with words. I had heard God speak, I obeyed what He said to do, and my giving had met the need of another person. The best way I can explain what I felt is that Love within me was satisfied and I knew it.
I truly believe many of God’s people are fatigued because the predominant ministry they hear at offering time is selfish, and so they go unsatisfied. When you are not satisfied, there is no motivation to pursue it again.
Many Christians want to tithe.
The above statement is a surprise because statistics reveal that about twenty percent of Christians in America tithe. Consequently, when you speak on tithing, eighty percent of the congregation is being convicted. Whereas, if you were to speak on “faith” perhaps only a few percent of people would be convinced while the majority says “Amen” to everything said. Most Christians improperly perceive conviction as pressure or judgement.
People come into a relationship with Jesus and their lives are presently out of order. They usually are living beyond their means and have a mountain of debt. The world tells them this is the way to live. Then, they come to church and hear about tithing. They think, “Wow, God wants ten percent!” As they think about it, they cannot conceive of presenting ten percent of their income to the church when they can barely, or can’t at all, pay their bills right now. It can be a major struggle, particularly for those that want to tithe.
We don’t live in a covenant where God is killing people for not tithing. It is true that those that do not tithe are stealing from God and making themselves vulnerable to the effects of the curse upon the earth. But God is not mad at them. And, I have found that God is very willing to help people pursue tithing. We need to be careful to cooperate with God in this matter.
As I travel the world ministering on Biblical finances, there have been occasions where I had an altar call for those wanting to tithe and needing God’s guidance as to how to do it. An attitude of, “It’s simple, just write the check.” is not effective leadership. In one meeting, out of the one thousand people present, approximately eight hundred came to the altar. It was crowded. I later found out that many of the paid church staff were also answering the altar call.
I told the people that what God needed was their decision. If they would make the decision, then God would show them what they needed to do to obey His Word on tithing. You know, the money doesn’t always come BEFORE we take the action to tithe - and so we need a strategy. Without exaggeration, I have had the strongest Presence of God and anointing in those altar calls that I have ever experienced. It surprised me. People were crying out to God asking for help. There are people that want to tithe. I found that God is willing to help them.
Giving is an issue of leadership.
There is a significant difference between leading God’s people financially and communicating Biblical knowledge to them. Leading financially is also more than receiving the tithes and offerings and then leading the people in a confession of faith or prayer. Biblical knowledge and confessions of faith are good and necessary, but they won’t produce what financial leadership will do. Little is taught about leading financially.
How giving is presented to the people is important to God and to His people. The “how” is usually the defining factor in whether the people of God give or not. Most ministers have learned to receive offerings by watching someone else do it. The Bible has quite a lot to say about receiving offerings - very little of which I have heard from a pulpit when an offering is received. The majority of ministry at the time of the offering is reminding, or promising, people what God will do when they give. That is not leadership, even though it might be teaching.
We all know there are many Christians that are carnal, greedy, rebellious and stubborn - particularly about money. I believe these Christians are a minority. If we will lead God’s people Biblically, I believe they will willingly give.