Wednesday, November 20, 2019 07:19

Preach the Joys of Generosity Regularly–Idea #5

iStock_000007088099X Giving Bible & Wallet

“One of the worst perpetuated myths is that unchurched people stay away from the church because it is always asking for money.  There is no evidence, except anecdotal, to suggest this myth has any relation to reality.”  Wow!  Read that again.  Jim Griffith and Bill Easum, in Ten Most Common Mistakes Made by New Church Planters, devote a whole chapter to pastors’ “Fear of Talking about Money until It Is Too Late.”

Jesus talked about money.  His recorded parables talk about money two-thirds of the time.  I conclude that He thought His disciples needed to hear about money if they were to understand what it means to follow Him.  And although I have never personally counted, they say over 2000 verses in the Bible deal with money and possessions. 

Sometimes I wonder if church leaders have drunk the devil’s Kool-Aid on the subject of finances.  He would certainly like us to not talk about it much.  But Jesus said “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Mt. 6:21).  So if preachers want their people to have their hearts fully surrendered to God, then they have got to talk about stewardship of resources.  After salvation, everything else is stewardship!

If you preach on stewardship themes regularly and deliberately, you don’t need to read any further. But I continue to encounter pastors who tell me things like “I never preach on money.  I don’t have to.  Our people are such good givers, I don’t have to talk about stewardship.”  Hey, I’m glad your people are good givers.  But that means they got it from 1) their Bible and/or 2) their parents and/or 3) some other preacher.  Did you ever think about that?  Are you helping to develop the next generation of good givers?

Besides, no one is saying you should browbeat your parishioners.  Nobody likes a guilt trip about not giving.  That’s no fun for the preacher or the listeners.  But how teaching on the joys of generosity?  Now there’s a positive topic!

The Bible says “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7).  The words cheerful and giver can go together!  Ray Berryman, CEO for a national municipal services firm, says “My joy in giving comes from serving God in a way that I know He’s called me to and realizing that what I give is impacting people for Christ.  It’s exciting to know we’re part of evangelizing, discipling, helping, and feeding the needy.  It just feels wonderful and fulfilling.”*  Listen to all those positive, upbeat words. 

If you want to grow giving in your church, grow givers.  Use those testimonies we talked about in Idea #3.  Share boldly from God’s Word.  Don’t wait for a crisis.  Put it into your preaching plan to help people.  Do it with the same motive as the Apostle Paul: “Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account” (Phil. 4:17).  What pastor wouldn’t want that for his people?

*The Treasure Principle, Randy Alcorn, p. 18. 

(c) Linden D. Kirby, Excel Ministries, Inc.  2012.  All rights reserved.

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