7 Mistakes Churches Make When They Talk About Giving

7 Mistakes Churches Make When They Talk About Giving

It can be really uncomfortable to talk about money in church. Some people totally understand the spiritual significance of giving. But a lot of people don’t. And that can make it a challenging topic. But that shouldn’t stop your church from talking about: 

  • Why people should give
  • What you do with their money
  • How giving works at your church

Most churches collect the offering every week. Sometimes they simply pass the plates or mention the church app, and other times, they spend a little more time explaining what’s happening and why.

Here are seven mistakes churches make when talking about giving.

1. Talking about giving too infrequently

Even people who consider themselves regular attenders don’t come to your service every week. And church visitors obviously don’t have any way of knowing what you’ve talked about in the past. But because it is an uncomfortable topic, a lot of churches only actually talk about giving a couple of times a year. Even if you assume members remember everything they’ve heard you say about giving in the past, there are a lot of people who have likely never heard you say anything about it at all.

God is working in each person’s heart, battling against their selfishness and dismantling their excuses. If you don’t take regular opportunities to remind people how your app works, talk about the impact of your church’s generosity, or explain why giving is important, then you make it that much easier for the excuses to prevail.

Your church has to find the rhythm and frequency that works for you—you probably don’t want every service to have a lengthy giving talk. We recommend talking about giving in a variety of ways, and briefly bringing it up at least twice a month.

2. Not tying it into the sermon

The Bible is full of passages that mention, promote, or highlight generosity. If your sermon touches on money, that’s a natural opportunity to tie-in giving. Even if you only spend a sentence or two on it, this can help shape people’s understanding of their own responsibility to be generous with what God has given them, and it can show how your church is following in the footsteps of God’s people.

3. Forgetting to demonstrate digital giving

Good church apps are designed to be fast and intuitive. In less than 30 seconds, someone can use Pushpay to give for the first time—and it gets even faster after that. But if you assume everyone already knows where to find your app and how to use it, the only people who are going to give digitally are people who have already done it before.

You can’t just mention that digital giving is an option and expect people to figure it out. And if you want to make people feel comfortable and confident, you’ll show them how to use it periodically. 

You can walk someone through the entire process of downloading the app and giving in less than a minute. If you don’t teach people how to give digitally, you might alienate some of your biggest potential givers. Most people have a card on them at all times, but it’s becoming increasingly rare to carry cash or checks. If the only model people have for giving at your church is putting cash or a check in the offering basket, many people will assume they can’t give (or that it’s too much trouble to figure it out).

For more about the importance of digital giving for churches, download the free ebook, Digital Giving Trends in the Church, today!

4. Ignoring the power of stories

Sometimes it’s hard for people to see why their giving actually matters. What difference does it make? This is where stories and testimonies make all the difference. But unless people volunteer and get involved in your ministries, they’ll likely never witness these stories directly. So you have to tell them.

Whether you have a designated story team or you have your ministry leaders look for stories themselves, your church is full of examples of how generosity has impacted your ministry. If you want your congregation to fully invest in generosity, you need them to see that what you’re doing—and what they’re funding—is changing lives forever.

5. Assuming people know the spiritual significance

The Bible has a lot to say about generosity and tithing. Generosity is a powerful vehicle for spiritual growth. It helps us maintain a healthy perspective on where our resources truly come from, what we’re supposed to do with what God gives us, and how we can love and bless the people he puts in our lives.

When you assume your church members are familiar with the spiritual value of generosity and the spiritual pitfalls of money, you miss out on an opportunity to break down spiritual barriers and inaccurate perceptions about the church and money, and your congregation will be less generous as a result.

6. Wasting the screen

Every time you announce the offering or talk about giving, there should be something on the screen to support what you’re talking about. Maybe it’s a slide (or a video) that models how digital giving works. Maybe it’s an explanation or list of reasons why giving is important at your church. Or a graph displaying your progress toward a big financial goal.

What you’re communicating is important. So why wouldn’t you use the communication tools at your disposal? Your church presentation software can help fill in the gaps in your explanations, supplement your giving talk, and passively communicate the things you don’t want to explain at every service, but that you still want people to know.

Email our Customer Success Team at care@pushpay.com to get a full library of giving slide templates your church can use all year long!

7. Failing to model generosity

When it comes to giving, your leaders have a responsibility to be good examples. Generosity plays such an integral part in spiritual growth, and it would be hypocritical to suggest your congregation needs to embrace a practice your own staff doesn’t follow. Being transparent about your own giving habits—including your own obstacles to living generosity—will help people translate your talks about giving into their own lives.

Don’t let mistakes hold your church back

When you make these mistakes, it prevents your congregation from growing, and it prevents your church from accomplishing everything you can—because it holds your budget back, too. So talk about giving often, show people why it matters, and teach them how to live generously.

Most churches use a digital giving platform to enable generosity within their communities. To discover the ways your ministry can better leverage this tool when talking about giving, download the free ebook, 2019 Digital Giving Trends in the Church, today!

Ryan Nelson

Ryan Nelson has been a volunteer youth leader with Young Life for nearly a decade. He writes in the Pacific Northwest, where he lives with his wife and twin boys.