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Ministry and Money: Why People Give

Pastors, is it hard to talk about money with your church? In this article, Pastor Dan Reiland looks into the reasons behind why people give, wanting to fuel fellow church leaders to speak about finances well and with the right spiritual emphasis..


I find it interesting that many good pastoral leaders are hesitant or even timid in the area of challenging their people to give. In this issue of The Pastor’s Coach I hope to give some insight into the reasons people give and hopefully encourage you in this challenging area of leadership.

For most pastors, Monday morning carries with it anticipation for two critical numbers. One is how many people responded to the Holy Spirit’s promptings (as guided by the morning sermon.) And a distant second, but nonetheless second, is the offering. Let’s get honest for a moment, no matter how clear the priority of changed lives according to God’s purpose and power, money still matters when it comes to ministry. If you don’t believe that then you have never in the history of your church fallen below budget for several months at a time. (And if that is true, we would all love to hear how you do that!)

When I was a young leader I often said I wish money wasn’t an issue. I wish that some rich person would write one big check a year so we wouldn’t have to deal with this. My rationale? It is difficult enough to focus on life transformation without financial issues getting in the way. When you add the “money factor” to the equation it seems to get intensely complicated. That kind of thinking showed both my naivety about the reality that “ministry cost money” and the deeper theological issues about God wanting us to wrestle with the topic of money. Why? Money always leads us to the real issues of the heart. There are some 2,000 scriptures on money, and the following three give us a taste of the truth of this point.

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)

24 “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. (Matthew 6:24)

1 And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. 2 Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 3 For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4 they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. 5 And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will. (2 Corinthians 8:1-5) The “Money Factor” is really more about the “God Factor.” It reveals levels of spiritual maturity, obedience, commitment, trust, and an overall Kingdom mindset that causes people to invest in the eternal.

People want to be part of what God is doing!

It is interesting that many good pastoral leaders are hesitant or even timid in only one area, challenging their people to give. (Both from the pulpit and one on one.) If you are one of these pastors, keep in mind that it’s not ultimately about money. It is about spiritual maturity. You are not asking for money for yourself or Kingdom work. You are really asking how much they trust, believe in, and want to obey God. You are asking if their heart is in this world or in the new life to come.

Pastor, my purpose is to encourage you and challenge you to dive into the issue of money in your church. Why people give is a good place to start.

Let’s begin with the wrong reasons people give.

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Category: Ministry, Spring 2019

About the Author: Dan Reiland is executive pastor of 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY. He is the author of Amplified Leadership: 5 Practices to Establish Influence, Build People, and Impact Others for a Lifetime (Charisma House, 2012), Shoulder To Shoulder Strengthening Your Church By Supporting Your Pastor (Thomas Nelson, 1997), and From a Father's Heart: Letters of Encouragement to Children and Grandchildren (Thomas Nelson, 1999). Twitter: @DanReiland

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