You will not likely get more out of your members through a guilt trip. I doubt many of them respond to pulpit reprimands. Negative tactics only provoke negative responses. Guilt is a terrible motivator. Chastise your people into emptying wallets for missions, and they will likely oblige once out of duty. Creating an ongoing culture of generosity for missions among the church body takes an entirely different approach.
A willingness to give up personal safety is a sign of a willingness to give up financial security. First responders put their lives on the line. With fire personnel and EMTs, we talk of “service before self.” With police, we talk of the “thin blue line.” It doesn’t take much to turn order into chaos, and our first responders help keep order. Our churches have the same fragile environment. One spat with the wrong congregants can turn order into chaos. Pastors and church members who give up safety will become more generous. When you are willing to give up your life for the gospel, then giving up financial security is less of an issue.
Sacrifice in one area will grow to sacrifices in other areas. There are two types of greed: The desire for more stuff and the desire for more safety. Some pursue greed because they want more toys. Others pursue greed because money is their safety net. The antidote to greed is sacrifice. God does not underwrite thieves. Would you keep giving and being faithful to someone who is regularly stealing from you? Why would we expect God to bless our churches when we are not being faithful to Him? Sacrificial giving changes your lifestyle. In fact, if what you are giving does not change the way you live, then it is not sacrificial. Pastors and church leaders who are willing to sacrifice—change the way they live—in one area of ministry are much more likely to grow in sacrificial giving to missions.
Generosity is contagious when celebrated. In most churches, pastors are not digging into the giving records of individuals. Most congregations would not accept a leader board of the largest donors. While individual monetary gifts are difficult to celebrate, time given is not. Not everyone has the capacity to give significant sums of money. But everyone has the capacity to give time. Celebrate church members who are generous with their time. You become what you celebrate. When you celebrate generosity, you become generous.
Make mission work an expectation of the church body. Don’t neglect making local and cross-cultural mission work an explicit expectation of the congregation. Pastors should lead mission trips and equip others to lead. Pastors should serve alongside other members when the church is doing community outreach. If it’s an expectation of the church, then it is also an expectation of the pastor.
A generous church to missions begins with the pastor. Do you want more people to live on mission, go on mission trips, and give to missions? Then the pastor must live on mission, go on mission trips, and give to missions.
Posted on February 9, 2021
As President of Church Answers, Sam Rainer wears many hats. From podcast co-host to full-time Pastor at West Bradenton Baptist Church, Sam’s heart for ministry and revitalization are evident in all he does.
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One thing that I find gets short sold is the idea of local or close-by mission endeavors. While many of us think that mission trips and missionary work are things that are accomplished “over there” I think the missionary field in our own back yard is as critical as overseas missions. How might we shift the focus of missionary work to those nearby? Some of the most impactful work one of our churches did in the missionary field was to have the youth do a week’s mission in a town in West Virginia that had been ravaged by flooding. Those kids (and their chaperones ) were changed because every person they helped in West Virginia was “them.” It made a profound impact on their faith and practice of ministry.
I got some good advice from GC3 NZ, a group who encourage mission
They suggested getting missionaries to send short video clips of their work. Churches need to be connected to church. It certainly increased the giving