Let’s begin with an assumption. Every church should, as a norm, experience a continual surplus of resources. Financial shortage, stress, or cut backs should not be normal. Actually, the only time a church should experience a shortage of resources is during times of uncontrollable crisis like a devastating storm or significant economic downfall. A normal church should be prepared to manage smaller crisis. However, leadership failures causing financial impacts can be more normal than the experience of surplus.
There are actually multiple times in scripture where the leadership enjoyed a surplus of resources. Here are a few.
“and said to Moses, “The people are bringing more than is needed for the construction of the work the LORD commanded to be done.”” Exodus 36:5 CSB
“Furthermore, the burnt offerings were abundant, along with the fat of the fellowship offerings and with the drink offerings for the burnt offering. So the service of the LORD’s temple was established.” 2 Chronicles 29:35 CSB
“When the word spread, the Israelites gave liberally of the best of the grain, new wine, fresh oil, honey, and of all the produce of the field, and they brought in an abundance, a tenth of everything.” 2 Chronicles 31:5 CSB
“During a severe trial brought about by affliction, their abundant joy and their extreme poverty overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.” 2 Corinthians 8:2 CSB
So what is more normal in your church life, the pressure of lean resources or the expectation of bounty? If you are experiencing more negative pressure from resources then positive opportunity you might want to keep reading. It can be turned around and quickly. Here are some steps to get you started over the next six months.
- Begin praying every day for God’s bounty. The resources are his and he has plenty to distribute.
- Add fasting to your prayer. Certain things only happen when there is prayer and fasting says the Bible.
- Become extra-generous yourself. When the leader is generous personal confidence is raised. When personal confidence is raised sharing stories, teaching, and insights start to flow.
- Resist the temptation to blame or guilt people into giving. Assume that they simply are not being led as well as they could be. Take the time to start leading by encouragement and inspiration. Become a person of hope and promise, avoid giving language associated with obligation or duty.
- Share your journey with your staff and key leaders. Ask for their prayers and support. Begin to dream the dream of lives that overflow with resources and a church that overflows with resources. Pray specifically toward this dream.
You may have noticed these habits are really heart habits. Growing in generosity takes time. It begins with the heart of the leadership. When we run at resources it can reap the opposite long term effect. Take time to cultivate the heart. On another day we can talk tactics like vision, spending, and offerings. God is a giving God and we are made in his image. Once our heart is overcome with unconditional generosity, church resource issues will dramatically change.
For more coaching and leadership tools, check out Lifeway Generosity Coaching