Here is an important question every pastor needs to answer. What is driving your passion for increased giving? Most pastors desire increased generosity. Often times, it can be motivated by the simple relief of a profound financial challenge. Other times, it is driven to solve a financial opportunity that is right around the corner. Many pastors would just like to never have to discuss church finances again. We’d love our resource flow to simply be on autopilot.
Well, how do you arrive at the point of autopilot? First, let’s define autopilot. I would not be content with always having just enough resources to pay the bills. This is not God’s vision for the church. How about creating a system that enjoys big vision and ready resources? The autopilot is every leader knowing how we lead, how God works, and how we respond to the next opportunity.
The very first step is to move toward articulating two powerful dreams that drive your generosity and financial directions. What are those two dreams? First, replace the priority of leading with what the church needs to fulfill its plans to a vision of what the life of a generous person looks like. Make the exchange of leading with church priorities to leading with what is best for the individual person.
Have you ever articulated what a person and their family look like when they lean into God’s generosity plan for their life? God did this Himself a long time ago. The cross was not the plan for His benefit. It was solely for the good of the people He created. Their best life, our best life, was on the other side of God’s biggest gift. He led with a generosity dream that benefited us. Let’s model this and create a generosity dream that benefits our people.
If a pastor does not have this dream clearly defined, you can easily default into a church first, need-oriented approach. While this might increase giving on a given day by our most faithful people, it will never unleash unstoppable generosity that always funds vision in advance. So pastor, please take the time to create a paragraph that pictures the life of a generous person. Or, locate a few giving heroes from the Bible who lived the generosity dream of God and let that serve as your picture. Or, create a list of 3-4 Bible verses that create the template of promises and principles generous people enjoy. Let this dream drive your preaching, teaching, and leading. See what others can’t see for themselves. Model it for them. Tell your story. Help them dream their own dream life based on God’s promises.
Now for the second dream. What does a generous church look like when it is filled with generous people being led by a generous team? You see, we can never lead a generous church without having both a generous team that has grown generous people. So you get to dream about your church’s future, you just can’t do it first. Invariably, if we lead with church need first it creates pressure for people. Pressure will not result in joy-filled, overflowing, unstoppable givers.
So go ahead, write out a description of what a generous church looks like to you. How does it feel when you walk into it on a weekend? What are the staff meetings like? What does a financial meeting sound like? How is the vision advancing? What are people outside the church walls saying? How far and fast is generosity reaching around the world?
I hope it was fun for you to think about what a generous church can look like. It is far more than a new financial position or spreadsheet created with different colors or words. When generosity leads with the dream life for the person first, it gets to experience a room full of generous people lead by a generous team. The game changes.
Both dreaming and generosity can be fun. I know sometimes both can be frustrating. People don’t always give as we desire and dreams go undone. Well, let’s create a different launching pad. Let’s flip the order. Start with the person. Put the church financial position in second place. Go ahead see what happens. Unleash giving today!