What are churches and pastors supposed to do with good givers? When I start working with a church I usually ask, “Who are your good givers?” More often than not, the pastor will look at me and explain that he/she doesn’t know because they don’t track the giving of the congregation. Here’s what’s interesting…if I ask who are the prayer warriors in the church they can name off people instantly. If I ask who are the strong leaders or the gifted teachers in the church they can name off people instantly. But not the people who are gifted in the area of giving? Too often in the typical church good givers are getting cheated from the attention and pastoral affirmation others are more naturally receiving.
Here are three things you can do to stop cheating your good givers.
1. By Category or Amount…Identify who they are.
When I was preparing to plant a church, I had a mentor ask me in a mentoring session if I was going to look at the individual giving of givers. With a decent amount of righteous indignation, I told him that I was not because I didn’t want it to negatively affect the way I would pastor people. I didn’t know it but he was already ahead of me and asked how knowing this information would negatively affect my ability to pastor folks. Following down the path he knew I would go I told him that I wanted to treat everyone the same and I didn’t want to be swayed to give big givers more attention while at the same time tend to slight people who weren’t faithful in their giving. And then he dropped a bomb of wisdom on me that I needed to hear as a young pastor, “Sounds like a you problem!” Booooommmm!!! He then went on to explain how having a working knowledge of individual giving would benefit both the church and individual attenders. Now 28-years later and as a generosity strategist I can affirm that giving is almost always a leading indicator of spiritual growth as well as potential problems within the people of your congregation.
So, if you’re not able to make the leap to review individual giving I would strongly recommend that you at least know by category who the top givers are in your church. What I mean is that you know the list of families and/or individuals who make up the top 5%, 10% or 25% of the givers in your church. You know who the leaders are and you know who the prayer warriors are in your church, there is no reason not to know who your top givers are.
2. Talk to them…stop treating them like lepers.
I recommend that the top givers in your church receive three separate meetings over the course of a year. Our president at Generis, Brad Leeper, calls this strategy “3 Cups of Coffee”. In working with my clients, I usually develop a strategy where the pastor does at least one of these three yearly meetings with everyone on the list while other senior staff and leaders fill out the remaining meetings. Maybe these meetings are over a cup of coffee, lunch, golf or a dinner at someone’s home. The important thing here is that these folks feel strongly connected to the vision and the heartbeat of the leadership of the church.
Yet sometimes I get the sense that some pastors are afraid to meet with the top givers of their church. It’s as if these givers have leprosy. As I mentioned earlier, when you need a prayer warrior you’re not afraid to meet with those people. When you need a teacher you’re not afraid to meet with those folks. Don’t be hesitant to meet with these givers and you will see before long that they feel more like a leader and an integral part of your church.
3. Create ministry around their gift.
One of the natural places that people with the gift of giving get placed in ministry is the Finance Team. But here’s the thing…what if they aren’t gifted in the area of finance or accounting? Don’t get me wrong, sometimes people who have the gift of giving are good with or even have a passion for the financial management of your church’s resources. But just because they’re good at giving money doesn’t necessarily mean they are good at organizational finances and accounting or that they even like it.
Consider plugging these people into a Stewardship Ministry. Many churches don’t have one and if you would like to talk about starting one email me and let me give you some ideas. Where a Finance Team focuses on the stewardship and outflow of resources, a Stewardship Team works in conjunction with that team focusing on developing the culture of generosity of your church and the spiritual growth of your people in that area.
So, if you haven’t already, go out there and discover who the top givers are in your church. Put together a strategy to meet with them in such a way that they feel connected to the vision and mission of your church. Get these folks involved in ministry where they can use their gifts and passion for giving to grow the culture of generosity in your church. And if you need any help with any of this just email me and I would be glad to help you get started and/or answer any questions you might have.
I submit these articles and ideas to you in order to add value to the work you’re doing in your local church. If you would like to talk about this or other ideas to grow you culture of generosity please email me or you can go visit my website and learn more about the work I do with churches and organizations as well as read feedback from my clients. Keep me in mind if you’re looking for coaching or a consultant in the area of giving and/or a generosity campaign/initiative. If you don’t already I would also really appreciate if you would follow me on Twitter at @cstovall16 or on my Generis Facebook page.