Preach About Giving: Normalizing the Generosity Conversation
The biggest fallacy related to generosity in church life today is the statement: "All they ever talk about is money." Sure, some people come to church and hear something about a need, and they immediately go to the "all they ever talk about is money" mantra. Let's be honest, basically people that say that are usually cheap, not generous, not involved, and looking for an excuse to stay that way or have had a bad experience with a previous church that only wanted their money.
The reality is, that most churches' in order to avoid the appearance always talking about money, seldom talk, teach or preach about giving or money. Talking about money in church is literally more taboo than talking or teaching about sex. So, if you're going to preach about money, stewardship, the discipline of generosity, you must first be able to broach the subject without getting knee jerk reactions. The way to do that is to normalize the conversation about money, stewardship, and generosity in church.
Q) So, how do you begin to normalize the generosity or money conversations?
Look for instances of generosity in your church. They are all around. We often don't see them because we are not looking for them. We don't look for them because we don't realize how important they are. Look, and look hard for places where generosity is blooming or beginning to bloom. The more you look, the more you'll see. Make looking for instances of generosity of part of your culture and weave it into the fabric of every ministry and group within your church. Look and talk about looking. It will make a difference.
Celebrate those instances of generosity you find, and celebrate them publically and with great zest. Churches often celebrate moments of triumph in small circles. Acts of generosity happen on a regular basis, but the celebration, if any is contained within a small element of the church. The whole church is often not informed and therefore cannot celebrate the generosity. Often, wins that are known, are only known by insiders to the ministry. The church needs to learn to celebrate the wins they experience in its ministries. Celebrating wins is not bragging. It's rejoicing in how God is using your church to impact the world.
Repeat, repeat, repeat!
Public celebrations, testimonials, videos, and stories, do several things. They obviously share the story of how God is moving in the life of your church. But they also give permission to people to act and to do the very action that caused your celebration.
Often people don't act generously because they don't know they can or because they don't know how. Public celebrations teach people how and give people permission to act.
Look some more!
The more you look, the more you'll find. The more you find, the more you'll celebrate. The more you celebrate, the more there will be. The more there is, the looking gets easier, and the celebrating gets better. Then when you preach about giving, money, stewardship, and generosity people will not say: "All they ever talk about is money."