In recent blogs I shared three of a four-part series of things pastors should do to lead well in the area of finance. Those four were:
Pastors need to give
Pastors need to be aware of the financial situation
Pastors need to share good stewardship theology
Pastors need to develop relationships with givers
Today let’s talk about developing relationships with givers. The first thing to say is that we should do it. Many pastors don’t know people, how they found Christ, who influenced them in discipleship, why they give, how they learned to give, what motivates them to give, and what their next steps are in Christ. Inasmuch as our stronger givers are some of our most important resources, it is good to know their Christian journey, as well as their giving story. Make time to bond with your givers around your common faith in Christ.
Second, givers need spiritual guidance. Just because someone is a strong giver doesn’t mean they don’t want the pastor’s mentoring and advice. If they are wealthy, you can bet they struggle whether they can follow that camel through the eye of the needle (Matthew 19:24). There are many temptations that come with having money, one of which is that it often makes us more selfish and inward, not more open and generous. Add the fact that people with money have a fair amount of stress managing it, growing it, and keeping it. They often feel a great responsibility to handle it wisely for themselves and their family, as well as for the Lord.
Third, givers provide a world of blessings for a pastor. Every church has some strong givers who are not wealthy—they are an inspiration that buoys a pastor’s heart. Most people who give generously are mature in faith—indeed, it is a sign of spiritual maturity. Their insights are to be highly valued. They have stories to tell, about themselves and others, that can often be used by the pastor in leading others.
Fourth, a healthy relationship with strong givers yields money for the church’s ministry. In my ministry there have been countless times when someone asked what the church needed, or what I wanted, and were prepared to fund it. There were also those times when I approached someone and confidently asked if they would be led to give more or support a certain project. I had come to know them over the years and was aware of the ministries God had laid close to their hearts. It is always easier to ask for, or receive, money in the context of a faith relationship. No matter the outcome, the faith, and the relationship, will stand strong.
Pastors, see your giving leaders as you do other leaders in your church. Know them. Support them. Pray for them. Challenge them. Bless them. Love them. God is doing amazing things through them for mission and ministry.
If you want more ideas for stewardship and giving, whether pastor or lay person, contact us at your United Methodist Foundation here or by calling us toll free at 877-391-8811.
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Director of Development
United Methodist Foundation of Indiana