Preaching about giving

By Bob Bickford

I remember one Sunday that I preached a sermon about generosity and giving in our church gathering. Our church is like many normative size churches in that our resources aren’t exactly plentiful and we are definitely on the “lean” side when it comes to budgeting for staffing and ministry.

But like churches of greater size, our financial challenges are similar, just on a different scale. As is true in a larger church, some give generously, some give a little and some do not give at all.

While I’m pretty confident that no one wakes up Sunday morning and says; “I sure hope the pastor preaches about money this morning, especially since my (neighbor, family, non-Christian friend) is attending with me today,” we must teach the entire counsel of God’s word, including the passages on giving.

Here are a few things I’m learning about preaching about giving.

Don’t apologize about a message on money/giving – Jesus spoke often about money. He didn’t shy away about taking teaching opportunities to teach and preach on money as they presented themselves. Saying or conveying an apologetic posture when preaching on this topic diminishes God’s Word and authority.

Be boldly biblical – Our thoughts about money really are not important on their own; what matters is what God says. Frankly, He says a lot. In His Word, we are warned about the love of money, instructed to honor God with our resources and reminded of the truth that all of what we have is His anyway. Declare God’s Word in power, read the passages, explain and teach them.

Address money wounds – Everyone has money problems. Some have made it their comfort, security and power idol. Others may have spent too much of it, finding themselves in great difficulty. Some grew up with very little and have developed a scarcity posture to all things material and financial. Acknowledge where the hurt lies when it comes to money. Your hearers will recognize that you’ve given careful thought to their lives in relation to resources.

Teach on tithing – Regardless of where you stand on the tithe and its application for Christians today, it provides a wonderful picture of giving and serves as a reminder that God deserves our first and best and that faithful worship of him involves giving. So whether you teach the tithe or grace-filled, cheerful offering, help people understand that God entrusts us with wealth and asks us to give a portion back to Him as way of honoring Him.

Challenge the congregation – Everyone has a next step to take. For some it could be giving, since they are giving nothing. Some can pray, asking God if their current level of giving should be increased. And others in your gathering could pray about giving sacrificial gifts to meet needs beyond their faithful support of ministry through their regular gifts. Be specific, be practical and ask everyone to engage.

Provide financial care – Some in your congregation may be in financially challenging circumstances. They may need assistance, coaching, debt counseling and practical help managing their resources. Direct them to those in the church or ministries designed to help and encourage.

Be faithful financially – Pastor/replanter, you are to lead the way in giving your own resources in ways that honor God and support His kingdom purposes through the local church. I’ve met pastors who feel exempt from giving since they already “give” to the church in many ways. Don’t be seduced by this line of thinking. Be an example to the flock.

Seek to grow in your ability to preach on money and stewardship and giving. You’ll show yourself faithful as a shepherd of God’s church, and your congregation will grow in the grace of giving to God’s purposes and work.

Published March 30, 2022

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Bob Bickford

Bob Bickford is a Replant Pastor in suburban St. Louis, serves as the Associate Director of Replant for the North American Mission Board and is the co-author of Am I a Replanter,  Pathways to Partnership and the Associational Replanting Guide. Follow Bob on twitter @bobick