Posted: 7/3/19 at 11:20am. Column by Steve Law.
People are naturally generous, but too many people today are constricted from giving by other financial obligations: mortgage, college debt, cars, credit cards, etc. Having enough money to pay for utilities, food, and clothing stretches some families to the limit.
Modern advertising tells people to spend money as fast as they can. Very few voices are telling people to spend responsibly, save at least 10%, set aside another 10% for retirement, and give away 10% to non-profits. The church can help change that.
Financial management courses like Financial Peace University and Crown Ministries both teach people how to manage their money, get out of debt, and give away money. Churches should encourage people to go through the classes. While these programs have a biblical basis, their principles are good for anyone whether or not they attend church. Either course can help people get their financial house in order so that they have more financial leverage in their lives and thus more disposable income to be generous with.
Another resource is providing books for people to read on their own. A couple of good ones are The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn and Fields of Gold by Andy Stanley. Ask classes to read the books together, talk about them, and act on the principles listed in each book. Two good children’s books are Miss Fannie’s Hat by Jan Karon and The Quiltmaker’s Gift by Jeff Brumbeau; each of these beautifully illustrated books teaches lessons about the joy of giving.
Having natural conversations about financial management courses and these books will, over time, make generosity part of your church’s DNA. Intentionally talk about this in small groups, Sunday morning sermons, Wednesday nights programs, etc. Make the word generosity part of your culture and your expectations of your members.