The Bible calls us to give our lives to God (Matt. 16:24), and part of that commitment is giving cheerfully to the work of God (2 Cor. 9:6–7). Many of our members, though, never get to that level of giving. Here are some reasons why.
1. Few preachers have intentionally and strategically called them to give.
Some preachers address giving only once a year. Others preach on the topic only when their church’s financial circumstances demand it. Too few regularly address giving.
2. No one has taught members how to give sacrificially and cheerfully.
Sure, preachers have told them to give, but they’ve not taught them how to give this way (see here for more about teaching vs. telling). They’ve preached at people, not led them.
3. They don’t have role models of sacrificial and cheerful givers.
Churches have these kinds of members, but they haven’t utilized their example and witness very well. Their congregation hasn’t heard a “giving testimony” in years.
4. They haven’t bought into a grand vision they want to support.
Sometimes that’s because they don’t like the church’s current vision; more often, though, it’s because the church doesn’t have such a vision. Giving toward no vision feels like a waste of money.
5. They don’t know the needs of the church.
My experience is that many, if not most, believers will support God’s work when they know the immediate needs. The more specific the need, the more likely it is they will give. If we don’t share those needs, however, they see no reason to give more.
6. They’re angry at something.
Whatever that “something” is may have nothing to do with finances, but members withhold their giving because of their disapproval. Uncheerful people do not make cheerful givers.
7. They don’t trust the way the church spends money.
Whether or not their concern is legitimate, members who perceive any questionable spending or reporting will give less sacrificially and cheerfully.
8. They don’t know how to budget well.
Their own budget is a mess, so they genuinely think they can’t give like they should.
What other reasons might you add to this list?
Chuck Lawless is dean and vice president of graduate studies and ministry centers at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, and global theological education consultant for the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. This article was originally published on ChuckLawless.com.