Many pastors preach about cheerful and joy-filled giving, but how do you actually implement cheerful giving in your church? In this video, Director of Generosity by Lifeway, Todd McMichen lays out five steps that can help to create an atmosphere of cheerful giving and generosity in your church.
The entire video is above, and the complete transcript is below.
2 Corinthians 9:7 says, “Each person should do as he has decided in his heart — not reluctantly or out of compulsion, since God loves a cheerful giver.“
Pastor, I’m sure you’ve heard a few, maybe even given your share of sermons, on this verse speaking about being a cheerful giver. You probably know very well that the Greek word refers to being beyond cheerful into the realm of hilarious. However, pastor after pastor that speaks with me states that joy-filled, cheerful, even hilarious giving is very aspirational for their congregation.
I want you to know that we can actually grow giving to be cheerful and joy-filled. It won’t happen overnight, but it will occur quicker than you think. You should experience a noticeable shift in your culture within six months. Here are five steps that you can take to grow a powerful giving culture.
Step one: Generosity begins in the parking lot
We cannot wait until right before the offering to expect joy to arrive. Help put a smile on everyone’s face the minute they drive onto your church property. They may have had the worst week ever. It’s possible they’re a guest terrified at what might occur inside your building. Establish a positive culture with clear signage, a well-kept lawn, easy to find parking, and multiple happy greeters all along the way. Seeing many smiling faces will get both your members and guests started in the right direction.
Step two: Begin your worship service with uplifting songs
Joy is packed with great energy. If your service tends to be more somber or reflective in tone it will be hard for overflowing joy to be expressed. Turn our attention to Jesus and all that He’s done for us. Take the attention off of us and what might be weighing us down. Turn our eyes to the great God Who loves us and is at work in our lives. Inspire and engage us to focus upon this great and generous God.
Step three: Model positive energy and language from the stage
The people on the stage will set the tone for the congregation to follow. Give thought to how we train worship leaders in rehearsal and prior to the service. The excitement and energy they bring will free up the congregation to go along for the journey. Evaluate your language during the announcements, prayer, welcome, and offering. Be positive, encouraging, and grace-filled. Everything done publicly from the stage will create the opportunity or deny the possibility of joy-filled giving.
Step four: Tell stories of how generosity is at work through your church
Every dollar given actually does something. Help your people to see beyond a budget to the difference their giving is making in a life. Every Sunday we’re impacting the next generation on our campus. Every month we’re serving a family in need in our community. Every year we’re sending missionaries around the world. Their generosity is not primarily about keeping the lights on. It is about the transformational difference it is making in another human being.
Step five: Thank them
Every giver deserves to be thanked. We want to show them where their resources are going then thank them for their generosity. People rarely know what difference their giving makes and even more rarely are they personally thanked. I would make appreciation a part of your culture. Thank them during worship, thank them during your leadership training gatherings, and thank your team during staff meetings. When we are thanked it helps us feel appreciated which leads to joy.
So listen, be consistent for the next six months. Raise your game in the parking lot, bring great energy as the worship service begins, model positive language from the stage, tell great stories, and be thankful. I promise you will see joy-filled generosity start to rise. Go unleash giving today.
Find more resources about money and giving at LifewayGenerosity.com.