Recently someone asked me about some principles that I have used in ministry to increase giving in the local church.
I told them I would share the principles but that they did not always work perfectly. I told them that I had always worked with the few and not the many, but the principles were valid.
Everything rises and falls with leadership –certainly not original with me. This principle is as foundational as anything I know in church leadership; if the staff, deacons, elders, teachers and leaders can’t be motivated to give, the church’s finances will always mirror that weakness. Preaching, teaching, and leading because of a position given is not enough; there must be a passion to set an example for others to follow in every aspect of kingdom work including tithing. Leadership must be passionate about serving the call of God, for God, and not because of what others do or do not do. Leadership fails when it sees its role as serving the people; the role of all spiritual leadership is to serve the call of God, which includes serving people. Leaders serve the kingdom, not the church. There is a world of difference. Serving the church limits and serving the kingdom expands.
Vision is essential. Henry Blackaby in Spiritual Leadership states it this way, “Any organization that lacks a clear vision risks becoming sidetracked and failing to accomplish its purpose.”
In plain language, most of our churches lack vision and that lack of vision along with moderate success causes a church to aim for the little things. Big stuff, big plans, big vision that matches a Big God will give the organization a greater opportunity for success. Peter Drucker wrote, “Yesterday’s successes linger long beyond their productive life.” That, in my opinion, is why many SBC churches are lagging, not because of the press of the world, but because they are still trying to live out yesterday’s successes. People will not give to celebrate yesterday’s successes, particularly young people. Tragically, as the title of a wonderful leadership book indicates, “Good is the enemy of great.”
A third principle that I have practiced is what I think of as “Ground Zero.” I value the past, but I have always believed God likes “do-overs.” I like new starts, do-overs, and opportunities to get things as close to what God wants as possible. Spiritual leaders, Elders, should gather regularly and say, “Let’s imagine that we are gathered in this place for the first time and we are beginning a church. What do we want that church to be like? What steps must be taken to stay in touch with God and our community?” In essence, making decisions, taking steps, as if the church is brand new. This principle keeps things from getting stale and creates excitement like nothing else. It deals with the tough questions, and the elephant in the room. It also demonstrates powerful faith, the willingness to risk, and an understanding of the times, which in turn will motivate others to support what they see.
Obviously, the most important principle is the presence, the reality, the life of God in the heart of the believer. Without Christ people see no reason to tithe, with Christ they see the need to give a tithe and more. The point of this article is to get each of us to think about the need to give sacrificially to what God has called us to do at Crosspath. I fully believe God has some great plans for this great church. I tell everyone I see about our church, about your willingness to serve, to sacrifice, to give, and I also tell them that God has His hand on this church. There are “big things ahead” for Crosspath and we need to ready ourselves by providing the support we need for what God is doing today.