3 Mistakes Churches Make That KILL Generosity

Guaranteed generosity killers that are running rampant in churches today.

A few months back I did a series of posts on six big ideas about “Engaging the Givers in Your Church.” And just like there are real actionable steps that churches can take to engage givers, there are also things that churches do to repel givers. More often than not they’re doing these things and they don’t even know it. So below are three guaranteed generosity killers that are running rampant in churches today.

1. Ingratitude

You’d be surprised how infrequently churches take the time to say thank you to people who financially support the ministry. And you’d probably also be as equally surprised how far a simple thank you will go. Here are a few suggestions you can put into action this week to change that: 1) Make sure every time a person gives for the first time to the ministry of your church that they get a letter to acknowledge their gift and say thank you. 2) Each week send a handwritten personal note to each person who gives a generous gift to the ministry. 3) Say thank you from the stage and celebrate the generosity of your church when they’re generous. When you don’t say thank you what you’re saying is you don’t care.

2. Waste, or the Perception of Waste

When people feel that their financial gift and sacrifice is being used in a wasteful manner they will pull their funding in a heartbeat. What I’m not saying is that everything should be value engineered, that isn’t the highest goal. But when funds aren’t used in a strategic manner that clearly advances the mission, that’s wasteful. No doubt having the right tool for the job is important. But don’t confuse the fact that extravagance is not the same thing as excellence.

3. Duplicity

When you say you are going to use a particular offering for one need and then turn around and use it for something else you break trust. And trust is the foundation for leadership. Simply put, people don’t give to ministries that they don’t have a high level of trust in.

What else have you seen churches do that discourage giving? What would you add to the list? Leave a comment!

Paul Alexander
Paul is a pastor, speaker, strategist, and ministry consultant at Tony Morgan Live. He has a passion for helping churches make vision real. For more than 11 years he has served on the senior leadership teams of some of the nation’s leading mega-churches. Currently, Paul serves as the Executive Pastor at Sun Valley Community Church, a large multi-site church located in the Phoenix area.
  • mark barr

    Spontaneity; The Holy Spirit sparks our hearts to act in accordance with God’s will. When the church discourages members from responding to His prompts in order to conform to tithe then the church disturbs even grieves the Holy Spirit and causes the Christian to be disobedient which disturbs the soul. Many churches, without even realizing, set staff policies which deny individuals spontaneous generosity. Spontaneity should be encouraged not discouraged

  • Donna B

    I disagree with number 1. Matthew 6 speaks specifically to this and says not to let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. In light of this, being thanked would make me very uncomfortable. Thanks can be expressed in a more general manner, such as from the platform to the congregation, but don’t single me or anyone else out for giving.

  • Me1982

    Went to a Church where they asked the congregation to make not of how much they were willing to give either every week or every month so that the Church could meet it’s budget of $6500 a week.

  • andia

    Funding one group to an extravagant extent – and either shutting down others for “lack of funds”

    Or asking the parish to fund trips for one group continuously – especially egregious is the “fundraiser” where people are handed envelopes with monetary amounts on them — and told to fill them– no other participation from the group going on the trip.