Church leaders are bombarded with advice on “raising capital,” “developing donors,” “cultivating generosity,” and “teaching stewardship.”
With giving as a clear mark of spiritual health, the church needs resources to be all she should be in the community where God has placed her. If the apostle Paul were at the table hearing church leaders bemoan the lack of giving in their churches, he would probably say, “The people must have forgotten the gospel or not truly embraced it.”
Paul emphasized the gospel in his appeal for believers to be generous in giving:
Now as you excel in everything—faith, speech, knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love for us—excel also in this grace. I am not saying this as a command. Rather, by means of the diligence of others, I am testing the genuineness of your love. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ: Though He was rich, for your sake He became poor, so that by His poverty you might become rich. (2 Cor. 8:7–9)
Leaders who view discipleship through the lens of the gospel apply the gospel to finances by constantly reminding people of God’s great generosity. He who was rich became poor to make us rich, eternally. When the “per capita” giving drops in a church, these leaders are more concerned with the lack of gospel internalization in their people than the budget implications.
Adapted from Transformational Discipleship (B&H Publishing Group, 2012)
Eric Geiger is one of the Vice Presidents at Lifeway, leading the Resources Division. He has authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church.