What tips can you give that will help a pastor be more effective in receiving regular tithes and offerings? What about receiving special offerings, such as for a missionary or guest speaker? Any principles I should understand and implement?
My advice to any pastor, concerning tithes and offerings, would be to take time not only to give a short encouragement before receiving an offering but also to teach on the subject of giving. It takes more than just a short word to build into people’s lives a spirit of generosity and that’s the spirit every pastor should desire to see in his congregation.
God’s very nature is one of an abundant giver and we should be reflecting His heart through our actions. In my experience, I have found that getting people to support a project through an emotional plea is not the same as building into people a spirit of faithfulness towards God and becoming a generous person.
In addition to that, I would suggest the every pastor begin in his or her own life as a giver. Too often, the church and the offerings become the source, but it is so important that God remains our source. We impart to people what we are more than what we teach, so we need to be constantly checking our own hearts; are we living what we are proclaiming? We need to lead by example in the area of giving as well as in every other area of life.
Concerning guest speakers or missionaries that visit and minister to the congregation: I have made it a rule that we always receive a second offering for our guest. In this way, everyone can personally decide what they want to invest into that ministry. I receive it after the minister is finished ministering so that the people can experience the fruit of the work we are giving them a chance to sow into.
The first few years of our ministry, my wife and I traveled throughout central Europe as well as abroad, and we had a chance to experience firsthand what a traveling ministry experiences. For example, before the service the Pastor hands you an envelope for your expenses but then receives an offering for you from the congregation that you never will get. I always found this to be dishonest.
I found that when we give our churches the freedom to invest into other works, and at the same time we are teaching them the importance of tithing in the place God has planted them, we never come up short. God has always supplied, and in this way we are being an example of a giver to all. It truly is more blessed to give than receive.
Offering time is important. It gives people the opportunity to help support the work of God. We have found that people respond to giving with a purpose. That is why every week we show video clips or pictures of what tithes and offerings are accomplishing. We share a nugget of truth from the Bible and invite people to make an investment in the work our church is doing. No pressure—just an invitation to connect with a greater purpose. When people know what they are investing in, and why, they respond accordingly.
The spiritual environment has changed a great deal in the time I have been doing this, but the principles remain the same. In my experience, the first thing that needs to get in line is my heart. I don’t want to be that guy in 2 Corinthians 9 who twists people’s emotional arms to get them to give. God wants people to prosper. He has given us clear instruction on how that might come to pass, and I have the obligation to teach folks what the Bible says, and then encourage them to do it. When the sheep are blessed, the church is well cared for. I am there for their benefit, not them for mine.
I regularly tell my congregation that what is not of faith is sin (or at least religious ritual), and that faith comes by hearing. Therefore, we teach about God’s financial principles from the Word before every offering. I want them to give in faith. It is important to be accurate, faith-filled, and brief.
Over the last twenty years, there has been a decline in belief of the tithe. The devil has been doing a pretty good job of chipping away at the financial foundation of the Church. We can no longer assume that the majority of people believe in tithing, or even know what it is. Therefore, we have to teach them. The biggest religious objection to the tithe is the notion that it is under the Law, and therefore not required of Christians. My reading of Genesis 14, Malachi 3, and Hebrews 7, among others, leads me to believe otherwise. Tithing is not law. It is part of the very nature of God. I usually start with the idea that if the tithe is not for us today, then the blessing of the tither is not for us either. I want to tithe!
When it comes to special offerings for speakers, I have two veins I follow in teaching people to give. First, I start every special meeting by teaching from Galatians 6:6-10. The subject here is giving to those who teach us the Word. Giving into that work is sowing to the Spirit. Every individual has the ability to influence how much they will reap from the Spirit in the meetings by sowing to the Spirit before the very first message is preached. I then give a little description of the ministry of the speaker and encourage people to sow generously that they might reap lavishly.
The second vein of teaching with special speakers is from Matthew 10:40-42. As the pastor of the flock, I only bring in speakers who I believe are sent by God with a specific impartation for our congregation. Jesus tells us that when we receive someone whom He sends, we are receiving Him. As Christians, as members of the local flock, I am obligated to treat our visitor as if Jesus Himself is in our midst. How would we want to treat Jesus? This passage also indicates that there are rewards for blessing these who come in the Name of the Lord.
From a practical standpoint, I try to be very generous and very transparent with offerings for speakers. We save ahead of time to pay the expenses of the meeting—airfares, meals, lodging, etc. I tell the people that every penny of their offerings will go to the speaker (then I am sure to keep my word). If it is a regular service, I receive the church’s tithes separately, telling people that if they are a visitor or have already paid their tithe, they should wait and put their gift in the speaker’s offering. For meetings at times that are not part of our regular schedule, we don’t take an offering for the church, just for the speaker (my heart has to be to bless the gift of God, not me). Finally, when the offering is totaled, we always round up, not down, adding from the general fund. We take that as our opportunity to sow as a church into the good soil God sent by our house.
I think the key is to be bold. Do not be shy about asking for money. Explain to the people the benefits of giving—both in terms of the Biblical promises to the giver, but also in showing people where their money is going. We often show the missionaries we are supporting, photos of what they are going through, the new churches we are planting, and so on, so that people can clearly see that giving benefits them personally, and also benefits the kingdom and the planet.
Every Sunday we speak over our offerings, we put the words on the screen and we declare over our finances. We encourage our people to speak Scriptures over their giving. By doing this we are consistent.
On a practical level, we try and make things as convenient as possible. We use a company called tithe.ly to manage the giving, and we use PayPal and have card readers in the church as well. That way, people do not feel they have to bring large sums of cash (the UK is very rapidly phasing out cheques, and many, many young adults have never written a cheque in their lives), and it is convenient for them. People mainly give on their mobile devices or use the card readers at church on Sundays. We have found in the last year, many people are giving during the week on their mobile devices, which means they are giving as soon as they receive.
We generally give honorariums to our speakers, as we are a small church, and sometimes our offerings do not match what I would want to give a speaker. I see nothing wrong with a church saving to invite a good speaker. But sometimes we invite the people to give as well to specific speakers. If we do that, I try and push the people into thinking hard about what is happening. For example, if they went to a good meal in London, it would cost maybe £60-70 per head, to go to the Tower of London is £45, to hire a Rolls Royce in London for one hour is £175. By using these numbers we find the average gift goes up as it stops being mindless and starts being real – people start to realize how valuable the speaker is. I tell them – if they are about to get a feast, don’t give Happy Meal offerings! Often, I will quote a figure and find that repeated in the offering. Last time I mentioned the Rolls Royce and compared our speaker to a Rolls Royce (incidentally it was Gregory Dickow), I had 4 or 5 gifts of £175 in the offering as people realized how important this message would be to their lives. I am also not afraid to challenge our people to give a minimum—at our Christmas offering I challenge people to give the amount of the biggest gift they have bought in the year, and I often tell people if you pay more for a haircut than you give to church to hear a message, your priorities are skewed.
Also, let the people know you give as well. Make them realize you lead by example. And when the giving does something, I always tell the church. When a speaker emails me and thanks me for a generous offering, I always tell the people. When the missionaries build something with our giving, or a child is educated, or something, again I always tell the church.
Finally, George Hill told me that some people love to give to buildings and some love to give to world mission, so we try and have a regular building offering and world mission offering throughout the year. They do raise more money than a generic offering.
I believe one of the things that might help in this arena is sharing some of the projects that the monies are being used for. For example, one might share that because of the people’s generosity hundreds of children are being fed or we’re empowered to fight human trafficking in our own community. Whatever you’re involving your body with, people LOVE to see where their giving is making a meaningful impact.
I often share with our congregation that GENEROSITY is a key core value we are striving to build into our culture. We talk about it CONSTANTLY! I recommend these three thoughts to assist you in building culture: (1) the stories you tell, (2) the heroes you make, and (3) the things you celebrate. Tell stories of how the church’s generosity has blessed the lives of others. Make the entire house see the givers as heroes of the community. Celebrate generosity in any and every way you can think of. Culture is BUILT. It doesn’t just “happen.” Culture is built by the stories you tell, the heroes you make, and the things you celebrate.
This is a good and relevant question. Early on in my ministry, I didn’t talk much about tithes and offerings. I didn’t take a lot of time to teach on it or encourage people in it. Then the Lord begin to deal with me that I needed to take time every service and do a little teaching on the importance of tithing and giving offerings over and above the tithe.
I remember when I was pastoring in Canada years ago and the Lord woke me up on a Saturday night and said; “I want you to teach on giving of offerings and at the end take up a second offering.” (When I had stepped in as pastor of this church, I was told by the Board that they didn’t receive multiple offerings, ever, and I wasn’t to receive multiple offerings.) I argued with the Lord about what He spoke to my heart (because I was told not to receive multiple offerings), and He kept telling me, “I want you to teach on giving offerings over and above the tithe, and then receive a second offering.” I finally gave in, but I said, “Lord you will have to give me a scripture to start with,” and He did.
The next morning, which was Sunday, I go up a little earlier than usual, and starting with the scripture, it was like the Lord downloaded a sermon from heaven. I taught on what He gave me and received a second offering. The amazing thing was that it was larger than our regular offering earlier that day. Listening to the Lord and doing what He said, the fear of what people would think was broken in me, and it showed the congregation what God can do. Up until that time, we had never received a special offering for guest speakers at that church. After that, we began to receive special offerings, and God would do amazing things through those offerings by blessing the guest speakers and blessing the congregation.
From that time forward, I always have given a short teaching on tithing and giving offerings, whether it is in a regular Sunday morning or Wednesday evening service or when we have a guest speaker. I don’t take a long time, usually about 3-5 minutes, unless we have a special project for the church. Then I will take a little more time to explain what we are doing and why. God has always been faithful to meet the needs of the church I now pastor and to do exceedingly above and beyond what we ask of Him.
As I close, I would encourage any young minister in a couple of things: first, to not be afraid of people and remember that God is your source whether people respond or not. As you receive tithes and offerings in love and demonstrate to the people that it is for their benefit, I believe God will meet all your needs. Second, let the people know where their tithes and offerings are going and how their tithes and offerings are being used to advance the Kingdom of God. This will show your congregation that you are being transparent, and that their tithes and offerings are being used wisely.
I think every pastor, first and foremost, needs to be a tither himself/herself. Then, they can regularly share personal testimonies of financial breakthroughs and miracles in their lives. Paul told the church to do what he did and the God of peace will be with them.
Have members regularly send in praise reports about the blessings of tithes and offerings and share them as well. Finally, also share the promises of giving from the Scriptures during offering exhortations.
During a service, we try to focus more on the principles of “stewardship,” “faithfulness,” and “generosity” instead of tithes and offerings. Visitors and new people are not as familiar with the Biblical responsibilities of tithes and offerings, and therefore we only mention them occasionally. Besides, our offering envelopes have that terminology written inside the flap, and the giver is exposed to these terms and can distinguish what type of giving they intend to do.
When we do take time to share about this subject during the service, we will usually mention the three types of giving referenced in 2 Chronicles 31:11-12, which are tithes, offerings and designations.
…the people brought in the offerings, and the tithes, and the dedicated things faithfully…
This passage indicates that King Hezekiah “commanded the chambers of the House of Lord to be prepared” to receive what the people brought before the Lord. Again, the emphasis is not on what they gave, but on the heart attitude of giving “faithfully.”
Much of the instruction concerning tithes, offerings and designations comes from the Old Testament. However, for a New Testament Believer, the truth revealed in Hebrews 7:1-10 should settle any arguments about this issue.
In the one case, men who will die receive tenths, but in the other case, [Scripture] testifies that He lives. ~ [HCSB]
Every time we give in an offering, whether it’s considered a tithe, an offering, or a designation, we are acknowledging the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Salvation, and His Lordship over our lives.
In the New Testament, Paul gave the Church very specific instructions regarding “Special Offerings.” When we have a guest speaker scheduled, and as we make announcements about that upcoming special event, we’ll encourage people to ask the Lord how much they should sow into that ministry, and begin to put it aside before the special event.
Consider what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 16:2:
On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made. ~ [NIV]
We’ll also point towards Paul’s teachings in both First Corinthians chapter nine, and Second Corinthians, Chapters Eight & Nine:
“…muzzle not the ox that treads out the corn…” and “…he that plows, plows in hope…”
What “hope” is Paul referring too? That the minister would not be “muzzled” and would hopefully receive a pay check for their time of ministry!
Many times we have also quoted Galatians 6:6 from various translations:
Let him who receives instruction in the Word [of God] share all good things with his teacher [contributing to his support]. ~ [AMP]
Those who are taught the Word of God should help their teachers by paying them. ~ [TLB]
We’ll encourage people to give above and beyond their regular tithes for the support of a missionary or guest speaker.
Regarding offerings for the various missionaries we support, we will occasionally highlight one of them by reading part of their newsletter, or showing a video clip from their ministry. Again, using some of the same verses mentioned above, we’ll encourage people to ask the Lord for additional “seed to sow,” and then set that amount aside and designate it towards the “missions” fund indicated on the offering envelope.
One mistake we’ve seen people make involves confusion over the promise in 2 Corinthians 9:10-11:
…God provides seed for the sower and bread for eating… ~ …so that you can be generous…
Sadly, people fail to discern the difference between the “seed” they should “sow,” and the “bread” God provided for them to “eat!” Because of the pressures of life, they might eat the seed, and then try to sow the bread, expecting a harvest!
There’s so much more that could be said on this subject, but ultimately, it comes back to helping people become established in the basic principles we try to focus on, which are “stewardship,” “faithfulness,” and “generosity.”
We teach on tithing on a yearly basis. We sell selected books on finances in the church book store. We also offer the “Financial Peace” video series every other year at the church (the last video is on tithing).
We teach tithes and offerings with no apologies, since the church is blessed and so too are the tithers. Jesus is building His Church. The church is vital and we tell them this. Tithing testimonies are very valuable tools. A testimony about tithing and the results that followed always increase that day’s offering. We encourage them to take a moment to think about how they used their finances prior to becoming a Christian and how they use their finances now. Tithing scriptures are good. It is helpful to try to come up with different ways to teach the same verses. The Lord will help.
We share that Israel prospered and the kings of Judah prospered as long as they seriously sought and served the Lord. Share how having a thankful heart for all Jesus has done for us, peace, relationships, health, etc., opens the hearts of the congregation to give. Deuteronomy 26 encourages us to share a personal testimony (to ourselves) about how we have been blessed by the Lord. We preach to ourselves. The financial plans of men fluctuate. Companies go out of business. Jesus builds His church. There is no safer place for your finances or better return. The Lord loves people. Church helps people. Of course He will bless your finances when you give. This is not why we tithe and give offerings, but it guarantees that your finances will prosper since the Lord can trust you to finance His church.
We tell the congregation, we have been truly blessed spiritually by our guest minister and it is a privilege to bless them in the natural with our offering. The missionary or guest minister always blesses the people. We tell the congregation that we want to help this minister share what he blessed us with wherever they go; our offering will help them do this. We share that the commitment of the missionary to live where they do, and to sacrifice in the natural as they do, should be rewarded financially. We have the privilege to do this. Our finances go before us, with those we sow an offering into. If the missionary or the guest speaker ministers on a Sunday night when we do not usually have an evening service, we encourage any member of the church who did not attend in the morning to give their tithe when we receive the offering for the guest speaker. If we give an honorarium, we try to be as generous as we can be.
Teach boldly about tithing and have testimonies peppered in the lessons of people in the church. Meet with the person and explain what you want said, or they will talk and talk and talk and say nothing.
Be consistent, every service, and alternate with people with maturity to share their own stories, but train them in presentation.
The most important advice I can give (and it might sound too simple) is be led and be in faith.
You have to do what God says and what works where you are. Many things that are taught in middle America on church issues doesn’t always work in New York and other big cities. In New York, you can get “over greeted” and the big smiles and the over enthusiastic welcome can actually turn people off. I told a pastor in Michigan that he needed a separate entrance for New Yorkers where the greeter just nods his head and says, “was up.” So you have to do what works in your area. It is a good thing to seek advice, but what works somewhere else may not work for you and may be working because God told “them” to do it that way.
You also need to be led about how much time to spend on an offering. I know in New York, you will lose unbelievers if you go too long on the offering.
Some pastors have a set honorarium. If you decide to do that, make sure you are very clear ahead of time. Sometimes the word honorarium is mistaken to mean “love offering.”
I have been a guest speaker in churches larger than mine, and I find it interesting that the offerings that the guest speakers at my church receive are 4 or 5 times what I receive in other churches, and usually much larger than what I might receive from my church for pastor appreciation. I heard a pastor once say, “I find it interesting that you feel led to give a thousand dollar offering to someone who preaches once but don’t feel led to give a thousand dollar offering to your pastor who is here all the time, visits you in the hospital and counsels you.” I say this to make sure that you are in faith and trusting God—not people. I rejoice when guest speakers are blessed, but sometimes I look around at the needs people have in our church and wonder if the guest speaker’s offering is more emotional than led by the Spirit. I try to encourage my congregation to help one another.
Since my heart is very much for the unsaved, I am always mindful of the new person. A second offering can really turn someone off. What I have done is started a “sowers club.” I had a friend who was a trader that would call me when he had a good stock. Instead of having to pick and choose which cause I would receive an offering for, I ask people if they would like to be informed when a need comes across my desk. I also encourage people to budget for giving. I tell them to put that money in the back of their wallet and wait for God to tell them what to do with it. It is amazing how a financial gift opens doors for evangelism.
I have to confess that I really haven’t done what I have been taught. The Word works. I was getting what I was believing for and saying. There is a difference between facts and truth. It is ok to talk about the facts (how you feel or what you have; faith isn’t denying the facts), but you have to search your heart to see what you believe – the facts or the truth. The one you believe will be the one you speak about the most. I know that people teach that faith is not a feeling, but peace is a feeling and worry is a feeling. I had to ask myself what I felt when I thought about the church finances or my personal finances. Many times it was on the side of worry that came along with a thought like, “What can “I” do?” We do a great job not speaking negative. We even quote a familiar prosperity scripture once in a while. What we need to do is hear a ‘now word’ from God and go after it. I’ll give an example. They told us our first daughter would be born with down syndrome and they made an appointment for us for the sole purpose of trying to get us to abort the baby. We didn’t just quote that, “by His stripes she is healed.” We went to God in prayer, and He said “she will be fine;” that is the word we stood on. We went after it. It was loaded every time a thought came that was contrary. We shot it down with “she’ll be fine.” When she was born, there were complications. They called in specialists and a bunch of nurses, and you can see by the way they were working and the looks on their faces that there was a problem. Fear gripped me. I went into the bathroom to pray. I went to kneel down, and before my knee hit the floor, I heard on the inside, in a stern voice, “I said she’ll be fine.” All fear left and a smile came on my face. Faith isn’t a feeling, but when you’re in faith you can feel it. So, pray as long and as often as it takes to stay in peace over finances.
Sorry I was a little long this time but I hope it helped.
Hi, and thank you for your question concerning tithes, offerings, and guest ministers. As I’m presently in a pastoral office, tithing is taught that it is part of our worship. We do teach regularly on the use of finances generally, projects for the year, and also on spontaneous giving (we are big on this); always being prepared for others, always prepared financially to assist the person you are sitting next to, and always being able to provide for that unexpected need or luncheon. We teach much on always having money in your wallet.
With guest ministers, we prepare the people on ministry gifts and the necessity of having different people visit the church. Consequently, people give throughout the year for visiting speakers and missionaries (it is a provision on our offering envelopes). This also would include an opportunity to give on the occasion also.
I teach my people the laws of sowing and reaping and how it covers the tithes and offering. I also teach about the heart of the giver. Also, in Hebrews Chapter 7, I teach that the tithe was a symbol of the New Testament priesthood. The Old Testament priesthood only inherited the benefit or the responsibility of the tithe (Heb. 7:17-22 NLT).
Regarding special offerings for missionary and special speakers, just be honest of their needs. Trust in the Lord and make sure all of the offering goes to that ministry.