Receiving an Offering
Are there any techniques or mechanics that I should know to be more effective when I receive the tithes and offerings from the congregation? No one has ever really taught me “how” to receive an offering, and it seems there should be principles that I could benefit from. I don’t want to hype or pressure people, but neither do I want to feel backward or apologetic in receiving the offering. Are there any tips seasoned pastors could share that will help me be more effective?
Rev. Ed Horak
The practical mechanics of taking up an offering are very important, but nevertheless secondary to establishing a culture of giving in a church. If there is no spirit of giving in the church then no amount of good technique will make up.
Having said that, here are some practical tips for taking up the offering:
- Make sure the people are seated during the whole offering: they can’t write checks or fill out envelopes, etc. whilst standing up.
- Give them enough time to do all that you ask. Practice your timing if you have to.
- Consider using a branded, easily recognizable overhead projection each week to highlight the scripture and 2-3 bullet points you are basing your brief exhortation on.
- Use a variety of scriptures, not just 2-3 favorites, throughout the year to cover the vast number of stewardship principles that the Word of God covers.
- Get people to come into agreement for God’s blessing on their giving by getting them to declare out loud a faith confession that connects to what you have just shared as an exhortation.
- Give ushers the instruction to collect the offering and either show / make your announcements while the buckets, bags, whatever are being passed.
- As far as establishing a culture of giving in your church consider the following:
- Make it flow naturally with the rest of the worship experience. Giving is worship to the Lord and should never be apologized for. If you yourself are a worshiper and giver, then God will back what you say and do at offering time. You will have credibility with both Him and the people. (Remember you only get opposition from people who are not givers themselves.)
- If someone else receives the offering, make sure they are vetted by you and seen by the congregation as trusted and accountable… and that they stick to keeping it short and sweet. Coach them not to see it as their big moment to pour out volumes of scripture that overwhelm people.
Generally you can promote a culture of giving by:
- Establishing Bible reasons for giving: always use a scripture as your foundation.
- Exposing the vision: people give towards something they can see the church is aiming at doing. (Maybe once a month talk about or show a clip of an aspect of the vision during offering time. Tie it directly to their giving and support.)
- Exhorting with a testimony of the fruit of the ministry: say once a month—a clip, a projected photo with explanation… whatever. (So every two weeks you will alternate with a testimony segment or vision segment. Keep it sort and punchy.)
- Establish a ‘worshipful tone’ to the offering by directing it to the Lord in prayer, music, a worship song whilst collecting it…
- Equipping your people through other means at other times with resources on financial matters: books and cds at the bookstore / table; classes on stewardship / small group for job seekers / people struggling with debt / website articles.
In short, get ‘past the hump’ of being somewhat uncomfortable about talking about money in church: make it normal to do so, and be sure to let your people know that your church is giving out too: to the community, other ministries, missions etc… at least a ‘tithe of the tithe.’
One last point, in these economic times, remember that Jesus watched (and thus accepted her offering) as the poor widow woman gave her two mites. Giving is the gateway to receiving God’s blessing even when things are tight. He knew that, and so must we.
Pastor Jim Herring – Fort Worth, TX
Ministers seldom struggle with vision. We struggle with accumulating enough resources to fund the vision! Our faith in God and skill in receiving offerings directly affects the fulfillment of our vision.
Why is receiving offerings so challenging?
- Lack of training. Most of us were not trained or taught to receiving offerings. The average minister will receive over 3,000 offerings during the course of his ministry. It is these very offerings that will determine the fulfillment of his dream.
- Fear of being perceived as a money grubber. Many ministers of the Gospel fail to teach their people what the Word of God says about money, generosity, and debt. We should all take our cue from the Master. He was not afraid or intimidated to speak about money, possessions, generosity, or wealth (Luke 6:38, Luke 16:10-13, Matthew 23:23). He knew we needed it!
- Lack of biblical information. Some ministers have trouble receiving offerings because they have not studied what the Word of God says about financial things. According to Crown Financial Services, there are 2,350 verses in the Bible dealing with money and possessions. In order to teach what the Bible says, we must first know what it says.
- Despising the offering. Before you skip over this one, let me define “despise” from a biblical perspective. “Despise” means “to treat as trivial or insignificant.” Many ministers treat the offering as insignificant by not spending time preparing to receive it. We spend time planning the service and preparing to preach, but not much thought is given to receiving the offering. In addition, we can “despise” the offering by rushing through it during service to get to the “more important” stuff.
- Failing to realize giving is worship. When the people give, they are obeying God’s command and demonstrating their love toward God.
- Failing to understand the benefits your people will receive. The Bible promises that God will bless those who give (Malachi 3:10, Luke 6:38, 2 Corinthians 9:6)! When you receive God’s offering, you are giving people the opportunity to obey God and be blessed.
What are some tips to receiving an offering?
1. Passion – you need to get excited about giving and receiving. If you communicate with a lackadaisical attitude, your people will give that way. We can be passionate when receiving the offering because people will obey God, people will be blessed by God, and people will help fulfill the Great Commission.
2. Prepare – Take time to prepare and share some biblical principles concerning finances with your people. There are plenty of good books that you can draw from. As you share God’s Word with your people, they will know what God wants and faith will grow in their heart.
3. Proclaim – Make sure that you proclaim what their giving is producing! What happens as a result of their giving?
- People are being saved!
- People are receiving healing!
- People are being delivered!
- Disciples are being made!
- Leaders are being developed.
- Teenagers are being transformed!
- Children are learning the Word of God!
- Missionaries are being empowered to preach the Gospel!
4. Preacher – It seems best if the head of the ministry is the main one who receives the offering. People often connect with the head leader the best. In addition, he is able to articulate his vision better and clearer that anyone else.
5. Picture – The main reason that we give is because we love God and we want to obey His Word. However, the Bible also promises that those who give will be blessed. It is good to remind your people of the blessings involved because of their obedience. What are some of the promises givers can appropriate?
The windows of heaven will be opened for the giver! Malachi 3:10
God will pour out blessings upon the giver! Malachi 3:10
The giver will receive “good measure, pressed down, and running over.” Luke 6:38
The giver will be blessed in the city and in the field. Deuteronomy 28
The Lord will command His blessing on the obedient giver! Deuteronomy 28
Whatever the giver sows, he will reap! Galatians 6:7
6. Praise God’s Word works! As people are blessed because of their giving, make sure to celebrate it with the congregation. Last year a man in our congregation received a seventy percent raise. We all shouted the victory and I reminded everyone that God is no respecter of persons! He desires to bless all of His obedient children!
In conclusion, God has called us to accomplish great things for His Kingdom. However, great things cost M-O-N-E-Y! The Gospel is free but it is not cheap. Let’s exercise our faith in God and develop our skill in receiving offerings so that we can advance the Kingdom of God in the earth!
Pastor Walker Schurz – Lusaka, Zambia
Here are a few tips and principles we try to use at church:
• Be brief. We do one scripture and one thought. We do not do a long drawn out teaching. I do one series a year on money, stewardship or giving. It is during this time where we can go more in depth.
• Be positive. I regularly commend the congregation for their generosity and emphasize the positive rather than using pressure or a big pull.
• Pray. I encourage them to talk to God and actively trust Him as they give. I lead a prayer before the offering is received.
• Check your motive. As much as their giving will help the church accomplish its mission, I am more interested in them taking steps of faith in tithing and giving. I truly want them to experience the incredible blessings of overcoming selfishness and covetousness in order to honor God and love people with their money.
• Emphasize the vision more than the need. When receiving an offering for a project, talk about why it is important to God. People are interested in being involved in something that God is doing.
• Give reports. Tell them what their offerings are accomplishing. Let them see the progress and the hear testimonies of what the gospel is doing in the lives of people.
• Aim for heart-giving. New Testament giving is all about doing the will of God from the heart, not out of obligation or fear. If God is truly moving in their heart, you don’t have to take up a perfect offering for people to respond to God.
• Create expectancy. God tells us the benefits of giving so that we can be positive and give with a cheerful heart. We want people to give knowing that something is going to happen in their life and in the lives of others.
I hope these principles help you in leading people to experience the great joy and miracle of giving, sacrifice and loving others.
Pastor Michael Steward – Powell, OH
We try to stay right in the middle of the road when it comes to collecting the tithes & offerings. What I mean by that is we don’t minimize this time and treat it as just another step in our service and speed through it, nor do we spend a large amount of time giving them a tithing/offering message either. Periodically I will do a balanced series on money/tithing/giving to lay a foundation and build upon the importance of this subject. As a result of covering this on a regular basis, they know what the Word says and where we stand. I guess you could say that this has just become a part of our culture like any other Biblical truth. This allows us to be confident and “unashamed” of collecting offerings, nor do we feel like we have to make a “pull” either. However, we do try to cover some basic things in our offering time:
1. We remind the people that we are honoring/worshipping God with our tithes/offerings
2. We remind them of the specific promises in the Word and of God’s faithfulness
3. We come into agreement with them concerning their finances
4. We keep it short and concise, but unapologetic
Pastor Tim Kutz – Bartlesville, OK
Paul said to us by the Spirit that, “Whatever is not done in faith is sin.” The greatest thing that I personally learned about giving in an offering was to “turn my faith loose” when I gave. The same could be said about receiving communion or anything else that we do; we need to do it in faith.
If faith begins where the will of God is known, and we believe it does, then people must know the will of God concerning giving when they are giving. I’ve always taught people that they should not just drop their money in the bucket (plate), but tithe and give offerings. The greatest scripture that I can give for this is Hebrews 7:8 “Here mortal men receive tithes, but there he receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives” (NKJV). People need to understand that they are giving to Jesus, THE High Priest!
Pastor T.R. Harper – Jacksonville, AL
The first thing I do is to get them to give in faith—not just to put the money in the bucket. I share the Word about giving and then exhort them to give in faith. The Lord said to me one time that there are two things that hinder their giving: (1) things you say, and (2) things you don’t say. On Monday we talk about what we don’t have or can’t do because of lack. What we should do is talk about being a tither and a giver and release our faith (“I am a giver. I have seed in the ground and the Word is working mightily on my behalf right now, in the name of Jesus,” etc.).
Also you can let them know the purpose of the offering. Sometimes I remind them of the costs of operating a church (we have a church and school). For big projects we use the elephant as an example. You take one bite at a time. For building projects we set a goal. For the high school building we built, we set a goal of ninety thousand dollars and then we would break ground and money would keep coming. We stepped out in faith that the money would be there. If I keep going this would be a long story, but the building is paid for. Just follow the leading of the Holy Spirit on every project.
Pastor David Emigh – Sand Springs, OK
We make receiving tithes and offerings a part of our worship experience at Word of Life. It needs to be a very important part of your service. We do not rush through it but neither do we drag it out. God taught me never to apologize for what his Word teaches—and the Bible says a lot about money.
We always incorporate a mini teaching from the Bible about financial prosperity. I have different business men and women receive offerings. That way people hear other perspectives about money than just from me. I give them direction and a time limit and this has worked very well.
Several years ago God directed me to take our church out of debt. One of the things he encouraged me with was to challenge our people to get out of debt. So every time a debt was paid off I would have the people let me know and we would all shout. It was very effective.
I regularly use testimonies from the congregation about blessings of prosperity or raises and things of this nature. I share these before we receive the offerings and it has been very effective also. In the recent time of financial challenge we have seen growth in our finances and for that I am very thankful.
Pastor Sam Smucker – Lancaster, PA
Each week in our worship services we share a 1-2 minute tidbit on giving. This keeps the principles of giving in front of the congregation all the time.
We never use pressure tactics in trying to get people to give. Our experience has been when we share the Word of God on giving on a consistent basis, people respond to the Word. Then once a year we do a 2-3 week series on tithing and giving. Also, we remind the congregation on a regular basis what their giving is producing; like paying the operating expenses of the church, supporting staff, supporting missionaries around the world, and making it possible for this local church to fulfill it’s mission. We also share stories of how God has blessed people because of their faithfulness in giving.
Pastor Mike Cameneti – Canton, OH
As a pastor, I try to keep the mentality that the people God has entrusted me with are His sheep. He has placed them in my care for the long haul and I have a responsibility not to take advantage of them. One passage of scripture that I’ve used to keep things in order in my heart when receiving offerings is 2 Corinthians 9:6-8. Here is the Amplified translation:
[Remember] this: he who sows sparingly and grudgingly will also reap sparingly and grudgingly, and he who sows generously [that blessings may come to someone] will also reap generously and with blessings.
Let each one [give] as he has made up his own mind and purposed in his heart, not reluctantly or sorrowfully or under compulsion, for God loves (He takes pleasure in, prizes above other things, and is unwilling to abandon or to do without) a cheerful (joyous, “prompt to do it”) giver [whose heart is in his giving].
And God is able to make all grace (every favor and earthly blessing) come to you in abundance, so that you may always and under all circumstances and whatever the need be self-sufficient [possessing enough to require no aid or support and furnished in abundance for every good work and charitable donation].
I do not feel it is my job to put pressure on people to give or to share with them a sad story that would make it seem as though they have to give or we will go under. Instead, I focus on what the Word of God has to say concerning giving. Simple teaching on a regular basis lets them know that God desires them to give and that He will bless them when they do so with a right heart.
We have also set before our congregation a goal. Some surveys I have seen indicate that in most churches only 9–19% of the members tithe. My heart is to see 100% of our congregation tithe and I believe that it is God’s heart too. The thought here is also very basic—our tithe belongs to God; our heart is to please Him; so we obey what He desires us to do! I encourage our congregation along these lines, share testimonies we have received from people telling of what God has done following their decision to walk according to the Word concerning tithing, and I’ve also made it a point to tell our congregation that we, as a church, tithe too.
The approach is basic, but I believe that honesty and teaching are conducive to longevity in ministry, whereas gimmicks and tricks are not.
Pastor John White – Decatur, AL
When receiving an offering, never put the pressure on people; put it on God. God can take the pressure, people cannot. And we put the pressure on God by putting it on his Word. If the people are consistently taught the biblical principals of stewardship, they will give. They do need to know the importance and the why of their giving. That is why we will take just a few short moments during the offering time to explain what the Bible says about supporting the Gospel with tithes and offerings.
I have been in services when there was as much time devoted to the offering as there was to the sermon. While that approach might work sometimes, it will not work most of the time. When I see ministers take that much time receiving the offering I feel they are more concerned with the offering than they are the people. In our church I believe that we have as high or higher percentage of tithers than most churches. I know that if the people have it they will give it.
Stay positive in your approach. Never beg nor sound negative. While I might present the needs of the church I never come across as desperate or worried. I always let the church know that God is our source and that he will provide.
Never be apologetic in receiving an offering. Giving is as much a part of worship as the singing or the preaching. Teach your congregation this and they will be willing to give once they see it in God’s Word.
Our church actually claps, shouts, and cheers during the offering because they know the benefits of their giving and they readily see the results of how it is spent. They also know from the testimonies of others the rewards of being generous. Therefore, from time to time I will get someone from the congregation to give a testimony of how their giving opened the door for a financial breakthrough in their life.
Giving and being generous is such an important part of the christian life that it should be given honor and respect in our worship services. There will always be those who criticize how you receive offerings. Don’t let that bother you, because from my experience, those who complain never give anything anyway. And always remember, as I stated earlier, God is your source.
In conclusion, give the devil no place. Never allow anyone to be alone with the offering. Use offering envelopes and maintain good accounting practices. Inspect what you expect. Keep a close check on and review your offering procedures regularly.
Pastor Ray Almaguer – Glendora, CA
My thinking regarding receiving offerings is this: It is extremely important to teach people to give in faith. I like to read a passage of Scripture before I receive the offering, expound it for a moment or two, and then pray. It is important to teach people that we give because we love God, and we give in obedience to His Word. It is very important for believers to understand that our giving in faith is putting the spiritual laws of sowing and reaping into motion.
Another important thing Pastors must do is to teach believers to expect a harvest. I found that I was not doing a very good job of this. I think I did a pretty good job of teaching the church to give in faith, and to understand that our giving is sowing seed. I have since added the importance of looking for and expecting a harvest. It might come in the form of overtime, a side job, or selling some items you don’t really need. It could also come in the form of a bonus, raise or promotion. There are many ways our harvest can come from the Lord.
The last thing I would mention might be the most important: You as a Pastor must be a giver. Does the church see you leading by example in this area? I’m not saying that they should see how much you give, but they should see you give. When the offering is passed, do you put something in? My wife and I give something every service. When you as a Pastor tithe, you can get up in front of the church with confidence and conviction and challenge them to tithe too.
Pastor Brad Allen – San Mateo, CA
We recently taught two Sundays in a row on tithing. Offerings were up 100% over the average on both Sundays. But the long-term result is that couples that hadn’t been in complete agreement about tithing are now both on the same page and overall giving has gone up.
Another thing that has worked well is that we have had businessmen in the congregation testify about tithing and receive the offering. It comes from the heart and people pay attention.
After a while, people can “tune out” the pastor when he receives the offering. So having different people speak at this time is helpful. Financial testimonies help too. Another benefit is that the people who speak get a renewed vision for giving and their donations go up.
Pastor Rob Wynne – Linden, AL
I first use scriptures that back up the reasons why we as believers pay our tithes and give offerings. As word of faith people we must base our actions on the Bible.
I stress that Jesus is receiving your tithes and offerings, so literally you should reckon that you are giving to God; not an individual or an organization.
I teach that the tithe belongs to the church where you attend.
Although it seems that many people give, because it is obvious from how we take care of our property, the resources that we provide, the percentage of money that we give to missions, the benevolence that we give, the community activities that we support and the quality of the many other things we do, give people ample reasons to support their church with both their tithes and their offerings. There is an imaginary bank where you can draw out resources, if you have put any in. The way you have used what has been given you can either help you or hurt you to the point that it doesn’t matter what method you use. For example, I felt led to NOT take any special offerings for the remodel of a 14,000 square foot building and we do not take up special offerings for anything but guest ministers. In other words, we have lived off of the tithes and free-will offerings that are given (which is only taken up on Sunday mornings). We have done very well without putting any pressure on our people.