Most people don’t give to the church.
This isn’t a judgment—just an observation.
A five-year study that culminated in 2013 revealed that only 10–25 percent of people in the church give to the church.
If tithing is a part of discipleship, that means only 10-25% of people in church are participating in this crucial aspect of discipleship.
This means if they're missing out on giving to the church, then they're missing out on opportunities to grow and mature in Christ.
As a pastor, this should concern you.
Thankfully, there’s as solution.
Offering mobile giving and online giving will improve this metric. But building a generous, giving, and sacrificial church goes well beyond the tools you use.
As a church leader, it’s important to know why this is the case.
Stewardship is arguably one of the most essential aspects of the Christian life. In Bible verses about money, Jesus spoke more often about money than he did prayer and faith combined.
Helping the people in your church steward their resources is an important part of your call in their life.
Below are eight common reasons why people don’t give.
As you minister to the people in your church, prayerfully think through these different reasons with them. Taking this approach will place you in a better position to help shepherd them as their pastor or brother or sister in Christ.
#1: They don’t believe
In general, Christians give because they have been given a new life in Christ.
In time, we will respond to Jesus’ generosity by being generous.
If people in your church, both old and new, don't give, then the first hurdle they need to cross is within their heart.
Question: Do they believe in Jesus?
#2: They don’t know why
Christians receive a new life in Christ.
For the sake of pointing out the obvious, this means Christians will not know how to live for Jesus at the beginning. It takes an eternity to learn how to live and love like Jesus (Matt. 28:18–20).
As a church leader, don’t assume everyone in your church understands what the Bible says about stewardship. They may have never learned or been taught how to steward their resources for God’s glory and their good.
Question: Do they know why they should give?
#3: They’re in transition
As Christians, we’re constantly growing in our faith.
As we grow in Christ, our growth trajectory is not a neat, clean, or continual straight-line. Like all of life, we need directions, take the occasional U-turn, and hit a few potholes along the way.
Are your church members new to faith?
Are they making changes in their lifestyle and finances to better reflect the values of the Kingdom of God?
As a church leader, graciously walk alongside of your people during these times as God graciously works in their life. It will take time, hard conversations, and big decisions for people to make the changes they need to.
Question: Are the people in your church in transition?
#4: They’re in a difficult financial season
Let’s face it.
Life can be difficult.
Many of us — if not most — will go through seasons of financial highs and lows.
During these times, remind people to focus on stewarding what they have—not what they don’t have (2 Cor. 8:12). This will help people fight fear, overcome anxiety, and battle discontentment in their financial situation.
Question: Are they in a difficult financial season?
#5: They don’t know how
Most people within your church will know how to give. But people new to your church may not know.
Be sure to regularly show people how they can give. Whether it’s in the offering plate, online, or through a mobile app, share with people the options they have available to give.
Question: Do people know how they can give?
#6: They don’t know where their money goes
How does your church budget the money you receive?
Do you provide an annual report?
Are your finances available for anyone to see?
Do you share compelling stories about how donations are used?
Inviting people to look into your church’s finances will encourage (or discourage) them to see how their gifts are being used. It’s okay if people ask questions or express concerns on how your church finances are managed. This is just one way your church can hold itself accountable.
Fight the temptation to keep the church’s finances in the dark. Walk in the light and invite the members of your church to look into your financial records.
Question: Do people know how the money they give is stewarded?
#7: They don’t see why
Administrative costs are essential for running a local church.
There’s no way around it.
But giving toward the day-to-day needs is not a compelling reason to give.
God is at work in your church.
People are coming to faith. Marriages are being restored. People are sharing the gospel in their community and around the world. You’re hosting children during the summer vacation Bible school.
Share with your church how God is at work. Let them see the lives redeemed and changed. Invite them to be a part of what God is doing. They need to know that their gifts are what makes the ministry of your local church possible.
Question: Are you sharing stories of God’s work in your church?
#8. They have too much debt
Too much debt is crushing.
In Bible verses about debt, we see that too much debt will:
- Crush someone’s ability to give
- Cripple people from providing for them family
- Create tremendous stress and anxiety
To unleash generosity in your church, consider providing a financial class like Financial Peace University to help your church members manage their money, get out of debt, and create long-term wealth for their family.
Question: Does your church provide financial classes?
#9. They’re not involved
There’s so much more to church volunteers than the work they do.
According to different studies, volunteers are more likely to give than non-volunteers.
From a biblical perspective, this makes sense. When you give your life to Jesus, you will be compelled to be generous with your money, time, and skills.
After you get a church volunteer management system in place, lead your church members to volunteer. Not only will this provide you with helping hands. Most importantly of all, this will help your church members to live out their faith in Jesus.
Question: Do you regularly encourage your church members to volunteer?
#10. They don’t trust your church’s leadership
Trust is a huge factor in motivating people to give.
Here’s the deal:
If someone doesn’t trust you or your church (for whatever reason), they will not financially support your church.
One of the best ways to remedy this situation is to follow through with tip #6 above. You’ll be surprised about how powerful this simple act can be when it comes to creating trust and inspiring generosity.
Over to you
People usually don’t give because they’re a bunch of Scrooges.
Normally, one of the reasons listed above is the cause of your church members not giving.
As a church leader, focus on loving the people you serve well, preach about tithing in the Bible, and make room for God to work in the life of your church.