As a former pastor, the number one dream I want money to do for congregations is to help people worship God and unleash God’s Kingdom love on the world. As a financial planner I am learning a lot about some of the barriers that make it difficult for people to be generous. I would like to share the top two barriers/opportunities.
1. In any 5-year period, only one in five people have conversations about money with someone of significance in their lives (spouse, children, parents, etc.)This means four out of five make money and spend it without conversing about what they are doing. The number one reason for this silence is guilt and shame. The church is a great place to help break down guilt and shame if they focus on money conversations through the lens of grace and relationship versus moral obligation.
2. There are many opportunities to help people give efficiently without asking them to give more, especially members that are over 70. If people give in a tax efficient manner, they can give the same amount and, in some instances, double their giving without changing their overall budget. Imagine increasing your tithe without impacting your budget! There are several ways of doing this, and it has become even more important to be aware of in the Trump Tax Cut era.
With a little conversation and a little education, people can begin letting go of shame and guilt and expand their ability to be generous.
Greg Strunk is a former United Methodist pastor and a financial planner at Thrivent.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church