From Zero to Faithful Stewardship

From Zero to Faithful Stewardship

19% of evangelicals give zero to church or charities. That was the shocking revelation in a new Infinity Concepts|Grey Matter Research study entitled, The Generosity Factor: Evangelicals and Giving. Here is their sobering conclusion, “The common thread we have discovered when it comes to generosity is that, as a group, evangelicals may be far less generous than they think. There are some variations by age and household income, but the story remains similar for various types of evangelicals.”1.

What percentage of your members give zero? This edition of the Coach is entitled From Zero to Faithful Stewardship.

Here are more of the alarming trends in giving the study discovered:

  • Only 13% of evangelical Protestants give anything close to a tithe.
  • The average evangelical donor gave 4% of income to church or charity in the past year.
  • The average evangelical gave $1,923 to church and $622 to charity for a grand total of $2,545 in the past twelve months. However, this includes many who gave nothing at all. If we just consider those who donate to church, the average giving to church is $2,603. The average giving to charity is $1,067 among those who give to charity.

The report states, “… the average evangelical Christian is just as ungenerous as the average American.”

This is what happens when we devalue the offering in hopes that we can attract a crowd. The current trend in declining giving started in the late 1960’s and has continued up until today. Very few are doing anything about this decline. With the aging of our key donor base and a challenging economic climate, it is little wonder that many churches are struggling.

There is hope! Consider this statement and these stunning statistics from the report: “The average amount of money given by spiritually engaged evangelicals is significantly higher than among those who are not.” They then give these stats:

  • Weekly Bible Reading: 399% higher giving
  • Monthly Church Attendance: 306% higher giving
  • Small Group Participation: 159% higher giving
  • Online Bible Study: 112% higher giving

The report sums this up well by saying, “The more involved someone is in their faith, the more likely that person is to give and the more they tend to give.” By focusing on discipleship, you will see generosity increase.

How, specifically, should we go about from zero to faithful stewardship?

Engage yourself and your staff. When it comes to helping a church be fully funded, the staff is the biggest obstacle I have to overcome in the typical church. Sometimes, it is the Senior Pastor! Part of the problem is that the decline in giving has been so small that we don’t feel the impact from one year to the next. Covid changed that. You can’t keep pushing stewardship education to the back burner and expect giving to remain constant. Pastor, if you don’t take action now and get engaged in stewardship, you won’t have a staff; you’ll probably be bi-vocational if your church survives. The longer you delay action, the more difficult it will be to establish and maintain financial stability beyond 2030.

Encourage attendance. Physical attendance. Giving and attendance go hand in hand. You can chart the decline in giving and the decline in attendance, and both downward trends look the same. I understand that many people want to engage with a church online. I believe churches should have a digital strategy. However, here is the truth. The churches that opened back up the earliest during the pandemic are the ones thriving today. Those who delayed opening up are still struggling. We are fooling ourselves into thinking that online engagement can produce committed disciples of Jesus. We must be where our community is, and many are exclusively online. However, our focus should be to help them overcome their fear and encourage attendance. Increase your physical attendance, and you have a greater chance of increasing giving.

Elevate the offering. Everything rises and falls with the offering! We must change our attitude when it comes to offering time. Let’s give the offering equal time with the announcements! You must elevate your offerings to prominence in your services to increase giving! To accomplish this, you must convince your staff to give the offering time in the service. Worship time is valuable and often fought over. But, if you don’t elevate the offering, you won’t have a place to worship.

Educate your flock. It starts with the offering time. You have most of your regular people watching or attending on Sunday morning. Take one minute or less to teach the value of a life of generosity based upon biblical principles of stewardship. This short weekly message can help you increase stewardship awareness. I would also preach a yearly series on giving and have my Sunday School classes or small groups regularly learning biblical principles of stewardship.

Endow the future. Less than 10% of churches have any estate plan. We need to work to build endowments for churches’ long-term survival should Jesus tarry. Remember, the church that prepares for the future now will be the church that survives into the future.

While the above are specific actions you should be taking, there is one overall emphasis we must get back to, discipleship. The more we stress discipleship, the more people will embrace a lifestyle of generosity. The Generosity Factor report summed it up well by saying, “What our research demonstrates that should give both hope and challenge to Christian leaders is that the more deeply engaged people are with their faith, the more generous they are.”

Let’s deeply engage people in their faith so we can move them from zero to faithful stewardship!

Mark Brooks – The Stewardship Coach

Missions and Ministry Moment (aka Offering Talk) – This week’s talk can be accessed after you register at:


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