[Today’s article is a guest post by Brian Kluth, generosity expert.]

For over 20 years, I have helped pastors and churches inspire generosity and increase giving.  But during these years, I have also discovered things pastors, leaders, and churches do to “shoot themselves in the foot” when it comes to helping people become generous and faithful givers.

1. PASTOR MISTAKE #1 – Is to think “money” isn’t a spiritual subject and not teach God’s Word on this subject.  There are 2,350 verses in the Bible on this topic, yet most pastors do not faithfully preach God’s Word on this vital topic.

2. PASTOR MISTAKE #2 – Is to not seeing the value of giving out a 30 or 40 day generosity devotional to bring a life-changing transformational generosity message to their congregation.  As a senior pastor, when I gave out generosity devotionals for every family to use at home for 30 or 40 days and utilized the companion videos and materials, I saw giving increase 10-40% in the months that followed.   This pattern of increased giving has been repeated by hundreds of churches across the country and the world, yet many pastors and churches still are uninterested in helping their people in this vital area of their spiritual walk.

3. WORSHIP LEADER MISTAKE #1 – Is praying for the offering using their “own words” instead of “God’s Word”.  When the average worship leader (or pastor) prays for the offering they use their own words, such as “this little bit”, “this small portion”, “this token of our gratitude”.  It is far better to put a generosity Scripture on the screen and pray about what it says, “Honor the LORD with the BEST of your crops”, “God loves a cheerful giver”, etc.

4. WORSHIP LEADER MISTAKE #2 – Is having people standing when they pray for the offering.  People need time to get their checkbooks, write a check, or get their cash together before an offering.  A worship leader should always pray for the offering while people are sitting down so they can get ready for the offering before it is taken.  Whenever possible, it is even a good idea to give people a notice that the offering will be prayed for after the next song so they can have time to get their offering ready.

5. WORSHIP LEADER MISTAKE #3 – Is not utilizing generosity videos that can help inspire and instruct the congregation from a Biblical perspective.

6. FINANCE COMMITTEE MISTAKE #1 – Is thinking they are only responsible for “bean counting” and “bean organizing”, but not doing things to help “grow beans.”  Someone or some committee in the church needs to be responsible for planning generosity initiatives that will inspire generosity and increase giving.

  • Recommended resource: 50 Best Practices and 80 Best Websites to Increase Giving or 30 & 40 Day devotionals.

7. FINANCE COMMITTEE MISTAKE #2 – Is not sending out quarterly giving statements and Faith & Finances newsletters.  People in your church need help in knowing “where they are at in their giving” throughout the year.  Quarterly giving statements will help people stay on track of their giving and give “catch up” offerings when they realize they’ve fallen behind.

8. FINANCE COMMITTEE MISTAKE #3 – Is not offering people online and electronic giving options.  In today’s world a growing number of people handle their finances electronically, including their giving. Wise churches give people lots of options for their giving.

  • Recommended resource: EFT Giving (Good list of online donation resources in this link.)

9. FINANCE COMMITTEE MISTAKE #4 – Is not having a rolling 12-month stewardship planning calendar.

10. CHURCH SECRETARY MISTAKE #1 – Is not utilizing cartoons or generosity flyers in church newsletters, bulletins, mailings, or giving statements to positively encourage giving.

Brian Kluth is the founder of http://www.generositydevotional.com/ website and FREE eNewsletter for pastors and churches and the author of a 30 & 40 Day devotional on generosity (www.GenerousLife.org). Kluth’s annual www.STATEofthePLATE.info research monitors church giving, budget, and generosity trends.