How Should a Pastor Think About His People's Giving?
Giving indicates spiritual growth and participation in the gospel.
When I mentioned the title of this sermon to a group of pastors at our monthly denominational meeting, it elicited considerable response. One pastor leaned back in his chair, laughed, and said, "At my church they would probably edit that to read 'Should a Pastor Think About His People's Giving?'" The pastor next to me chimed in: "Some churches would say, 'Dare a Pastor Think About His People's Giving?'"
It's obvious pastors think about their people's giving. If you listen to them talk or preach about it, you can easily figure out what they think. Pastors that harangue, make long drawn-out appeals, brow-beat, or use guilt manipulations obviously think their people are reluctant to give and must be pressured by "stewardship programs" every year if they are to part with their money. Those who publicly record donation amounts in the bulletin or in some event program must think people will give if they get some recognition or notoriety for it. Pastors who plan raffles, bingo, or other fund-raising activities, clearly think people will give only if they have a chance to win even more in return.
It's obvious pastors think about their people's giving. If you listen to them closely, you can figure out what their thoughts are. But what should their thoughts be. How should a pastor think about his people's giving? We can find the answers in the end of Paul's letter to the Philippians.
A pastor should be glad for his people's giving.
In Philippians 4:10-13, Paul writes that he rejoices in his friends' giving, but not because the ministry depends upon their gifts. The truth is that their giving was not critical to the ministry; God could have continued the ministry whether they gave or not.
When Paul writes that he is glad the ...
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Donald Sunukjian is Homiletics Chair and Professor of Christian Ministry and Leadership at Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, California.