Giving from 1968 to 2010 declined from 3.11 percent of Americans' incomes to 2.4 percent.
During this period of decline, the Contemporary Church Movement rose to prominence. Its goal was to reach the unreached by making the Gospel message more appealing.
Styles of worship changed, venues changed, times changed, ultimately everything the church had done for years came under scrutiny, including the offering.
“All the church ever talks about is money!”
That is what many felt was keeping the lost away from our places of worship. So, we stopped talking about money. Many even stopped taking up an offering.
Those that still did take up an offering spent more time telling people that they should not feel obligated to give than they did showing people why they should give. In many churches, you have to search to find the offering basket.
Then when times of economic decline happen, we marvel that we cannot make budget.
The facts are that recessions are not the reason giving has declined from 1968 to 2010.
We need to stop looking for something or someone to blame for giving’s decline. One of the major reasons for the decline in giving lies at the feet of the pastors of America! Quite simply, the vast majority of pastors in America, contrary to popular opinion, do not talk about money or giving. Some never talk about it. Most mention it perhaps once a year.
Study after study shows that preaching on money and giving is one of the least favorite topics of pastors in America. One study found only 32 percent of American church members reported that they had heard a sermon on the relationship between faith and personal finances in that previous year.
The author of that study concluded, “Clergy often tiptoe around the topic of money as if they were taking a walk through a minefield.”
One of the biggest reasons for the decline in giving is the pastor!
Harry Truman is famous for the saying, “The Buck Stops Here.” When it comes to giving in the church, the buck stops with the pastor!
Before you jump all over me, I want to remind you that I was a senior pastor for over 20 years. I don’t like stating this, but in my work in the stewardship field for the last 15 years, the disconnected pastor has been one of the major reasons why churches have failed to raise the money they need for ministry and missions. Too few preachers say too little about stewardship.
Why should you preach on stewardship?
Artist and photographer Jeremy Cowart takes us on an amazing creative journey to see the face of Christ.