Preach a series of sermons on giving.
In my twenty years as a senior pastor, I learned that a stand-alone sermon on stewardship, even if preached twice a year, had little impact on people’s giving. But the first year I preached a four-week series on the biblical principles of stewardship, our weekly giving increased 32 percent! That gave us an extra $20,304 to hire a badly needed part-time staff person.
It turns out my personal experience is universal. According to George Barna,
“Churches in which pastors preach a series of messages about giving are nearly two-and-half times more likely to experience an increase in giving than when preachers speak about giving, one sermon at a time, on two or more nonconsecutive occasions during the year.” (Barna, George. How to Increase Giving in Your Church. Ventura, CA.: Regal Books, 1997.)
Preach your stewardship series effectively.
A four-week stewardship series preached once a year, if delivered effectively, can increase your weekly giving by 10 to 60 percent.
An Effective Stewardship Sermon Series Is Biblical.
The spiritual power to change the giving habits of your congregation resides in God’s word, not in great stories. Therefore, in every series be sure to open the Bible and expound the following biblical truths, in this order:
1. Preach that we are not owners, but stewards of God’s money and possessions.
Tell your flock that a steward is someone who manages the resources of another, to accomplish the goals of the owner. Joseph’s stewardship of Potiphar’s household in Genesis is an excellent illustration.
2. Teach biblical principles of wise money management.
The book of Proverbs is an excellent and easy source of sermon texts on using a budget, avoiding debt (Trust God, not Visa), saving, working hard, avoiding get-rich-quick schemes, and many others.
3. Next, preach about the biblical principles of giving.
If you’re new to this, start with 1 Corinthians 16 and 2 Corinthians 8 and 9. You will never run out of Scriptures on this subject—no matter how many consecutive years you teach on stewardship in the same church.
4. Always end your series by proclaiming the rewards God promises to faithful givers.
See Scriptures such as Matthew 6:19-21, 25-33, Luke 6:38, Acts 20:35, Philippians 4:19, and 2 Corinthians 9:611. These promises of spiritual, financial, eternal, and emotional rewards for good stewards are amazing. They are so amazing that we are often afraid to put them to the test.
An Effective Stewardship Sermon Series Is Bold.
Dos and Don’ts of Bold Stewardship Preaching
- Do preach the word with divine authority.
- Do trust God to work powerfully as you do.
- Do have confidence God will greatly bless your people and your church.
- Don’t apologize.
- Don’t shrink back from preaching the hard stuff (Acts 20:20, 27).
- Don’t let a critic or two discourage you.
- (They aren’t giving, or they wouldn’t be critical. If you throw a stick into a pack of dogs, the one that gets hit howls the loudest.)
- Don’t be afraid to challenge your people to give generously to their church.
In an online survey by BuildingChurchLeaders.com, only 32 percent of pastors and church leaders agreed that “Our church can improve financial giving most by teaching on biblical stewardship.” That means that 68 percent of church leaders are missing out on the life-transforming, offering-increasing power of preaching a stewardship series.
So, don’t preach a sermon on giving. Preach a series.
Rod Rogers is a former senior pastor who, as a church capital campaign consultant with AbundantGiving.com, helps pastors raise funds for building, remodeling, and retiring debt.