Spiritual Leaders Getting Honest About Giving

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Church leaders must lead the way. They must do more than just talk—they must do what they ask others to do!

I recently had lunch with a long-time friend, Patrick Eggers at Chick-fil-A in the Atlanta area. In addition to some of that good chicken, waffle fries and iced-tea, we had a great conversation on what is new in the world of capital stewardship.  Things have changed in the past five years and continue to change!  Patrick is an expert in this field and has consulted with hundreds of churches. I loved the “nuggets” I learned and thought you might appreciate the inside scoop.

First, there has been a movement in the last few years away from the traditional 3 year campaign. The move has been toward much shorter runways to raising financial resources for Kingdom endeavors. The new time lines seem to as short as three months to as long as two years. Much of this is a result of the economy, but even more so due to time compression and culture itself. Everything is faster. It doesn’t matter if we like it, it’s just true.

I was fascinated with some of the stats. Some standouts were that 50% of the people provide 95% of the money.  And this really caught my attention — 50% of church leaders tithe, 40% of the leaders give but not a tithe, and 10% of the leaders give nothing. Patrick believes this is a central indicator of why things aren’t working in many churches. He said: “If the leaders have not bought in at a heart level, then the church will not move forward and realize its potential.”  That is so true. He asked me: “If they are spiritual leaders, with official responsibilities as leaders in the church, how can they dishonor God by not tithing?” That’s a really good question.

So what do we do? Patrick suggests that we should start with the basics. Ask the question, “Where are my leaders spiritually — from infants to mature?” Then begin to develop them as spiritual leaders. From there, after a season of training and honest communication, you may have to make some hard decisions about who remains in top positions of leadership.

That’s always a tough call, but I agree. Leaders by nature must lead the way. They must not just talk about it, but do what they ask others to do! It seems like the real issue is about spiritual integrity. When the congregation knows there is deep spiritual integrity amongst the leaders, then trust rises. And when trust rises, the people buy into and support the vision!

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