9 Reasons People Stop Listening When You Talk About Giving

At some point every church leader needs to get in front of their community and ask them to give to the mission. These moments can be some of the most awkward moments ever in your services. As a leader you feel like a slimy used car salesmen … while your people look down at their shoes and just hope you will just stop!

It doesn’t have to be that way! Asking people to join the mission through giving to your church can be as vibrant as any other part of your services. Here are some things you need to avoid to make the “giving talk” less awkward.

  • pleasedontThe why is unclear. // Make sure that every time you talk about the finances at your church you start with the vision behind what you do with the money. Go out of your way to connect the dots between the finances of your ministry and difference it’s making in people’s lives.
  • You’re being too cold. // People make decisions about giving to any cause based on emotions. When you focus too much on charts, data and statistics and not connect with the heart people get turned off. Engage people’s emotions with giving to your mission.
  • It’s not personal enough. // People want to help individuals not the mass. Tell stories about individuals that are being impacted by your ministry … don’t just talk about what the “youth group” is doing … personalize it down to an individual being impacted by the mission.
  • Giving doesn’t make you smile. // God loves a cheerful giver [ref] … so why are you so solemn every time you talk about giving to the mission of your church? People love being generous … it literally makes them feel good. It should make you happy to talk about it!
  • You’re telling not asking. // People want to join a team … they want to be a part of the solution … they want to offer what they have to accomplish the mission. Our language needs to be inclusive and inviting people to be a part of the solution not telling them what “we” are doing and need “you” to give towards. Giving to your church is a tangible way that your community expresses it’s communal self. People want in on that … they don’t want to just pay your bills.
  • You’re not bought in! // Do you sacrificially give to the mission? People can sense if you aren’t bought in … just sayin’
  • Detail people aren’t getting the details. // There are people in your church that want the details on exactly how the money is being spent and if you don’t make those available they won’t give. They’re not “being nosey” or “asking too many questions” … they are wired towards the details and you can draw these people in to help your ministry. Make your financial records as open and accessible as possible.
  • No Pictures. // About 65% of your church are visual learners … just talking about why people should give to your church without showing a compelling picture or two is missing a large percentage of your audience. (Pie charts aren’t pictures … these need to be images that show the mission of the church in action.)
  • You’re always talking about money. // You have to earn the right to talk about money with your people. Every time you craft an experience where you are asking people to join you financially in the mission … you need to ask yourself if you earn the right for the next time to talk about money. Don’t use pressure in any form … cast the vision and ask people to join and then leave the response up to them and God.


  1. My church is dead on with these (gee, wonder why? ; ) ), and it’s led me to a place where I’m asking God to bless me materially so that I can be more generous with my church and with others. When it’s done well, it inspires generosity. When it’s done wrong, it reinforces the stereotype of “the church”.

  2. Great advice. I need to do this, I have always shied away from $$$ talks but if done like this I can see it being a better experience. I like the idea of showing how the $$$ is spent.

    1. Al!

      Why don’t you start with a few weeks of just “thanking” people who various parts of the ministry that they are funding. Show a picture or two of the impact they are making. That’s a great place to start!

      – Rich

      1. It would depend on the church leadership model… but I would assume most active givers should at least want to know what “categories” spending is going towards. A congregation should know that the church and mission they’re financially supporting are being good stewards of their money. In addition, if the money is being well spent, it would encourage regular givers to give over-and-above.

  3. I find this advice on how to stimulate giving in a church to be most unfortunate and more than a little sad. To suggest that people should give to well-understood budgets, to things that have been well explained and of which they approve is a business model, not a biblical model. It may work–if “working” means that we took in more money–but it works against the understanding of giving as a spiritual matter, a turning-over of our worldly life to God’s purposes, supporting God’s Church out of our love and gratitude, and (hold your breath!) obedience to God’s Word. Our money and our stewardship practices should be every bit the spiritual matter as the study of scripture, preaching, praying, singing praises and loving God and each other. Just sayin”.

    1. Thanks for reaching out Mike … appreciate the feedback.

      I guess I’m missing how being transparent and clear with your people is out of step with a biblical approach to giving? Obviously the New Testament teaches radical generosity … and I try to live that out in all aspects of my life … but the majority of people in the churches I’m aware of don’t even come close to an old covenant goal of a “tithe”. I think clearly communicating about the money stuff of the church help people take steps from where they are towards God’s ideal. But then again … maybe I’m not seeing it clearly.

      I’d love to hear what you do at your church to help people achieve to goal of radical generosity … clearly we all need to learn from each other!

      – Rich

  4. Thank you forcing me to think my own thoughts more clearly! In and of itself, I think it is far better to be transparent and clear in communicating the financial business of the church. Absolutely. I try to do exactly that. Perhaps I am more bothered by a lack of talk about the spiritual aspect of giving. Often the last bastion of worldly life that we try to keep separate from God is our use of money, and I try hard to teach and encourage people to think about use of money in light of God’s gifts, God’s teaching and God’s wishes. I agree that not enough Christians tithe or even give out of true generosity. But, as long as one feels that they are a part of a faithful, devout church–should one tithe or give generously in a year when the programs are well spelled-out and found acceptable…and cut back in a year when the programs are less acceptable? At that point I don’t think it is a “God thing” anymore.

  5. Good thoughts. My experience has been that resources tend to flow freely toward a clear, compelling Vision.

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Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.