Squeezing coins. Photo courtesy of Jakub Krechowicz

I met a pastor recently who never discusses finances with his church. He believes the members of his congregation have been hurt so much by our culture, the constant asks of para-church ministry, and “money-grubbing pastors”, he doesn’t want to add to their pain.

How about you?

I was surprised by this pastor’s observation, but perhaps I shouldn’t have been. Itinerate pastor and author, Aaron Armstrong blogged about five reasons church members don’t give or give less. Here are two of his observations.

They’ve been hurt by the world
Some folks—maybe because of  a business deal going bad, poor life choices, or student debt—are in a really bad spot. They went to college, got a degree and are working at Starbucks or McDonalds while paying off $60K in student loans. Their business went belly-up and they’re stuck paying off the creditors while trying to avoid foreclosure. Their reasonably well-paying job was eliminated and so they’re scraping everything they can together to keep a roof over their family’s heads and food on the table. They might very likely have a desire to give generously, but the means simply aren’t there. They need time, assistance —maybe your church offers financial counselling and coaching?—and a great deal of encouragement as they strive to get onto solid ground.

They’ve been hurt by the church
Depending on your situation, you might be seeing a lot of transfer growth, people joining your church from other churches. While many people transferring are healthy and ready to serve—perhaps work, family, or other situations not related to some sin issue necessitated their leaving their previous church—others are coming in banged up, hurt and nervous. These people need time, love, and patience while they get things figured out, get the help they need, and eventually start to give.

Read his full blog post here.

What have you found in your church?
Why do your members hold back their generosity?
Please leave a comment below.