Leaders must lead

July 3, 2012

I was recently at a church in which the leadership was hesitant to go forward with a project that was critically needed for their growth. Why? Well because it costs money of course. In working with the church in a generosity audit, I learned that there was some concern that all of their staff and appointed leaders were givers themselves.

We know with any organization that the people will follow the leaders. We often hear in sports that the players take on the personality of the coach. It’s certainly no different in the church whether the subject is service in the community, discipleship, and yes giving.

I went on with this church to find out that of nearly 30 appointed leaders, a third of those had no regular giving patterns. Of those who did give only half of those gave at a level that would be close to 10%. Is it any wonder why they were hesitant to take a leap of faith that would require sacrificial giving?

Unfortunately I’ve seen this play out at a number of churches. So maybe you’re thinking what can we do at our church to cultivate a generous culture? My suggestion would be to first make it a requirement that your leaders are givers. Jesus says where your treasure is, your heart will follow. If your leaders aren’t giving of their treasure, are they giving their whole hearts to you? There are many ways to do that but the easiest is to just ask each of them to make that commitment. Second, let your people know that your leaders have made that commitment.

As my colleagues Jim Sheppard and Chris Willard say in their new book “Contagious Generosity”, “It’s possible to be a generous pastor of an ungenerous church. But we have never seen a generous church that is not led by a generous pastor.”

So for those of you that want to see generosity grow, let your leaders lead the way, and your people will follow.

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