Every church member’s worst fear when it comes to bringing a friend to church is the sermon will be about money.
NO! Don’t let the pastor talk about money!
The next scenario, while not as direct, can still cause anxiety…the offering.
The offering has the all the potential anxiety of a sermon on money, except there’s less time to say much, which leaves a lot of opportunity for people to hear “all we want is your money.”
I’m assuming that the church you lead or are a part of, does in fact not just want their money. You want people to follow Jesus and live a life of discipleship. This is great. But, then we remember how much Jesus talked about money. So money is part the discipleship equation.
But on Easter Sunday, we’ll have hundreds or thousands of people who don’t follow Jesus in our seats for perhaps the only time all year. And we assume that many of them don’t like coming to church is because the only other times they’ve come to church we talked about money. So, to make them feel comfortable, we’re going to skip everything on money, including the offering.
Consider doing this: Take up an offering. In fact, make a big deal about it. Get exciting.
But, make sure you include the following elements as you introduce the offering. This is key. Don’t just have someone say, “and now we’ll take the offering, pray with me….”
You can’t just jump into it without explaining it. Some of your visitors will be lost and others will be confused. Use the offering as another teaching moment.
Caution: Whom ever is leading the offering moment, don’t talk about discipleship and obedience to Jesus and sacrificial giving, or even tithing. At least not this weekend. People that are not following Jesus don’t need to hear about all of that, much less do those things. They are not disciples yet, so we can tap the breaks on the discipleship conversation.
What we can do instead is to show them some of the ways that we invest the money given to us AND the impact it’s making.
It may go something like this:
As we take up our offering today, I wanted to share a few thoughts. First, thank you so much for those that give here to our church. Your giving and generosity allow us to do some amazing work here and around the world. Lives are being changed because of what you are doing. Lives like….[insert story of life change here. You can have the emcee share it, bring the person(s) on stage to share live, or use a video. Show how the church has helped a single mom or dad. Show how the church is helping orphans or refugees. Show how the church is helping those impacted by depression, addiction or job loss.]
If we didn’t have you to help each week, we know that [insert name from story]’s life would be remarkably different. And we know there are more people out there like [insert name] that need help too. And this is our commitment to you, that we are going to keep stewarding the resources entrusted to us to make a difference in more lives.
The offering is an incredible moment to highlight the mission and vision of the church.
And the fact that you may have many visitors present during the Easter weekend is all the more reason to take up an offering.
- Thank people for their giving.
- Connect that giving to your mission.
- Share a story of life change
Don’t use the line “if you’re a visitor here, please don’t give.”
Instead say, “Every time you give, you are helping contribute to the impact and life change like [insert name of story].”
If you are excited about the mission that your church is doing, then there’s no reason to be afraid to ask people to help make it happen.
Even guests want to help make the world a better place. If you can show your church is in fact making the world a better place, then ask away.
Then ask them to come back next week as well!