Have you ever put yourself in the shoes of the big givers in your church?
Do you think they would pass any opportunity to get more value from their church? Society has made wealthy people seem self-sufficient without them having a say, but these guys have needs.
They are the major donors in church, if not the only ones, but they also need to feel some care. Many believe that the church only cares about what it gets from them, never about how well they are faring. That is a sad truth, some of you might not agree with it, but I will show you why you should.
When God summoned Moses to go and lead the Israelites out of Egypt, the young man protested that he wasn’t skilled for the job because he had impaired speech. Can you blame him? He felt short of that kind of responsibility because he didn’t know the access that God had given him. God saw this and promised him that Aaron, his brother, would go with him and speak to the people. It was an opportunity for Aaron, but he didn’t see it. He thought he was helping a brother. These brothers led the Israelites out of slavery, through the Red Sea, and eventually to Mount Sinai, as God commanded. Here, Moses went up to meet with God and left Aaron in charge of the camp. After spending just 40 days on the mountain, Moses came down to a chaotic camp. Aaron, who was supposed to be their priest, gave in to their selfish desires and obeyed their bidding. At that point, he could no longer offer counsel or wisdom. As a Pastor, you do not ever want to get to that point in your ministry.
Discipleship is the heart of every ministry. It is about helping people take steps in the right direction, especially financial steps. You can only give what you have in abundance. If you must lead Christian millionaires, you must be in the appropriate position to do so. Apologies for this if I must, but Aaron could not hold the reins of leadership over that first generation of Israelites. Those guys had some measure of wealth- they took raw gold from Egypt. Aaron rested his oars of leadership on their wealth and resolve. He could not convincingly counsel them to trust the process and look at how it all ended.
I came across an interesting statistic that shows the importance of major donors. 80% of church giving is by 20% of the people. The great thing is that it edges up even higher: 90:10. If you want to build a financially healthy church, raise financially healthy and educated members first. Why do we have situations where the wealthiest families are not necessarily the biggest givers in church? The answer to this is the mindset of the individual. As a pastor, you should not treat people based on what they have or what they have done for the church in the past. You want your members to see you as someone who truly cares about their growth, not someone who wants to use them to fund their dreams for the church. Your motives are in the right place if this is your concern. Let me show you three things you can do to lead the wealthy members of your church confidently.
1. DEVELOP THEM
You wouldn’t pass any opportunity to develop someone with the gift of leadership, would you? The act of giving is a gift that we must nurture. You would provide opportunities for volunteers who are good with children, wouldn’t you? You should also deploy the same ability to develop someone who can give generously. For the wealthy ones who are not great givers, you can create the desire within them with good counsel. That is where you come in as their pastor. Build relationships with your members. Your priority should be to add value to their lives. As you help them follow Christ with their heart, soul, and strength, also help them lead a financially thriving life. It is the best way to make them become high capacity givers.
How then do you develop high-capacity givers? Give them Godly counsel and be the one at the fore, teaching them new things about wealth creation. You are responsible for your members, and engaging their talents, gifts, passions, and personality to yield more growth is a big part of your responsibility. That is spiritual leadership.
In the same way, you would create a specific path for someone who wanted to become a member; create a plan for developing high-capacity donors. Be intentional about keeping abreast of financial trends and investment opportunities and share information on these with your members. If Aaron had the right knowledge about gold and how to make it profitable, he would not have conceded to make it into a golden calf for worship.
Show that you have a genuine concern for their personal and financial growth, and they will not try to repel your leadership.
2. EXTEND THE HAND OF PARTNERSHIP
We should love people for who they are, not what they have or can do for us. Do not be afraid to tell your big donors that they are only worth something because of who they are in Christ, not how much they have in the bank.
Tell them the tale of the wealthy farmer in the bible that was so confident that he told his soul to go and relax as he had everything planned out. He did not see the light of the day. That farmer’s story teaches us not to stack up treasures outside God. It is like building a mansion with sticks.
Money is necessary, but money without God is a ticking time bomb.
Having money is not the same as having friends. Some of the loneliest people in the world have a lot of money. Just because someone holds a lot of financial responsibility doesn’t mean they have relational success. As a pastor, you have the opportunity to be a true friend, which is something your big donors might not acknowledge but desperately need. Find ways to develop authentic connections with your high-capacity givers so that you can lead them just as you are already doing to other members of your church. A great way is by sending them duly conducted investment research papers. Be a value-added friend.
Wealthy Christians also love philanthropic giving. Let them support the church by holding the reins of creative giving. Extend the arm of partnership to them by actively entrusting them with some of the church’s projects. This way, they will understand that you are running the church as an open book.
3. HELP THEM TO TRUST EASILY
Most times, wealthy people usually don’t trust people easily. They often feel used because they are naturally suspicious. As their wealth grew, they put up walls and remain guarded. This same lack of trust has extended to the church, which is why so many wealthy people are skeptical of organized religion. Most of the time, friends and family members have only been loyal to them for their money, so has the church. Some of them have lost faith in the church, which has affected their Christian walk. It is dangerous for their relationship with God, and as a pastor, your job is to help them regain that trust.
Start by showing them that you are trustworthy. You should create a model for authentic Christianity in your church. It will help to break down barriers of distrust that they have built towards the church over time. It is not a day’s job. Do not expect it to yield results easily. It is a conscious act that you must practice. Aaron did not attempt to gain the people’s trust- he conceded to defeat and did their bidding. He had the right knowledge, they didn’t, but he allowed their folly to lead him to the chaotic experience Moses came down to meet. No church leader should be in such a position.
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