Should Pastors Know How Much People Give? - Church of God of ...

Should Pastors Know How Much People Give? - Church of God of ...


By Rev. Brian Kluth

In conducting training seminars on church giving1 for thousands of pastors and church leaders, the most

common question I hear is "Should the Pastor know how much people give?" In my own experience,

when churches try to answer this question in order to make a change to their current practices or policies

on this subject, they will have some of the most emotional debates their leadership will ever experience!

Because of my background in executive leadership of non-profit ministries (prior to my becoming a local

church pastor), I personally have experienced the importance of the leader of a ministry knowing the giving

practices and patterns of people that support the ministry. But I have also learned that the church world is

very different than a non-profit organization. Many churches have a long standing history (or even policies

in place) of never allowing the pastor to know anything about people's giving.

So from my experience as a church pastor and a trainer of pastors and church leaders, I think the question

about "Should the Pastor know how much people give?" is probably the WRONG QUESTION for pastors

and church leaders to ask!

I think the RIGHT QUESTION to ask is "WHAT?" should a pastor know about people's giving.

In the average church, if you ask the question, "Should the pastor know about people's giving?" most

people envision the pastor getting computer login codes and passwords and under the cover of darkness

secretly sitting in the church office carefully studying everyone's detailed giving records and then deciding

who he will be nice too and who he will ignore in the future. Even some pastors admit that if they knew how

much people were "giving" or "not giving" they might be tempted to treat people differently. We forget that

the Bible clearly identifies that leaders and others knew the giving habits of some people (I Chronicles 29,

Acts 4:37, Nehemiah 7:70, Acts 5:1-2, Luke 8:3) and that even Jesus sat and watched how much people

were putting into the offering box (Luke 21:1-4)!

While discussing this question with a leader at my church who said that if I knew how much people gave

that I would treat people differently, I commented to them that as the pastor I know many dark secrets

about people's lives—who has experienced adultery, who has a drinking problem, how many months or

years it has been since someone has slept with their spouse, who had in abortion in the past, who has had

homosexual encounters or relationships, who is on drugs, who is in debt, who has tried to commit suicide,

and much, much more. Their response amazed me—“but this is different—we're talking about money!" I

assured the person that regardless of people's dark secrets or their giving habits, I'm called to love and

shepherd all the sheep in our church's fold.

But, let's get back to the RIGHT QUESTION I think church leaders should discuss and decide: "WHAT?"

should a pastor know about people's giving? Here are six things I think a pastor should be notified

about if he is to effectively pastor his congregation. In each of the following cases, the pastor does not

necessarily have to new specific amounts to effectively pastor these individuals.

1) WHEN SOMEONE NEW STARTS GIVING REGULARLY: If a pastor is notified when a person, couple

or family starts to be regular givers, he or she will then know that this is someone that is making an

intentional effort to become connected to congregation. These are ideal people for a pastor to begin to

talk with and find out ways they might be able to serve using their gifts and interests. New givers can

also be sent a short note of appreciation for their gifts from the church office or pastor that could

include some helpful information about the church's finances, generosity flyers, or booklets that help

them deepen their understanding of Biblical giving principles 2 .


this happens in someone's life is usually for two primary reasons. First, the person is going through

personal challenges or a great hardship (sometimes even unknown to others). Secondly, the person is

upset with the church or someone in the church, and this is the early sign (usually done about 6 months

before a person walks out for good). Both of these are pastoral issues. If the pastor is notified that

someone's giving suddenly stopped or was greatly decreased, he can look for an opportunity to talk

with them and find out what's happening in their life. If it is a time of hardship, the pastor can prayer or

possibly mobilize ways the family can be helped. If it is a conflict the person is having with the church

or someone in the church, the pastor can encourage healthy dialog and reconciliation.

3) WHEN SOMEONE GIVES A GIFT FOR A SPECIAL PURPOSE: In every church there are constantly

designated funds coming in and special projects taking place—missions trips, funeral memorial gifts,

scholarships, renovation projects, special projects and purchases, and so much more. When a pastor

knows that someone gave a special gift he can be sensitive to make sure the person knows their gift

was received and appreciated and that is was being used as intended. Sometimes it will also be

appropriate to send a special report documenting the impact of the person's gift (e.g. if someone gave

a gift to help underwrite a short-term missions project).


in Luke 12:34 "Where a person's treasure is, there your heart will be also." In considering people for top

leadership positions (elders) in my last two churches, we would give the list of potential candidates to

our treasurer and ask the question, "Are each of these people should Christian maturity and generosity

in their giving practices? Yes or No?" Notice, we did not ask the amount. It has been amazing that the

treasurer has had to come back and report "No" on a number of people over the year's that "appear" to

be spiritually mature and are very active and respected in the church. But here's the problem. If they

aren't giving faithfully to your church, their hearts are not with you and their hearts are actually far from

you! These are not the type of people you want in your key leadership positions. For one reason, any

time you have to face important financial decisions that will impact your church's future (renovations,

ministry expansion, building projects, etc.) they will naturally be resistant to anything that might cause

them to need to give.


people, some people have been especially spiritually gifted to be very generous givers (Romans 12:8

talks about a gift of giving). Normally, this means a person has been blessed with abilities to make a

greater income than they choose to spend on their lifestyle that they invest in God's work. If someone is

a great singer, we encourage them to sing. If someone is a great teacher or youth worker, we

encourage them to use their gifts. But is someone is a great giver, we ignore them! Don't all people

need to be encouraged in their God-given giftedness, including generous givers? Today, their are

ministries and resources that if a pastor knows someone is exhibiting generous giving, the pastor can

connect with this person and encourage them to sharpen their gift of giving (,,, and others). Also, in major church projects

(building campaigns, etc.), generous lead gifts and leadership gifts (Nehemiah 2:2-9, I Chronicles 29)

that are normally gained through special meetings with key people that God has given the capacity to

give generously can make the difference between success and failure in a project.


THE CONGREGATION: Most pastors and church leaders have no idea about the giving patterns

within their congregation. Yet, in any undertaking it is important to know your facts and what is

happening around you. A number of years ago I developed an treasurer's annual giving worksheet

eport3 that can give the pastor and key leaders (and sometimes even sharing it with the congregation)

the giving demographics of the church (without any reference to people's individual names). This

worksheet has often proved to be very helpful as we realized the need to develop financial ministries in

the church that would train people how to manage their God-given resources and to give generously.


In my own church that is 112 years old and had an unwritten policy that the pastor should never know

anything about anyone's giving, I experienced the heat, friction, and tension of trying to change the policy

about "Should the pastor know about everyone's giving?" I now realize we were asking the wrong question.

The RIGHT QUESTION to ask is "WHAT?" should a pastor know about people's giving. The six items I

identified above will help every pastor know how to shepherd, care for, and lead well.



Rev. Brian Kluth is a Senior Pastor in Colorado and is the founder of the

and websites. He has a FREE e-newsletter4 on church giving that is sent to 15,000

pastors and leaders nationwide and to over 80 countries. He has conducted half-day "MAXIMUM

Generosity Leadership Seminars" for thousands of pastors and church leaders.





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