Should Pastors Know What Members Give?

Should pastors know what members give?  Yes!!  There are few issues that cause more division and consternation than this issue.  Yet studies show that pastors who know the giving patterns of their members raise more money than those that don’t.  Yet many don’t want to be confused with the facts because they say…

“I don’t want to know what people give because it might affect how I deal with them.”

That is one of the stupidest statements any pastor or church leader can say.  It might be your value to NOT know but come up with a better line.  Why?  Because when you say something like this you are really saying you are too immature to handle the sin in the lives of your people.

Think about it.  If you can’t handle if someone is giving or not how can you handle any sin or issue they might have.  If I hear you say the above about giving then I will never go tell you about any struggle in my life.  It might affect how you deal with me moving forward.  If you the spiritual leader of the congregation cannot handle knowing what people give is your financial secretary better equipped to deal with that?

Who says a pastor should not know what people give?  Stingy people!  People with something to hide.  For generous people this is not an issue.

Where does it say that the pastor should not know what people give?  Nowhere, at least nowhere that counts.  The Bible is silent on this issue!  I can make a much better case FOR the pastors knowing giving patterns than you can make biblically that the pastor should NOT know.

The lay response to this topic more often than not is, “It’s none of your business!”  When you understand how few give to the church it’s no wonder they worry that their sin might be found out.  As a result there is incredible pressure from the laity to keep pastors in the dark.

So, the majority of pastors in America are clueless of who gives and who does not.  They “guess” who might be giving and who is not.  In my experience many members of church finance teams don’t give but have a place at the table because it is perceived that due to their secular position they are givers.  My view is that being in leadership requires a higher standard than those not in leadership.  You should never have someone on your finance team or any other leadership position that does not give generously.  How can you know unless you know?

Here is a quote from Clif Christopher’s book, “Rich Church, Poor Church,”

“What would you think of a company president that says she does not need to know who her largest customer is but instead has a pretty good idea of who it is and thus deploys her salespeople accordingly?  She is pretty sure she is right.  I would not buy stock in that company.  Yet this is exactly the position we want our pastor to take when leading the body of Christ.  Guessing does not serve the Kingdom.”

You can download Clif’s chapter on this for free at Rich Church Poor Church Chapter 8

While I advise all my clients to know the giving of their members I always counsel handling this issue with grace and love.  Move carefully through this minefield but don’t let the complaints of a few keep you from doing your job effectively.

Mark Brooks- The Stewardship Coach