Building a Culture of Generosity in Your Church
An interview with Brian Kluth on teaching members to give to God.

Some estimate giving to churches is on a 40-year decline. In contemplating the reasons why, here's a thought that should give church leaders pause: A church budget usually is set to the level of its people's unfaithfulness.

That's one of the messages Brian Kluth is taking to churches around the country.

Brian spent 10 years as the senior pastor of the First Evangelical Free Church of Colorado Springs. Nine out of those 10 years, the church ran a surplus budget. In the four years prior to Brian's arrival, the church never met budget.

Earlier this year, the church commissioned Brian to become a "generosity minister at large." In addition to developing his resources and writing a book, Brian now is touring with the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability and its 14-city "recession-proofing churches and ministries" workshops.

Brian recently visited Christianity Today International and sat down with me to share more about the tour, and about developing a culture of generosity in your church. In our short interview, Brian makes several interesting observations, which you can hear by clicking the link below (the audio player you need appears with the rest of this post).

Brian's observations include:

* In his 10 years as senior pastor, the church never mentioned the budget to the congregation;

* Teaching generosity means teaching people to excel in the grace of giving;

* When it comes to talking about money, the responsibility presumably falls to the pastor–but maybe shouldn't;

* Why "budget cutting" shouldn't be our mentality during tough economic times;

* The biblical view of how God uses "cold economic winds" to draw His people closer to him.

Links to help

* Church Finance Today

* Church Finance Update e-newsletter

* BuildingChurchLeaders.com's best church practices for responding to a recession.

* http://kluth.org

* http://kluth.org/ecfa.htm (this includes a $50 discount for an ECFA workshop)

* 50 Best Practices to Increase Church Giving e-book

* http://generouslife.org

* http://ecfa.org

This content is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is published with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. "From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations

Comments

Displaying 1–2 of 2 comments

Zin

July 18, 2013  8:20pm

Hi. Not technically a youth paostr, but I lead the youth at our church. I'm age 23, only been in the game for 7 months after serving at my church for 7 years so I can't take credit for our current model as I, with the help of 3 others are sort of transitioning into overseeing the youth, after our former youth paostr has become our lead paostr.Biggest JoyOur current model is proving to be fairly successful. We utilize big events, small groups, 1:1, individual bible reading plans and encourage the young people to develop relationships with their friends and invite them. This links the big events with the smaller ones and we have seen a lot of fruit of late from the young people doing the evangelising. Our leaders roles are to somewhat guide this process and invest in the core group of young people who are reaching more young people and teaching them how to do this. So whatever the event, the goal is to get whoever is there closer to Jesus if they already know him or don't.We like to convert people to the mission of Jesus and not just the man. We give people as young as 14/15 the chance to be part of outreach teams to teach them its about serving as well as attending etc.I do have to defend big events here, it would be very hard for me not to as the majority of our youth have come through the door of our big outreach events (including myself 7 years ago). They may not be a place for an in-depth study of Romans 8 but they are a place where kids can be kids,' where they can go nuts and introduce their friends to leaders and be proud to say my church hosts this youth club'. If young people see we want them to be young and mental I think they are more likely to be open to our message. These loud and manic times have lead to conversations off a quick gospel message and people have become Christians at these events or had meaningful conversations, (who would think the holy spirit would be able to work at a youth club!).However, I think there would be a serious problem if this was all we did. I think they are important as long as there is intentional development of disciples in small groups and 1:1s. I think it is important for teams and leaders to know that big youth club times are specifically designed to engage with people, chat, get to know them, invite them to church and chat about Jesus. It seems to be a matter of having both big and small to complement each other, it might just be our location and a season we are in.I think Jesus had a heart for large crowds and also individuals. There are young leaders at our church who have a great ability to lead a large amount of people in fun activities whilst shouting the gospel and on the other hand, we have some leaders who are great at leading small groups and caring for people and sharing the gospel. It would be a shame to make either neglect their personality and ability to do the other ministries.Biggest ChallengeGetting 30+'s to serve the 18-30s by mentoring or leading small groups is extremely hard as they just don't want to, which can leave a bit of a gap between the youth and the adults. Which means as young leaders are serving and serving, they very rarely get served, fed and accountability themselves. Leaving them getting tired and worn out with not much support. I think this is often seen as youth leaders jobs but then who serves them and so on. A lot of our young leaders between 18-25 have learned to be self feeders and look out for each other, I do think there is room for the older generations to serve them more though. So, I would like to see a shift from the older generations, from looking after themselves in small groups to asking how they can serve the generation below (who are probably serving their children in youth activities!). As this is always going to be a problem, I think its vital that young people don't just learn about Jesus, but learn HOW to learn about him, not just reading the bible, but HOW to read the bible. There are lots of bible st

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Maria Esther Zaldivar

January 09, 2010  5:38pm

I totally agree with Mr. Kluth and I have received one os his material and has been a tremendous teach. Its important also to include the teaching on First Fruits, some years ago the Lord asked me to give Him my first salary after 1.5 yeas of unemployment and I didn´t know anything about it so first, I asked my pastor his point of view about -of course I had a fight to obey God and give my first salary as I had to buy food and pay some bills but after the Lord drove me to Lev. 27, I did it; I gave Him my first salary divided in two payments as I needed to buy food. Since that time, I have taught about First Fruits and He has been faithfull to me. I honestly think that If we prove the Lord is first in our love, we won´t have any problem giving; if we don´t, we still trust money instead of God. Have a nice day and go ahead, excellent material and teachings. Maria Esther

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