11th July 2019
I once listened to a pastor from a Texas megachurch declare that his was one of the most financially generous churches in the USA. To be honest, the church’s attendance was of such a scale that the figures presented were difficult to relate to anything within our UK experience, and it was hard to discern how true his statement was — but the numbers were impressive.
My experience in the UK is that for every person attending a church, you can expect £1000 to be given per year. That means a church with an average weekly attendance of 200 adults and children can expect an annual income of £200,000. This will vary according to contextual factors, but is useful as a rough guide.
In the 24 years I have been leading King’s, as we have moved from one building project to another, added services and sites and increased our staff, I have had to teach about money and giving many times. I don’t believe it is something many pastors enjoy speaking on, but I believe it is vital that we regularly address the subject on Sundays. Here are some of the key principles you would hear taught at King’s. It is by no means an exhaustive list, but hopefully it catches our heart:
In our personal finances:
1. Be generous.
2. Give out of what you have, not out of what you do not have.
3. You ‘get to give’ not ‘give to get’.
4. We are called to steward God-given resources – all we have belongs to God first.
5. Give proportionally – 10% of a large salary is a smaller sacrifice than 10% of a small one.
6. Your bank account reveals your priorities.
For the church:
1. Teach regularly on the subject of money and giving.
2. Be open about the church’s financial position.
3. Give an account to the church at least once a year. At King’s we call this Vision Night.
4. Openness, good management and vision casting are all important when asking people to give sacrificially.
5. Cash flow is really important!
6. Ultimately, God is the provider.
We had our annual Vision Night at King’s last night. It is a very important evening in our church calendar when we give an account of money given, how it has been spent to-date, and proposed future giving and spending goals. A key element for us is relating giving and expenditure to the implementation of vision. I believe churches should be accountable and open about money, and I love the fact that there are always lots of good questions on these evenings. This can and should be an interesting and exciting evening for the whole church! I am grateful to be leading an extremely generous church, and excited to see all that God will do with the resources He has given.
Posted by Steve Tibbert
Steve Tibbert leads King’s Church London, with sites in Catford, Downham and Lee. Over the past fifteen years the church has seen continued growth, both in size and diversity. Steve is also involved in Newfrontiers and regularly coaches other lead elders. His book, Good to Grow, was published in July 2011. He is married to Deb, and they have three sons.