by Jac La Tour

Each year Pastor Brian Kluth of Maximum Generosity partners with organizations like ECCU to research the giving practices of Christians. Results of his 2013 State of the Plate research are in, and they focus on tithers—the people who give 10 percent or more of their income to Christian and charitable causes.

We’re also partnering with Brian on a June 20 webinar to report the research findings and talk about how they can help ministries. For a preview of what he’ll present in the webinar, I asked Brian a few questions about this year’s research. Here’s what he had to say.

Jac: What were some surprises in this year’s State of the Plate survey?

Brian: Our research revealed a number of surprises. Here are three:

  • 17% give off their net income, while 70% base their giving off their gross income and financial blessings.
  • In nine categories of financial health, Christians who donate 10% or more are better off financially than those who do not give at least 10%.
  • Sadly, very few faithful givers currently plan to leave bequests in their estate. Only 25% are leaving a gift for their church, and even fewer, less than 11%, are leaving gifts for Christian organizations or mission agencies.

Jac: What are a couple key insights about tithers that every ministry leader should know…and why?

Brian: Tithing starts when people are younger. 63% started in their twenties, teen years, or as children. Only 17% started after age 40. Churches especially need to use generosity devotionals and other materials that allow people to discuss generosity and giving as a family, so a new generation of young givers can be raised up.

Another insight…churches must offer various ways for people to give. The debate used to be whether to pass the plate or have a box in the back. Today the answer is to pass the plate, have a box in the back (for those who weren’t ready when the offering was collected), offer EFT and online giving, provide mail-in self-addressed envelopes, set up stock brokerage accounts to receive stock gifts, and think hard about iPad, smartphone, and kiosk giving.

Jac: The survey suggests that generosity is learned behavior. What are some effective ways of teaching people to be generous?

Brian: No one is born generous…or born-again generous. Every person is on a generosity journey and needs help to grow in the grace of giving. Every survey participant indicated that the Lord used a variety of things to teach them to be more generous.

The most ineffective way to teach giving is to focus on the budget. Generosity should be taught because of the Bible, not the budget. A budget should be seen as a spending plan, not the giving goal. It is not just about financial transactions, but also about spiritual transformation. Biblically-based financial sermons and classes, generosity devotionals and other generosity materials (e.g., pamphlets, bulletin inserts, offertory videos, Scripture verses on the screen during the offering) are all helpful ways to teach and encourage generosity year-around.

Jac: What are some important takeaways attendees will learn during the June 20 webinar?

Brian: Information never before revealed about the best practices and trends of the most generous group of givers in every congregation. Attendees will also gain access to the full eReport (20 Truths about Tithers) with 26 graphs and infographics. I’ll also talk about five keys to create a culture of generosity and 50 best practices to inspire greater generosity.

Follow this link to learn more about and register for the Truths about Tithers webinar.

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