It’s a commonly quoted adage that some things are better caught than taught. But when it comes to generosity, is it true? The 2013 State of the Plate research provides some answers. I asked Pastor Brian Kluth, founder of Maximum Generosity and publisher of the research, what it reveals.
MBG: Some say generosity is caught, others say that it can be taught. Does the State of the Plate research provide any insights about which view is true?
Brian: An amazing 92% of tithers (Christians who give 10% or more) indicated that God used others to help teach them biblical financial and generosity principles. No one is born generous and no one is born-again generous. Generosity must be taught and caught. The top three ways people were influenced to be more generous was through financial classes and authors (like Dave Ramsey, Crown Financial Ministries, my generosity resources, Randy Alcorn, and others), through sermons by their pastor, and through the influence of their parents or grandparents.
MBG: Is there one best way to teach generosity?
Brian: There is no silver bullet or one-size-fits-all approach to teaching and increasing generosity. From our research over the years, we created a two-page worksheet showing the 50 best practices and 80 best websites that will help grow givers and giving. Most churches, for example, are only doing 7 to12 things on the list, so there’s a lot of room for growth.
MBG: What are a couple best practices for growing generous givers?
Brian: Have a multi-faceted, year-round approach based on your choice of the 50 best practices: Pamphlets, videos, testimonies, sermon series, devotionals, cartoons, classes, and much more. And provide multiple ways to give: Passing the plate, box(es) in the back, quarterly giving statements, financial/ministry newsletters with mail-in envelopes, online giving, EFT, kiosks, and tablets. And open a brokerage account so you can receive stock transfers and accept gifts-in-kind.
Response to the recent ECCU Truths about Tithers webinar, in which Brian reviewed the 2013 State of the Plate research results, confirmed that ministry leaders want to learn how to create a culture of generosity. So we’ve asked him to kick off an upcoming webinar series by talking specifically about how and why to teach generosity. For more information and to register, visit www.eccu.org/funding-your-vision.