We just finished up our stewardship campaign, at least the public part, there is still a lot of work to be done. As we went through this process I started to notice a couple of trends. I noticed four different types of givers within the churches I have served.
1) The “Just Right”: This giver is one who supports the church but not too much or not too little. The amount they give is just right. They chunk in $50 a month when their tithe should look like $300 a month. They give because they see their gifts as helping the church but that a tithe is impossible because they are scared of giving that type of money away. They may slip in and out of church if you would let them and never give but since you caught them attending your consecration Sunday service, they committed a the right amount.
2) The Superhero: This is a fun giver but also annoying. These are the people who are generous givers. They will empty their pockets in a heartbeat when asked, but that is the annoying part, when asked. They like to swoop in and help save the day when the church is in trouble. The water heater blows up, these people will write the check to help pay for a new one. VBS needs a couple extra dollars, you know who to call. What they don’t realize is if they communicate the amount of money they are willing to give the church, and simply give it, the budget could afford to take care of these problems . But then no one will ask them to save the day either.
3) The Commitmentphobic: “I’ll give what I can give,” is what they write on their commitment cards. They do not want to commit to any level of giving because they feel that they church then owns them. They do not want to write a number down because they like the ‘freedom’ they have to give or not give. By ‘freedom’ I mean, they desire to keep the power and control. This giver is similar to the Superhero but the only difference is, when asked, they may or may not give. Their motives are hidden and their giving behavior a little more erratic.
4) The Tithers: This is the rarest giver of all. These are the people who are actually following the minimal goal that the Bible sets for us. They take giving seriously and understand that when one gives they are honoring God. This rare bird also provides hope to preachers because they are proof that at least someone is paying attention to their well-crafted sermons during stewardship season.
These are four trends I am seeing in my life in the ministry, although I am sure there are some people who fall in between or that don’t fit these molds at all. When it comes to money and church members it is interesting to watch and understand where they are coming from and why they do what they do.