Church leaders need to maintain integrity in the way they handle finances, the topic of the next post, but also need to encourage people to maintain integrity in giving. The Apostle Paul approached this topic with the Corinthian Church. In the first 15 verses of 2 Corinthians 8 we can glean a number of factors that go into giving with integrity. Church leaders should encourage people accordingly both by word, deed, and example.
What Does Integrity in Giving Look Like?
Let me encourage you to first read through 2 Corinthians 8 as this post will provide only the factors pulled from the verses, not the Scripture text itself.
1) Giving should be seen as an “act of grace” which leaves no room for boasting or hope of personal gain but rather seeks the good of others. (2 Cor. 8:1, 6-7)
Leaders, encourage the proper motivations.
2) Giving should not be limited by one’s circumstances. (2 Cor. 8:2-3)
Leaders, emphasize how everybody has a part even in the act of giving. The amount is not the issue but rather their participation.
3) Giving should be voluntary. (2 Cor.8:3)
Leaders, guard against coercing people into giving.
4) Giving should be viewed as a privilege, as a means of working in cooperation and fellowship with God. (2 Cor. 8:4)
Leaders, elevate giving to its proper level … a means of serving and honoring God, not just paying bills.
5) Giving should grow out of relationship, first to the Lord and then to others. (2 Cor. 8:5)
Leaders, put the emphasis where it should be so giving comes from the heart.
6) Giving sometimes needs to be encouraged through reminders. (2 Cor. 8:6)
Leaders, don’t obsess over people giving but also don’t take a hands-off approach.
7) Giving should be something we seek to grow in along with other aspects of life in Christ. (2 Cor. 8:7)
Leaders, help people understand that they should not compartmentalize their lives but rather that all should be about the Lord.
8) Giving can be an expression of our love. (2 Cor. 8:7-8, 24)
Leaders, keep bringing people back to our purpose to love God and others in all we do.
9) Giving should follow the example of Christ. (2 Cor. 8:9)
Leaders, use Jesus as the standard, not your own ideals. Point to Jesus’ example of serving and giving.
10) Giving to fulfill vows or promises is important not just so the church gets the money but because it is for the good of the individual to be a person of integrity. (2 Cor. 8:10-11)
Leaders, make sure your motivations are right when you encourage people to keep any pledges they might make.
11) Giving should be done according to one’s means. (2 Co. 8:11-15)
Leaders, be sensitive to the circumstances of the people and guard against a “one size fits all” approach to giving that makes people who give less feel less important.
When the above factors are encouraged, people will be giving with integrity. That is the kind of giving with which God is pleased. That is the kind of giving that demonstrates Christ-like qualities. That is the kind of giving that helps propel the Church forward.