Reasons Christians Don’t Give

How can our church encourage its members to be better and more generous stewards of God's money? I've heard that Christians today are giving less than at any time in recent history. Why is this the case, and what can be done about it?

There are several reasons why so many believers are doing such a poor job of supporting the Lord’s work in the world with their financial and material assets. In most cases they’re probably being held back by a complex combination of these factors. It would be fair to say that, at its heart, this is almost always a spiritual issue. Enthusiastic participation in kingdom outreach requires vision, and “where there is no vision the people perish.” Then there are a host of financial problems, such as carrying too much personal debt, that can further limit a person’s ability to give. Even if an individual is spiritually mature and doesn’t have unresolved fiscal difficulties, lack of knowledge and planning can forestall his or her desire to contribute before it even has a chance to get off the ground.

If your church wants to counteract this trend, it might be a good idea to jump-start the process with a series of incisive sermons on the subject. Encourage your pastor to educate himself more thoroughly on what God’s Word has to say about the joy of giving, and urge him to pass along his findings to the rest of the congregation. It is to each person’s eternal benefit to give generously while he or she has the chance here on earth. Scripture is very clear that there are eternal rewards associated with giving. Jesus talked about it in the Parable of the Talents. Paul wrote about it in 2 Corinthians 8 and 9. In Philippians 4:17 the apostle explained his reason for urging believers to give without reservation: “Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account.” Only when pastors have fully grasped this point will they be able to inspire God’s people to step out and discover the joy and freedom of a truly generous lifestyle.

Once the folks in the congregation have got hold of this vision, they’ll need some instruction in the practical aspects of active giving. We hear a great deal in the Christian community about the importance of financial planning – savings, investments, retirement accounts, wills, estates, etc. – but not so much about planned giving. Unfortunately, the plain fact of the matter is that most people won’t give unless they intentionally set out to do so.

Just as having a financial plan can help us free up more money for giving, so having a lifestyle strategy can help make generosity a reality in our lives. In his book Generous Living: Finding Contentment through Giving (a resource that can be ordered through Focus on the Family’s
Online Store), author Ron Blue presents five action steps to help believers identify and take advantage of the opportunities God sets before them. We’d encourage you and your pastor to introduce the members of the congregation to these principles and concepts, perhaps by teaching a weeknight course on the subject:

Examine your priorities

Do they reflect what God says has eternal value? Remember the high value He puts on people: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3). As you consider what matters most to God, be sure to put those things (or people) at the top of your list.

Inventory your assets

List all your resources: your time, your talents, and your possessions. All of us have different gifts or abilities, and we’re supposed to share them with others. Just as financial resources must be managed carefully, so the assets of time and talents must be stewarded effectively if they are to be employed with maximum effect.

Ask the right questions

If you are asked to give your time, skills or possessions to a cause, ask the right questions before responding. Instead of wondering, “Is it convenient for me?” or “What do I get out of it?” consider whether or not God would want you to use your resources – His resources – in this way.

Eliminate expectations

When you give, do it without expecting anything in return. Don’t be like the Pharisees, who gave so that they could “walk around in flowing robes and be greeted in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets” (Mark 12:38-39). Sacrificial giving costs the giver something, and he or she may not be rewarded immediately for his or her generosity.

Give your schedule to God

Give your appointments and plans to God first thing each day. Ask Him to show you how He wants you to use your time, talents, and resources, and give Him permission to interrupt your agenda.


Christians need to know that they can enrich their lives by developing a lifestyle of generosity. It won’t happen overnight, but the more they give, the better they will feel – and the more joyful and fulfilled they are, the more they will want to give. If you could use further information and guidance, please don’t hesitate to give our Gift and Estate Planning staff a call. They would be happy to listen to your concerns and assist you with some practical suggestions. You can contact them Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Mountain time at (800) 782-8227.


Complete Guide to Faith-Based Family Finances

The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

The New Master Your Money: A Step-by-Step Plan for Gaining and Enjoying Financial Freedom

How to Manage Your Money: An In-Depth Bible Study on Personal Finances

The Treasure Principle


Crown Financial Ministries

Dave Ramsey

Debt-Proof Living

Kingdom Advisors


Money and Finances

God’s Big Idea About Finances

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