“This is just a hugely distasteful example of the American money obsession gospel which us non-Americans find nauseating.”
I stared at my inbox and read the response twice. Then three times. Somewhere, in some other country, some nameless person with an @hotmail.com email address was very upset with me.
Earlier that morning I had emailed out a blog post about the importance of speed and simplicity when it comes to online giving. The few responses I’d received back had been largely positive. But then came this one.
I’ve been sharing content on the Internet long enough to know that negative feedback comes with the territory. I try not to take it personally. But, for some reason, this response really got to me.
I think part of the reason was its source. This email purportedly came from a fellow brother or sister in Christ. This is exactly the kind of person that Mogiv is working to empower and equip, and yet he/she found those efforts to be “hugely distasteful.”
Another reason for pause came from the accusation itself. We’re all familiar with the oft-cited excesses of prominent American pastors in recent decades. Indeed, it is those very excesses that Mogiv (and perhaps you as well) are working to reverse. We exist not only to help churches increase their monthly giving, but also to help re-frame the conversations churches have around generosity. Based on that feedback, not only had we fallen short in our efforts, we had become a living embodiment of that which we most despise!
Perhaps this is a reaction you are all too familiar with from your own experiences. As best I can tell, Christians have been talking about giving since the days of Cain and Abel, and oftentimes it doesn’t feel like we’ve gotten any better at it since then. Thankfully, most of our conversations around sacrificial generosity and “first fruits” don’t result in homicide anymore, but that doesn’t make them any more enjoyable. People squirm in the pews and avoid eye contact. Some see a Stewardship Sunday on the calendar and make plans to be out of town that weekend. Others, as every pastor knows, have simply walked out of church and not come back.
Given all of this, it is no surprise that conversations about money have been exiled to the fringes of our preaching calendars. Out there with pornography, homosexuality, gender roles, and other “divisive” topics. BUT…it doesn’t appear that all this “not talking about it” is making things any easier.
The fact that many thousands of believers and non-believers alike are still trotting out the same tired old accusation – “Churches only care about money” – is an indicator of how far our communication around generosity is still missing the mark.
That is the realization I came to after receiving the email response I highlighted above. And that is the reason we have created this eBook. The defensiveness and negativity that surround our conversations about money is an indicator not that we’re on the wrong path, but, rather, that our work is not nearly done!
The fact that it’s awkward. The fact that it makes people uncomfortable. The fact that I (and others) have communicated poorly around money in the past, is not a reason to stop talking about it. It’s a reason to push on! To pray, to preach, to learn, to seek the Lord’s wisdom, and to do it better the next time around. Why? Because generosity is too important a topic to fumble, or – worse – to avoid altogether.