Many people often balk at the mention of money in church. Which is interesting because it is one of the most discussed topics in the Bible. In fact, one study shows that there are over 2,300 Scriptures that talk about money. So why does the Bible mention finances, giving, and tithing so extensively?
Because generosity is from the heart of God. When we have the correct perspective in relation to money, it will no longer be a source of worry, envy, greed, or strife. The Bible says to “honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops” (Proverbs 3:9). And when we are being obedient and living out a generous spirit, we are becoming more like God.
Yet there are many people who call themselves Christian and even attend church, but they don’t give at all. Or if they do, it’s their pocket change every now and then. So how can pastors and leaders in the Church help develop not only people who give consistently but build legacy givers? Below we will talk about what legacy giving is, why it’s important, and how to develop committed donors who make an even greater impact for the Kingdom of God.
What is legacy giving?
Legacy givers are those who contribute a significant gift to a church, non-profit, or other organization – whether cash, property, vehicles, stocks, or life insurance. Legacy giving is also called planned giving, deferred giving, or estate giving. By donating items like these, a legacy can be left. Usually, because these are such momentous gifts, these are not distributed until after the giver passes away.
However, let’s look even beyond this to also include that level of giver working with their financial advisors to allocate large contributions through family trust, foundations, and DAFs (donor advised funds). Thus, planned giving, or legacy giving is the practice of designating a major gift to a charitable organization in life or as part of an Estate Plan.
Why is having legacy givers important for the church?
Legacy giving is important because of the financial impact it can have for churches. Because churches operate as non-profits, or 501(c)(3), they do not receive funds through profit, rather relying on the gifts and donations of their congregation. Since they cannot count on receiving major gifts at any specific time, receiving large legacy gifts can result in years of support for the church to continue expanding their reach and sharing the gospel. They could possibly support entire ministries, fund new campuses, or finance mission trips.
Committed givers can leave a powerful legacy that can have eternal impact. When a person really understands giving as an act of worship, obedience, and trust, and gives consistently, they can also impact others, including future generations to do the same. Their life of generosity will be a testimony to others.
How to develop legacy givers:
Most of the time, people won’t become a legacy giver unless they have first become a consistent giver. Those who regularly tithe are the ones whom you want to reach out to in order to cultivate committed legacy givers.
Start with the cheerful givers, because they are the ones who will be more willing to leave a legacy gift. And those who volunteer, attend events, invite others to church, and are generally involved may want to leave a legacy because of the impact the church has had on their lives.
You can develop legacy givers by sharing others’ giving stories—why they decided to give and what effect it has made in their lives. Often, when people start tithing and giving consistently, they end up being blessed, too. It is a blessing to be a blessing. Also mention how people in the congregation and community have been impacted by tithers. Talk about legacy giving from the pulpit or send an email to make the ask. Sometimes people don’t even know they have the opportunity to give in such a way until it is presented to them.
One report says that most people who make legacy gifts do so for one or more of these reasons:
- This is a cause that has been an important part of my life or a particular passion of mine. I want it to live on beyond my lifetime.
- This charity has helped me greatly in life. I have a desire to pay back.
- This charity or cause represents a person that was important to me. Help me remember a loved one.
If your church is committed to making a difference and expanding the Kingdom, people will be influenced greatly and desire to give back, so more of this work can be done. It can create a beneficial cycle of generosity and Kingdom ministry.
Developing legacy givers is important not only because their major gifts can provide considerable and lasting impact on the church and community, but it also encourages a generous heart, one that mimics the heart of the Father.
When people are positively affected by an organization, like a church, they’ll have more of a desire to continue to contribute to that institution because they know their gift is being used for good. If you want help developing legacy givers in your church, Kindrid and our Success Coaches are happy to help you get started.