Ask: Confidently, Clearly but not Coercively

Written by Rod Irvine in category 
June 5, 2018

In my book Giving Generously: Resourcing Local Church Ministry I stress the importance of asking for resources. This is in contrast to fretting, wishing, hoping, complaining or dithering. I know history records certain great believers who simply waited on God for their ministry needs.  I, for one, do not wish in any way to decry their efforts. However, when I look at the bible I see a number of examples where some the greatest leaders of the scripture, when faced with the necessity of funding a godly cause, asked God’s people clearly and confidently but not coercively to give.

Consider Moses who was charged by the Lord with building the tabernacle during the wilderness wanderings.

From what you have, take an offering for the Lord. Everyone who is willing is to bring to the Lord an offering of gold, silver and bronze; (Ex 35:5)

There are more ways to give mentioned in subsequent verses. While this is a command of the Lord, Moses was not coercive. Note the words, everyone who is willing.

People were also asked to give their time and talents.

All who are skilled among you are to come and make everything the Lord has commanded:   (Ex 35:10.)

The people responded with such enthusiasm that Moses had to tell people to stop giving (Ex 36:6). The appeal was oversubscribed!! Now that is a happy thought and a prayer point for church leaders with a project.

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When King David needed to raise money for the building of the temple he first led the appeal by personal example and asked people to follow his lead with these words:

Now who is willing to consecrate himself today to the Lord. (1 Chr 29:5)

Again there was a great response, great rejoicing and they all partied hard (in a godly way).

When the apostle Paul wanted to raise money for the collection to relieve the distress of the believers in Jerusalem he held up the example of the generosity of the poverty stricken Macedonians and said,

See that that also excel in this grace of giving’. (2 Cor 8:7)

And then after speaking of the lavish grace of the birth, life, ministry and death of the Lord Jesus that has brought such blessing, Paul urged believers to finish the work they had started. However the apostle wrote, ‘I am not commanding you’. He wanted them to give freely and voluntarily because they loved the Lord and loved the Lord’s people.

In each case above the appeal was clear, it was confident but it was not coercive.

There is something else in common in each case. The leader, whether Moses, David or Paul made the request. In churches today, this is a leadership function that should not be farmed off to the church treasurer. Treasurers are important and do a wonderful, often unheralded ministry. See you need a good treasurer https://givinggenerously.com/need-good-treasurer/ . Also, there may be a very good reason for the treasurer to explain the financial facts, but pastors should not pass the buck in this task, which is one only they should do.

So make sure your cause advances the gospel. Make sure your financial facts are accurate. Then stand before your congregation, point out how God will be honoured and people blessed and clearly and confidently ask for support.