How Campus Pastors Can Grow a Culture of Generosity

By Chris Willard with Warren Bird

Growing your church and your people in generosity is important to you—and us. That’s why Leadership Network has developed HUB:Generosity for larger churches who want to accelerate generosity and stewardship. For more information, go to leadnet.org/generosity-hub.

Campus pastors at multisite churches have plenty of plates to keep spinning.

On top of what it takes to start and grow a thriving campus, there’s one big responsibility that might get overlooked in the middle of it all: Developing a heart and culture of generosity within the campus site.

My friend and pastor Mike Schirle, who serves as the East Campus Pastor for Discovery Church in Orlando and oversees the stewardship ministry at all of Discovery’s other campuses, offers helpful insight for campus pastors about their unique role in cultivating a culture of generosity and stewardship in a multisite campus congregation.

Recognize the role of the campus pastor

Developing a culture of generosity is not a duty you abdicate to the lead pastor or teaching pastor, according to Mike. “My responsibility is to be the spiritual leader of our campus,” Mike says. “So I have to own my role in generosity.”

I love that perspective, because above all else, campus pastors are spiritual leaders and generosity is a spiritual issue. “How much did Jesus talk about the heart and its relationship to money?” Mike asks. “There is a direct connection. It’s a spiritual issue, and we have to take on that responsibility.”

Understand the value of the “offering moment”

At most multisite churches, each campus owns leadership of the offering time. It’s prime time, according to Mike, for campus pastors to cast vision and drive generosity.

“We have to put a framework around it and think ahead,” Mike says. “Am I going to give an invitation or a challenge? What’s one thing I can do to connect them to transformation? Is it a story? A Scripture? A stat?”

“Then how are you going to move them to that moment when they give to your church, and they realize they’re having a part in transformation?”

The offering is also good for reminding attenders of multiple ways to give (offering, online, etc.), especially as a way to invite new givers to participate.

Giving data from your campus is important

As a pastor, you want to know how people are doing in all spiritual areas. We also need to know how they’re doing in this area of giving as part of their spiritual growth and profile.

“I’m interested in who’s jumping on board, who’s giving for the first time,” Mike says. “I’m also interested if my key leaders are giving. That’s vital. Who’s not giving? Who’s no longer on board?”

If your main campus leadership has restrictions on giving you names with specific giving records, maybe you can still get general information about givers who have started or stopped, or a list of 10 key leaders with their combined average of giving.

Campus pastors need to be engaged in this, not because it means more money, but because this is ministry. This is shepherding.

“I want you to thrive spiritually,” Mike says. “I want you to live in that pipeline of blessing, and generosity is part of it.”

Develop a relationship with key givers

It’s vital that campus pastors are relationally connected to givers on their campus, and that those givers are relationally connected to others.

Mike says that means hearing about their passions and heart for the ministry, helping them join a group or on a serving team.  “Have you had an opportunity to envision them regarding the vision of the ministry? Because where there’s vision, there’s going to be resources,” Mike says.

Wise campus pastors do lots of listening to what people on his campus care about, so he can make connections and help them accomplish what God’s called them to.

“If they’re passionate about something, I want to fuel that flame,” Mike says. “I want to show them how life change is happening in their area of passion. If it’s children’s ministry and there is something eternal going on, I want to connect them to that and say, ‘Let me show you what God’s doing.’ “

Know the unique demographics of your campus

Our campuses in Orlando are totally different. Therefore, you are probably going to shepherd differently and speak differently into people from different campuses. Some campuses are in more affluent areas. Some are more ethnically diverse or economically challenged.

“We have to understand and embrace those differences, and speak into them as a shepherd,” Mike says. “Although we’re consistent with our mission and vision, our message is unique to the people God has placed at our campus.”

Andy Williams contributed to the writing of this article.

Generosity Strategies and Tactics is an ongoing series brought to you by Leadership Network thanks to a grant from the Lilly Endowment. To learn more go to www.leadnet.org.