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December 23, 2016

Redeeming the Money Talk

By Daniel Im

Q&A Webinar with Todd McMichen, Generosity Coach with Auxano

Q&A Webinars are a monthly segment where Plus Members have the opportunity to submit their questions to leading experts in the field of church planting, leadership, mission, multiplication, and generosity. For this month’s segment, Ed and I discuss money and generosity with Todd McMichen with Auxano. You can watch the full segment here.

Redeeming the Money Talk—with Todd McMichen

Periodically I ask those that work for me (and with me) for some feedback regarding how I’m doing as a leader. I know for some, that can be a scary and intimidating thing to do. Who likes being critiqued? If I’m honest, I don’t. However, over time I have found that asking for feedback and constructive criticism has made me a more effective leader. As a result of being more positive and proactive, I feel as though I have allowed God to redeem the area of constructive criticism in my life.

Recently, Ed and I conversed with Todd McMichen, Generosity Coach with Auxano, about money in the church and creating a culture of generosity. And I came away from that conversation with the thought that the 21st century North American church needs to redeem the area of “Money Talk.” In other words, the church and its leaders need not be passive about money talk, but be positive and proactive about it. 

As I’ve stated elsewhere, money talk in the church is a sensitive subject. Many squirm about the preacher or any leader getting up and talking about money. Or so we think! Sure, there will always be the proverbial one who doesn’t like it. But according to Todd, it may be that many leaders live under the cultural skepticism of the money scandals that reaped havoc in the church 20–30 years ago.

If you look at the greater culture today, people want to pay it forward, they want to be a giver—to be generous. For instance, Oprah has set a tone of giving by her Big Give show; Toms Shoes occupies space in the giving market as they advertise the one for one initiative; or I’m sure you can think of other companies and organizations that give a portion of their proceeds to charities and other non-profits. The reality is, you can’t go too far into society without someone or some organization engaged in the money talk.

Therefore, the church needs to rethink and allow God to redeem the money talk in the church, which in turn creates a culture of generosity. Todd provides at least three ways the church can do this.

Begin with principles of giving.

Assumption is one of the biggest dangers in leading people. Leaders assume their people, their followers, know the “why” behind the “what”. Many times leaders talk about money from a need, a crisis, or from silence rather than from the “why”. Yet, when the “what” takes precedence over the “why” it’s just a matter of time before mission turns to monotony and maintenance.

So rather than beginning with the question, “What are some best practices that churches can implement to create a culture of generosity?” Todd encourages churches to begin with the best principles of generosity. A culture cannot be sustained long-term if it is not built on a solid foundation.

Teach money as part of discipleship.

Money is entrenched in our daily life. There’s not a day that passes that we don’t spend money. Even if you stay home and don’t venture out of the house, you still spend money. Every minute that passes by money is being spent through either heating or cooling your home, flipping on or off a light switch, or running the water.

If spending money is such a natural part of our lives, shouldn’t it be talked about in the context of discipleship? If the overall goal of discipleship is Christlikeness—being conformed into the image of Jesus—and giving is a subheading under discipleship, then our goal as churches and leaders is to help lead our people to give more like Jesus.

To read the remainder of creating a culture of generosity and to listen to the entire Q&A Webinar with Todd McMichen, click here for the full video and post.

This video is part of Plus Membership, so to get full access to it, and much more, I encourage you to become a Plus Member. Click here to see all the benefits of becoming a Plus Member.


  • Many leaders may be living under the cultural skepticism of the money scandals that occurred in the church 20–30 years ago.
  • The greater culture today seems to indicate that people want to be givers—they want to pay things forward.
  • The church needs to rethink & allow God to redeem the money talk in the church, which can create a culture of generosity.
  • A culture cannot be sustained long-term if it is not built on a solid foundation.
  • If spending money is such a natural part of our lives, shouldn’t it be talked about in the context of discipleship?
  • Don’t divorce money talk from discipleship, but marry it to it.
  • The goal of money talks isn’t to be gimmicky, but truthful & transparent about how people’s giving fuels vision.


Daniel Im

Daniel Im (@danielsangi) is the Director of Church Multiplication for NewChurches.com at LifeWay Christian Resources. He is a Teaching Pastor at The Fellowship, a multisite church in Nashville. He is the author of No Silver Bullets: Five Small Shifts that will Transform Your Ministry, and co-author of Planting Missional Churches: Your Guide to Starting Churches that Multiply (2nd ed) with Ed Stetzer. He also co-hosts the New Churches Q&A Podcast, the 5 Leadership Questions Podcast, and a brand new podcast with his wife on marriage and parenting called the IMbetween Podcast. He has an M.A. in Global Leadership and has served and pastored in church plants and multisite churches ranging from 100 people to 50,000 people in Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal, Korea, Edmonton, and Nashville. Visit Danielim.com to learn more.


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