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Money talks: Why it’s important to talk about giving with others

Photo of Annika Greco Thompson Annika Greco Thompson
6 min

Since joining Stewardship, I’ve been having lots of conversations with generous Christians about their giving, and so have my colleagues

We ask what motivates them, what they’re giving to, what’s important to them. I leave these conversations feeling so inspired, and grateful that God has enabled this gift of grace in their lives (2 Corinthians 8:7).

But I also leave many of these conversations feeling puzzled because there is often an assumption that one’s giving should be a private matter not to be talked about.  

What does the Bible say?

Boasting about our giving is clearly not good practice – we know this. But to talk about giving? That’s absolutely biblical! Let’s look at a few examples from the Bible:

Zaccheus was a very rich man, largely through dishonest means. During his encounter with Jesus (Luke 19: 1-10), he was vocal about how he would rectify his greed. Just imagine how encouraged others in the room must have been at hearing Zaccheus speak openly about giving his wealth away! If he’d taken Jesus aside to talk it through privately, the impact would not have been the same. 

The early church believers pooled together their resources, sold private property and gifted the proceeds, and took up offerings to support ministry needs, and nowhere in these stories is there a sense of prescribing privacy or individuality around these acts of generosity (e.g. Acts 2:42-47). Giving was done publicly and in community.

It’s possible that some people felt shame for not giving as much as the next person, but Paul clearly admonished the churches to give whatever God had graced them to give, not out of obligation or a sense of competition (2 Corinthians 9:5).

I’ll often hear Matthew 6:3 quoted, where Jesus says, “But when you give to the poor, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret,” as a reason for why to talk about giving should be avoided. But I don’t believe Jesus was promoting privacy and individuality around giving so much as He was challenging our motives.

If we look at the verses directly before and after, the command is not to be performative in our righteousness in order to garner admiration or a sense of power. We are similarly commanded not to be hypocritical in our prayer life. In fact, verse 6 mimics verse 3 in that Jesus says to pray in a private room – essentially, ‘in secret’. But do we really believe prayer is solely a private thing? Don’t we pray with our families and in our churches and small groups? Why do we apply privacy to one thing and not the other?

Culture vs Christian discipleship

As an American, I’m comfortable to talk about money and giving in a church context, but I’ve noticed that my own comfort level is not shared by most British Christians with whom I interact. Naturally we can point to a difference in culture, but there also seems to be a difference in discipleship. While money and giving are a regular part of church teaching in the States, not so here in Britain.

One of the key findings in our recent Generosity Report 2024 shows that engaged faith leads to engaged giving. In other words, if Christians are active members of a church community, read their bibles regularly and receive good teaching on generosity and giving, they are more likely to give. 

Many church traditions hold to a principle of giving called the tithe  – 10% of one’s income – but our report shows surprising statistics that Christians in the UK give only 3.2% of their post-tax income across all causes, including their churches. It is worth noting that ‘Practising Christian’, those who attend church and regularly read their Bibles do give more, around 6.8% of their income, but this is still less than the 10% level of giving. This might be down to the fact that only a third of interviewees’ understanding of tithing was that it was 10% after tax. Either way we can suggest that a lack of teaching in UK churches could be a contributing factor to this gap.

circles and stats


Why it's important to talk about giving

Another key finding from the research is that those who discuss their giving tend to give more themselves. In other words, talking about our giving is beneficial! When we talk to each other about our giving – whether it’s about what causes we’re giving to, or how God is providing the resources for us to be generous, or what we’re reading about in Scripture or hearing on a Sunday – we encourage those around us to do the same!

Knowing that my peers are giving sacrificially (and I don’t need to know how much) activates my own faith. I might find great encouragement in knowing how God provided for this person or that project. I might be driven to seek God’s will for the resources he’s given me. I might even feel emboldened to share a need I have but was ashamed to mention.

An unbelieving world has no choice but to pay attention to a Church that is vital, generous, and walking in the power and authority God has given us. Let’s not allow our cultural reticence to talk about money and giving to adversely affect our Christian discipleship and public witness. The Word of God is counter-cultural, and so should our own walk be. 

We want to help you!

At Stewardship, our mission is to help Christians give generously for the glory of God. We know it’s not easy in a world that puts so much demand on your money and attention, and we’d love to put some resources into your hands to help you come to a sense of purpose and peace in your finances:

  • If you’re a church leader struggling to know how to teach on this topic, might we run a Journey of Generosity retreat for you and your team?
  • If you’re a young adult who’s just starting out, and you’re looking for ways to build biblical habits into your lifestyle, why not open a Giving Account? Before you do, have a read through our Guide to Giving for 18-30s!
  • If you’ve been walking with the Lord for a while and desire to deepen the connection between your faith and your finances, why not take some time to look through this Giving Reflections booklet?
  • If you’ve been financially blessed and wish to invest it back into the Kingdom, consider opening a Donor Advised Fund.

Further reading:

Share the report with people in your church and encourage your church leader to read and lean into the recommendations and the resources.

More on the Generosity Report

If you're interested in learning more, dive into the full report to explore the rich data and inspiring stories of generosity within the Christian community.


Generous Newsletter

Monthly emails for supporters. Inspiration, practical tools and guidance to support the causes you love in more meaningful ways. 

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Written by

Annika Greco Thompson

Annika is a Swedish-Italian-American with a diverse vocational and geographical background. Having married a Brit, she’s now settled in Liverpool and joined Stewardship’s Philanthropy Services Team in 2023.

Annika is passionate about seeing the Kingdom of God transform all areas of society and equipping the Church to live out its calling as God’s agents of reconciliation. She loves to live generously and expansively through hospitality, travel and strategic giving.