You’d think by now, it would’ve gotten easier.

I’ve been going to church for my entire life. I’ve been giving to the church for most of my adult life. For goodness sakes, I’ve been working in church generosity for three years now. And I still don’t know how to talk about money. Because, let’s face it, people get weird when it comes to their wallets.

Because of this, many pastors and churches simply don’t talk about it. Not surprisingly, all of this not talking about money hasn’t made things any easier. It also hasn’t helped churchgoers think rightly about the role of generosity in the Christian life, or in any aspect of our lives!

Materialism and greed are two of the great sins of our time, and part of the blame for that MUST fall on the Church. We’ve abdicated our leadership on the subject and have allowed the conversation to be framed instead by celebrities and CEOs.

I would love to see 2016 be the year when churches stop being so awkward about money – or avoiding it altogether! – and begin reshaping the national conversation around generosity. Below are three ways you can dial back the discomfort at your church.

1) Make it Personal

In the average church, 45% of attendees give less than $200 per year. And 18% of the attendees fund 80% of the budget. We need to flip that script! One way to do this is by sharing stories of transformational generosity. This helps make it personal. Is there a person in your community who’s life was impacted by your congregation’s generosity?

Share the news! And then connect that news with individuals in your congregation. Your church doesn’t have a vague need for more money. What you need is or John, Mary, Chuck, Nancy, and everyone else to participate in the work God is doing in and through your congregation. Remember, your members aren’t financiers of you’re your ministry, they’re partners in your ministry.

2) Make it Essential

Too often in our churches we view giving as a campaign, or a season, or maybe even as a “necessary evil.” We fall into the trap of thinking that the day will come when we can finally stop asking for money and start doing some real ministry. But this is not the Biblical model. We don’t raise money to do ministry. Money is ministry! There’s a reason churches depend on the charity of others to operate. It’s because generosity is an essential component of The Church’s mission to make disciples. Your leadership team needs to believe this and then model this for your congregation.

3) Make it Missional

I once heard someone say, “if your church isn’t strapped for cash, it’s because your vision is too small.” I love that perspective. Our churches should always have more things we want to do, if only the resources were there. Think of the missionaries we could send out! Think of the lives we could change! Think of the people who could experience the love and presence of Jesus Christ anew if only we had the resources. Too often we compartmentalize missions, and outreach, and stewardship. Don’t talk about money and then talk about missions. Show your congregation how they’re one and the same.

[Proper credit where credit is due: I owe a debt a gratitude to the team at Generis, and specifically Julie Bullock, for shaping much of this article. If you want your church to think and communicate rightly about generosity, Generis is a great place to start.]