Scott McKenzie

Recruit a Generosity Team: The Big Picture

You’ve taken a leap of faith and made the decision to be a revolutionary leader in generosity … not just a lone nut. Now it’s time to recruit a generosity team for your church. Who is going to help you lead your congregation? You have prayerfully looked at the... read more

If You Want To Be a Revolutionary, Recruit the Right Generosity Team

So, you want to lead a revolution. What does it require? If you don’t want to just be a lone nut, you’ve got to recruit the right generosity team. Remember the video from last week’s post, the shirtless dancing man and the words of Derek Siver? If not,... read more

How to Lead a Generosity Revolution

This is part 1 in a 4 part series. You read all the books on generosity and stewardship.  You attend all of the workshops on giving. But nothing changes: finance teams call for budget cuts and pleas for increased giving fall on deaf ears.  Like many churches, you have... read more

We’re Made to Be Generous

Ed note: This is the first post in a new series for the month of August entitled, “Why Generosity Matters to The Future of Your Church.” Over the next several months, we at Horizons are going to publish a weekly idea on how to develop a more grounded and... read more

Stewardship on Easter Sunday

Have you ever considered preaching a stewardship message on Easter? During Easter Sunday worship, I heard the scripture lesson from Luke 24:5 (NRSV) in a new way: The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look... read more

Kingdom of Faith

Ephesians 2:19 That’s plain enough, isn’t it? You’re no longer wandering exiles. This kingdom of faith is now your home country. You’re no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone. God... read more

Everything you need to inspire generosity.

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Are you Ready to Lead “A Generous Life”? (An Excerpt from A Generous Life)

Eyes Wide Open by Scott McKenzie

The Village Inn in Malawi, Africa, provided attacking wolf spiders, bats, bed bugs, holes in the ceilings, broken bathroom fixtures, and all the cold water you could use—free of charge. Most of us on the mission team “stayed alert with eyes wide open,” but certainly not in gratitude. Our eyes were wide open in worry and fear and discomfort.

Colossians 4:2-4 (The Message)

2-4  Pray diligently. Stay alert, with your eyes wide open in gratitude. Don’t forget to pray for us, that God will open doors for telling the mystery of Christ, even while I’m locked up in this jail. Pray that every time I open my mouth I’ll be able to make Christ plain as day to them.

As we gathered for breakfast, in the midst of complaining, we heard the quiet voice of Emily, a Malawian traveling with us, say, “I saw the face of God in my motel room.” Having never slept in a bed before, Emily’s eyes were “wide open in gratitude.”

In that moment, I knew. Here was a child of God, created in the image of God with a loving and generous spirit. With her “eyes wide open in gratitude,” Emily made “Christ plain as day” to us. Emily’s gratitude taught me a critical lesson. We are all born in the image of a loving and generous God. However, we choose daily whether to live out of this loving and generous spirit. Often, we choose to live out of a resentful and bitter spirit instead. And in making our choice, we either make Christ plain or not.

 

Reflection

Can you think of someone recently who made Christ plain to you with a loving and generous spirit? Can you think of a time when you had the opportunity to respond either with eyes wide open in gratitude or with eyes wide open in bitterness or fear? What did you choose? What were the results?

Copyright © 2019 Abingdon Press All rights reserved.

 

 

A Generous Life

A Generous Life reminds readers that we are all born in the image of a loving and generous God. The 28 devotions center around four weekly themes using generosity principles of gratitude, prayer, and faith. The journey that is “grounded in gratitude, revealed through prayer, and sealed by faith” will help people return to the generous life they were born to live. The daily readings are written by the Horizons Stewardship Team–a diverse group of pastors, church leaders, speakers, and authors. All profits from A Generous Life will be donated to UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) to support global missions.

A Generous Life will be available on June 4 through Amazon and Cokesbury.

 

 

To access Horizons’ free stewardship resources, click the Giving365 logo below.

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How to Make the Offering About Love (An Offering Talk for Sunday)

Instead of simply calling the ushers forward, help your congregation understand deeper meaning and connection inherent in the offering time of worship. Use what I call an Offering Talk to connect the offering to the giver’s relationship to God.

An Offering Talk can help your congregation understand the deep meaning and connection inherent in the offertory. It is an ideal stewardship teaching moment.

 

Here’s a sample Offering Talk to use Sunday.

Every night a father tucked his daughter into bed and they would repeat their familiar routine. The little girl would say, “I love you” and her dad would say, “I love you first.” One night, however, the little girl interjected a change. After hearing her father say, “I love you first,” she proclaimed, “I love you always!” And that became their new routine. The little girl has grown and is now a young wife and mother, but daughter and father continue to share these words. The exchange continues to affirm their love and connection. One will say, “I love you first” and then wait to hear the response, “I love you always.”

I love you first, and I love you always.

As wonderful a gift as the love between a parent and child, how much greater and more perfect is the love between God the Creator and those claimed as God’s children? This is the image of the God we have come to worship today. A God whose love reaches back into all our yesterdays and stretches into all our tomorrows. A God who always loves and forgives, who is always there to guide us when we are lost, to strengthen us when we are tired, and who overwhelms our hearts with love and grace. We come today to both acknowledge and praise the One who loves us first and who will love us always.

The motivation for giving is love.

Years ago a widow gave her last two coins as an offering to God. Many still wonder what motivated such a sacrificial gift. Surely she did not expect to have her name engraved on a wall or have the street in front of the Temple named in her honor. She clearly did not anticipate her gift would be lifted up as an example for others to follow centuries later. So what motivated her gift? Maybe she was motivated by a heart-felt desire to declare her life had been blessed by a God who had always met her needs. Blessed by a God who loved her first and always. The widow’s sacrificial offering was the very best way she knew to express that she loved God first. She would love God always.

Too often the offering is viewed as a time to pay the bills.

Today, many see the offering as a way for the church to collect money to pay bills and fund ministries. Yet at its very core, the offering is so much more. The offering is the time we are invited to proclaim, through faith, that we love God first. We love Him more than our jobs, our assets, our possessions, our hobbies, and even our families.

The offering is the time we proclaim our trust in God, above all else, as we move into an unknown future.

It is in giving we stay connected to what is really important in life and not allow materialism to define who we are; and it is in giving that we gain a deeper understanding of the depth of sacrificial love God has for us. It is in giving that we grow in our own personal journey as a follower of Jesus. It is in giving we say to God and to the world those simple, yet life-defining words: “I love you first, and I will love you always.”

 

An Offering Talk connects the act of giving to a higher purpose.

The offering is not a time to pay bills as mentioned above. The act of giving is at the core of what it means to be a follower of Christ. Consider using this talk in your next worship service, or write your own. In either case, help your congregation see the higher purpose of giving in worship.

 

 To learn more about Dustin Cooper, please click here.

 

 

Giving365 is a free subscription from Horizons Stewardship including blogs, ebooks, webinars and more! Subscribers receive bi-monthly blogs including information on best practices, the latest trends in giving, and helpful tools to use immediately to grow giving. In addition, Horizons’ team of Ministry Strategists will share their insights and expertise through a series of webinars. To access more of Horizons’ free stewardship resources, click the Giving365 logo below.
Giving365 - Blog - Horizons - church stewardship resource

The blog was updated from the original published 2/20/2018.

 

 

“Giving” Has to Be One of Your Church’s Key Words

“Giving” as one of the Key Words in Core Strategy

Len Wilson, Horizons’ Communications Strategist, discusses the importance of including “giving” in the key words that define your core strategy. This next video in Horizons’ Giving Intelligence Series will help your church grow in giving and move to the next level of generosity.

When “giving” is included in your core strategies, it conveys the importance of generosity as a part of the discipleship journey and what it means to be a devoted Christ follower.

 

 

If you missed other installments of the Giving Intelligence Series, then click the titles below. Also, sign up for Giving365 in order to access these and other helpful videos as well as more free stewardship resources including insightful eBooks!

Three Reasons Americans Choose to Give

The Power of Thanks: Four Practical Ministry Funding Impact Strategies

Who Should Have Access to the Giving Records

Three Pockets of Giving

Are You Ready for a Capital Campaign

 

To access more of Horizons’ free stewardship resources, click the Giving365 logo below.
Giving365 - Blog - Horizons - church stewardship resource

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