The Primary Indicator of Discipleship is Generosity

by | September 5, 2017

This month, the Horizons Blog will focus on “Generosity as Discipleship,” and highlight core philosophies and practices based on this principle.

Are you failing to grow disciples? You will fail if you do not include  generosity in your teaching.

If we, as the church, take seriously the call to grow as followers of Jesus, financial stewardship must be at the heart of our teaching. Our clergy and leaders must understand and practice extravagant generosity as a part of growing discipleship.

The Primary Indicator of Discipleship is Generosity

Jesus is clear that financial generosity is the primary indicator of the nature of a person’s discipleship.

Matthew 6:21 states “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

The Message translation of the Bible is even more direct: “It’s obvious isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.”

This seems almost shocking. It’s not prayer, or study or service, but generosity that is the primary indicator of our discipleship.

It’s simple – we cannot grow disciples if we fail to grow generosity in our teaching.

A Simple Strategy to Grow Disciples in Your Church

As a pastor, it took me more than a decade of ministry to realize that the congregation I was leading wasn’t going to truly grow in its discipleship until I did two important things:

1) I gave generously, and

2) I ensured that the key leadership positions in the church were filled with generous givers.

As church leaders, generosity as discipleship should be a part of our ongoing narrative.

Three Questions to Begin

To begin the conversation, pastors and church leaders should reflect on and discuss three questions:

1) “As pastors and church leaders, are we financially generous to the work of God through the church that we serve together?” This question can also be stated another way, “Do we, as pastors and church leaders, give at least ten percent of our finances as a true reflection of the faith that we proclaim?”

2) “Are we committed to grow in generosity, believing that, in doing so, we will grow as disciples and be better equipped to grow the discipleship ministries of the congregation?”

3) “How will we hold one another accountable for our commitment to live a life of generosity that honors the teachings of Jesus?”

A community of faith that is generous is one that is being led by spiritual leaders that model generosity.

Therefore, a generous community of faith will be a disciple-making, disciple-growing community. Jesus said, “It’s obvious isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.”

Where do you want to be?

Where will you end up being?

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