We’re Made to Be Generous

by | August 8, 2017

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 effective approach to generosity in your church.

The calendar screams the middle of August and around the country pastors and finance committees are scrambling to put together a fall financial or stewardship campaign. After all:

  • we are behind budget
  • the summer slump hit us hard
  • unless people step up, programs and staff will be cut

For some churches, the first course of action is to have the chair of finance stand before the congregation loaded with pie charts and spread sheets to grimly inform the congregation of the impending financial crisis. Maybe, seven-year-old Amanda is paraded upfront and asked the question, “Do we really want to cut our director of children’s ministry?” And of course, the people in the pews begin to tune out and think, “Here we go again.”

There is a better way…I promise!


What if stewardship and giving had less to do with budgets, buildings, dollars and cents?

What if stewardship and giving were a way to help people live life to the fullest?

What if stewardship was about learning to embrace ourselves as children of God created in the very image of God?

In my book Generosity Rising, I re-write the opening to the Declaration of Independence as:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people are created in the image of a loving, giving, and generous God.  We believe real life, true liberty and eternal joy are only realized when we live lives with abundant generosity and sacrificial love. 


Generosity begins with God.

I’ve seen many finance chairs and pastors shake their head at this, suggesting that what is theologically true and what is practically true are somehow not related.

They may say, “But we have to talk budget, we have to let people know how far behind we are or they won’t give.”  To this sentiment, I ask… how has that been working for you?

The most important stewardship verse in the Bible has nothing to do with budgets, building, dollars and cents. The most important stewardship verse is this:

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16 (NRSV)

God loves…God gives…And the world is forever changed!


We are created to love and to give.

We are created in the image of God.  We are created to love and to give. When we love and when we give, we become the people God created us to be. We are forever changed and the world is forever changed.  Now that will preach!

Yes, it’s the middle of August.  Yes, you might be behind in giving.  Take a deep breath, you’ve been here before.  Instead of talking budgets, buildings, dollars, and cents, take a chance and offer people the opportunity to become the loving, generous people God created them to be. And maybe, just maybe, your people, your church and the world will be forever changed; and who knows, you might even make budget.


For God so loved the world He gave…


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Everything you need to inspire generosity.


4 Disturbing Trends Behind the National Decline in Church Giving

Church Giving Realities

Charitable giving has consistently risen from less than $150 billion to more than $400 billion in the US over the last 40 years. Yet, last year individual giving fell by 3.4%, charitable giving fell by 1.7% (inflation adjusted), and sadly, inflation adjusted giving to churches fell almost 4%.


What do these giving realities mean for churches?

If this trend continues for just five years, churches in the United States will have 20% less ministry funding.


What should church leaders do next?

In this video, Joe Park explains the trends behind this decline in church giving. He also offers some very practical advice to church leaders to address these giving realities. Some of what Joe discusses is likely brand-new territory for many church leaders. Churches who have made these practices part of their funding model are enjoying increased ministry funding.



If you want to watch the rest of the Giving Intelligence series and access a variety of practical tools to help you cultivate a culture of generosity in your church, visit our Giving365 resource center.


Click here to request a free 20 minute consultation by a Horizons Ministry Strategist about how your church can increase ministry funding and improve discipleship through a process we call Next Level Generosity.

How to Talk About Money and Ministry in Church

Talking about Money and Ministry

Giving to religion fell 3.7% (inflation adjusted) in 2018* as people continue the trend of shifting giving away from the church to other non-profit organizations.  How we talk about money and ministry in the church is one of the reasons.


It’s Easier than You Think

Changing the conversation about money is easier than you might think.  You can begin with one simple vocabulary change. When you make this change, you’ll watch how quickly awkward money conversations can become opportunities to celebrate ministry impact and life change.

Listen as Joe Park, Managing Partner of Horizons Stewardship, explains how this simple change can resolve the tension you might be experiencing as you talk about ministry and money in your church.



If you want to watch the rest of the series and access a variety of practical tools and ideas to help you cultivate a culture of generosity in your church, visit our Giving365 resource center.

*Data provided by the 2019 GivingUSA report.

Why Shifting Your Fiscal Year is a Next Level Generosity Best Practice

Shifting Your Fiscal Year

By shifting their fiscal year away from the traditional calendar, an estimated 40% of vital churches have become better equipped to manage ministry funding. In most churches, up to a third of yearly income is received in December.  In the next offering from Horizons’ Giving Intelligence Series, Managing Partner, Joe Park describes why moving to a non-traditional fiscal calendar should be one of your church’s best practices.



To find out more about Joe Park, click here.


Horizons’ Next Level Generosity (NLG) is a framework that enables church leaders to align people and resources to do more ministry. We’re not talking about a capital campaign, but a shift in culture that multiplies a church’s capacity to change lives and make a lasting impact on its community.  Churches that use NLG are reporting double-digit increases in year-over-year giving. To arrange a free 20-minute consultation to explore if NLG is right for you church visit nextlevelgenerosity.com or contact us at info@horizons.net


Did you miss the first installments in Horizons’ Giving Intelligence Series? Find them in our free Giving365 vault by clicking on the Giving365 logo below.

Giving365 - Blog - Horizons - church stewardship resource




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