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 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…