How do I lead the process of heart transformation necessary to grow generous givers who are rich toward God?
Talking about giving in church is undoubtedly one of the senior leader’s least favorite activities.
When you want to talk about developing generous givers, all your congregation sees is dollar signs.
You are frustrated because the giving pattern of your congregation seems more like tipping than tithing.
You want to help your congregation grow into a lifestyle of generous giving rather than making occasional commitments.
It’s time for a shift in focus…
THE QUICK SUMMARY – A Revolution in Generosity, Wes Willmer, Editor
“Give over $100 today and get this personalized state-of-the-art fountain pen free!” “Become a gold sponsor and your name will be featured on our exclusive Wall of Fame!” “Send in your donation by December 31st and enjoy the benefits of giving on your next tax return!” Who hasn’t heard fundraising gimmicks like these? Or, who hasn’t used these gimmicks on others?
As Wes Willmer writes, generosity is the natural outcome of God’s transforming work in individuals when they are conformed to the image of Christ. Fundraising and giving are not simply drops in the bucket. Capital campaigns and raising funds go deeper than the money. They are spiritual activities in becoming more like Christ.
A Revolution in Generosity is a work by some of the best scholars and practitioners on the subject of funding Christian organizations. As Willmer writes, “The foundation for realizing a revolution in generosity is understanding the biblical view of possessions, generosity, and asking for resources.” With over twenty expert contributors, this book is a must-read for organizations striving to rid themselves of secular, asking practices and gain an eternal approach.
A SIMPLE SOLUTION
Successful revolutions require a plan. Successful revolutions in generosity require a plan that is both strategic and spiritual, delivering a passionate message to both heart and mind.
It is all too easy to get lost in the nuts and bolts of generosity – the “transactions” between giver and the church. Foundational to the idea of a revolution in generosity is the “transformation” needed in the giver’s life and actions.
Rather than merely advancing the cause of your organization, your ultimate goal must be to challenge people to conform to the image of Christ, who is generous.
To change the way your constituents live as well as give, you must develop a spiritual and strategic communications plan for your ministry. As a framework for your plan, there are six basic components:
Who – The communicator of the message. Change within an organization starts with the leader. When you grasp head knowledge about stewardship and apply biblical principles in your life, your personal character grows and your actions and words send a message about stewardship.
What – The content of the message. The topic of possessions and the Christian’s role as steward of them is a central theme in Scripture. God has much to say regarding our stuff. Because of this, we have plenty of material from which to craft our biblical stewardship message.
Where – The target audiences of the message. You must understand your audiences in order to deliver appropriate messages. Each ministry should prioritize its communication to deliver to three main sets of constituents: internal publics, religiously oriented publics, and external publics.
Why – Four objectives. To facilitate the growth of generous givers is to exhort constituents to be conformed to the image of Christ and thereby participate with God in His work. For this reason, your spiritual and strategic communication should seek to accommodate the objectives of intercession, involvement, instruction, and investment.
When – Consistently communicating the message. In order for our constituents to be transformed by the biblical stewardship message, your organization should consistently and regularly share spiritual principles that instruct them to be conformed to the image of Christ.
How – The channels of communication. There are four general channels of communication:
Electronic media such as e-communications, social media, and websites sharing specific opportunities for participation
Printed materials such as articles and magazines
Direct main containing communication without manipulation
Verbal communication such as meetings, events, and programs which give clear and direct presentation of giving opportunities.
– Gary G. Hoag, contributor, Revolution in Generosity
A NEXT STEP
The six components listed above can serve as a practical manual for establishing a program that communicates stewardship principles and ignites a revolution in generosity in your church.
Prior to your next leadership team meeting, duplicate and distribute the six components listed above. Ask your team to study the components and be prepared to discuss them.
At the team meeting, ask team members to rank each of the six components with one being most important and six being least important. Add up all the scores to come up with a group ranking of most to least important.
For the most important component, discuss actions, timelines, and goals for that component. Using the 100-80 Rule (where 100 percent of the group feels 80 percent good), determine next steps by ranking the actions. One month after launching the first component, take 30 minutes in a team meeting to evaluate effectiveness, and make adjustments as necessary.
Two months after launching the first component, launch the second one following the process outlined above. Repeat every two months with succeeding components.
After one year, evaluate all the components in place. Continue to refine and adjust them, making them a regular part of your systems and processes.
Self-seeking ownership and hoarding are the natural inclinations of mankind, but God calls his children to a higher, simpler standard: Be rich toward God. You can lead your church through concrete and practical ways to a God-honoring approach of providing resources for your ministry.
Taken from SUMS Remix 17-3, published June 2015.
Part of a weekly series on 27gen, entitled Wednesday Weekly Reader
Regular daily reading of books is an important part of my life. It even extends to my vocation, where as Vision Room Curator for Auxano I am responsible for publishing SUMS Remix, a biweekly book “summary” for church leaders. I’m going to peruse back issues of both SUMS and SUMS Remix and publish excerpts each Wednesday.
You can find out more information about SUMS Remix here.