Developing Extravagant Givers in Your Church – Part 3 – How to Develop a Culture of Generosity

It has been exciting to hear feedback on how this series of Blog Posts on “Developing Extravagant Givers” is already helping many of you. Today’s topic has the ability to make a significant impact. Open your heart as you look at “How to Develop a Culture of Generosity” 

To begin, you must see that setting the stage for a successful stewardship system requires a culture of generosity in your church. Generosity is an often intangible force that trickles down from you to your people, and results in specific actions.

As your people see you being generous with resources to support them, make them more comfortable and give them the best opportunity to grow, they will begin to adopt that same spirit of generosity. Your people will act in the same vein and approach giving in the manner that the church demonstrates it.

How do we do this? By modeling the outward expression of a generous heart. And yes, we are called to give to our people – sacrificially, even. How will people ever see or understand God’s generosity? As the church, we simply need to model it.

God spares nothing for our sakes, as is evidenced by Jesus’ death on the cross (John 3:16; Phil. 2:8). And he also promises that he will provide for us abundantly (John 10:10). It’s surprising how many churches withhold good things from their people from a fear that they will run out of money!

I am often amazed by what churches attach a price tag to. I came across churches who would charge new believers for New Believer Bibles and churches who would charge $.50 for a cup of coffee before the service. What missed opportunities to till the soil of people’s hearts by ministering freely to them!

Approaching ministry with such a scarcity mentality robs the church of its chance to shine generosity. Instead, remember what Jesus teaches us in Luke 6:38, “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full – pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” As church leaders, let’s remember that this applies to the corporate ministry of the church.

The average unchurched Joe on the street sees the church as an institution that is always asking people to give. When Average Joe gets invited to your church, you have an opportunity to change that mentality. What if we could “wow” people with our unexpected generosity, all the while reflecting the depths of God’s generous heart?

What if your church could become known in your community as the church that gives rather than the church that takes? What a profound impact that would have on creating a culture of generosity within your church and a reputation of generosity beyond your doors.

Since our first days, we have made an intentional decision at The Journey to focus on exemplifying God’s provision through generosity. Living with an open hand has not always been easy; we’ve been stretched. But the rewards of generosity are well worth the effort and expense. We’ve grown, our people have grown, the church has grown, and the culture of generosity that has been established permeates every area of our ministry. Here are just a few examples of the ways we try to go over and above in modeling generosity:

- We give a free book to all of our first-time guests at the service

- We send a free Starbucks card to all of our first-time guests, through the mail

- We offer unlimited coffee and donuts at every service

- We send a free gift to everyone who gives for the first time

- We give a free book to everyone who signs up for a fall (campaign) growth group

- We give free movie tickets to people who bring first-time guests on special occasions

-  We give away free CDs that are relevant to the day’s teaching topic

- We put free resources and materials online

- We provide free breakfast and/or lunch for our Sunday volunteers

- We offer free seminary-level classes for all of our growth group leaders

- We put ads in widely-read newspapers

- We do frequent mailings to the community

- We reach out to hundreds of thousands of people annually through servant evangelism, which involves blanketing the community with free granola bars or bottles of water and postcard invitations to The Journey

Pastors often ask me, “How do you pay for all of that?” My answer is short and simple: The fruit is in the harvest. I can’t afford not to do it. If I refused to foster an atmosphere of generosity at The Journey, I would be cutting off God’s blessing and closing down people’s hearts. I would be lessening the likelihood that people would visit our church for the first time and then go on to become fully engaged followers of Christ.

I have a responsibility to give people the best possible opportunity to meet Jesus. Part of that process requires being generous with the resources God gives me to do his work. God is not a God of scarcity. If I am called to be more like his son and to be his representative on this earth, I certainly can’t be a leader of scarcity. Time and time again, God honors the generous seeds we scatter, and The Journey – not to mention the overall kingdom – reaps tremendous fruit.

I truly hope that this blog today has been helpful to expand your heart towards generosity and that it would open a great door of generosity in your church.

Keep your eye on this blog for a few more weeks for even more on proper biblical stewardship.

Also, if you are not yet signed up for my Stewardship Coaching Network, it only takes a few minutes. Click HERE to register. But you must hurry, this network will fill up.

Nelson

PS – Join other Pastors like yourself who are truly concerned with seeing their people discipled in the area of Stewardship by joining my upcoming 9-month Stewardship Coaching Network where I will walk you through the steps to systematically help your people advance in the area of giving.

Posted On: April 19, 2012
Posted as: Stewardship
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