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Teaching Theology of Generosity - Funding Your Vision #3

A Converge church that I call my home church does a masterful job of teaching on the theology of generosity.  Every Sunday before the offering, a staff person does a 2-3 minute biblical teaching on generosity, and then finds a way to tie it into the vision of the church.  More often than not, the staff person studies the passage that the pastor is preaching on that day and looks for a biblical principle that applies to giving.  It can cover an array of themes: how God is generous to us, why generosity is critical to our spiritual growth, the benefits of being a generous person, why tithing is biblical, pointing out a principle in scripture that the church is striving towards and how their generosity makes that possible, and how a life was changed in that church and their gifts helped make that happen. The possibility of themes are endless. 

This week I was asked to give the generosity teaching.  As I mentioned in Part 1, I have been impressed with how so many people stepped up in generosity for hurricane victims.  It also struck me that the average local church is not seeing such outpouring of generosity.  Why is that?  The Lord brought me to Matthew 9: 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”  We learned in the book of John that Jesus does nothing apart from the Heavenly Father.  In other words, He sees what the Father sees.  We just see a crowd of people.  Jesus had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.  Seeing what the Father sees causes him towards action, engagement, sacrifice, generosity.  It is awesome that we stand up and become generous with those in need, because we know that could have been us.  Jesus is not asking us to give of ourselves blindly, it’s ok to give when you have been moved to great compassion for the hurting and helpless.   We are simply being challenged to see what the Father sees.  When we see the crowds that don’t know Jesus, that could have been us.  When we see children trying to navigate life without spiritual instruction, that could have been our children, and when so many adults live in a vacuum without biblical community, that could also be us.  Please don’t give blindly, see what the Father sees and know that your generosity not only helps you and your family, but the many families yet to come. 

Below is Part 3 an extensive series on funding a vision.  If this is your first time to this series, begin with Funding Your Vision Part 1

Two Generosity Principles:

  1. Teach Stewardship, Tie it Into The Vision.  Generosity is woven into the core of the Gospel, as Jesus was generous with giving his life, sacrificing his life and to become Christ-like. We have the opportunity to do the same.  That means everything you do in your church points back to generosity.  Every activity should point back to the mission and vision as to why your church exists.  Every moment is a teachable moment about the core values of the church and biblical principles found in the scriptures.  Your youth worker, your children’s worker, your greeters, your men’s ministry – every area of the church can point back the biblical principle of stewardship and generosity.  When coaching church leaders, I help them develop a habit of leading every leader to take every opportunity to turn every activity into an opportunity to teach generosity principles. 
  2. You Preach The Tithing Principle, now Live The Tithing Principle.  The Gospel is often counterintuitive.  You want your life, give it away.  You want to be first, step to the back of the line.  Tithing is no different, God will do more with your 90% (10% tithe) than he will do with your 110% (spend it all plus 10% on credit cards).  What dumbfounds me is that churches preach this, but don’t live with the same generosity principle themselves.  “I expect you parishioners to tithe but as a church, that does not apply to us.”  Seriously?  That’s shameful!  If you really believe in generosity, then I believe the church budget should reflect a minimum of 10% given away to church planting, local missions, international missions and/or citywide movements.  “Can I count the music concert we did that we opened up to the public?  After all, that was not cheap!”  NO, simply no.  I would define it this way: to give away to biblical causes that you yourself anticipate no tangible benefit from.  God may, and often will, choose to bless you, but you don’t give with the hopes it will increase your bottom line (I.e. – will bring us more church attenders)  It should be sacrificial and unselfish.  I think that kind of generosity God gets excited about.  

The next post on Funding Your Vision is be about knowing your audience, it really makes a big difference. 

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