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Making Change Part 2: Generosity Models for the Church

Making Change: Generosity Models for the Church

In this blog series, we’re pausing to reflect on where and who we are in meeting the needs of our congregation. We’re examining how to lead change in this next season that can cultivate generous givers in our congregations.

Possibly you’re a leader who has become one of those unhappy, unfulfilled, toxic people. Maybe one of those people is on your church staff. Jacquelyn Smith at Forbes.com gives us some keys in her article “14 Signs It’s Time to Leave Your Job.” For our purposes, I’ll call these 14 warning “red flags” that it’s time to do an assessment of your spiritual health, your role and your church if you find yourself (or a staff member) in many of these:

1. You lack passion.

2. You’re miserable every morning.

3. Your company [organization/church] is sinking.

4. You dislike the people you work with and/or your boss.

5. You’re consistently stressed, negative, and/or unhappy at work.

6. Your work-related stress is affecting your physical health.

7. You don’t fit in with the corporate [church] culture and/or you don’t believe in the company [missional approach] anymore.

8. Your work performance is suffering.

9. You no longer have good work- life balance.

10. Your skills are not being tapped.

11. Your job duties have changed/increased, but the pay hasn’t.

12. Your ideas are not being heard.

13. You’re bored and stagnating at your job.

14. You are experiencing verbal abuse or sexual harassment or are aware of any type of other illegal behavior.

Our time serving in ministries is going to have rough patches. As we pray and seek God’s guidance in those times, we also do so knowing the solution is going to involve change – for the ministry or for us. And that’s not always a bad thing.  

Dealing with Change

Those who don’t adapt and change with emerging technology, ideation, and strategy will be left behind. Even a great organization like the Salvation Army didn’t stay stuck on the idea that the only way to donate is by dropping something in one of those red kettles in front of your favorite shopping haunt.

Change is inevitable but how do we approach it as pastors or church leaders? Do we too often dismiss new ideas because of the difficulty of change? Or do we embrace what change can bring through new opportunities? Do we allow that person who wants to change just for change’s sake to put the entire ministry at risk, possibly losing everything we’ve accomplished? These are the kinds of issues we wrestle with every day as ministry leaders in a changing church landscape.

One of the strategies for keeping ourselves and our members focused on what matters is getting our hands dirty. If you or your staff leadership have been “behind a desk” too long, it’s time to show up on the frontlines of the messiest part of your ministry. It might be the diaper station in the nursery, the service at the nursing home, the youth group pizza night. Where do you have the most difficulty recruiting volunteers?  Be intentional about serving in those roles at least once during the year. 

Besides keeping you connected to the foundations of your church’s impact, those volunteer opportunities are the best way to attract and grow generous donors, especially younger givers.

Biblical Generosity Model #2: GENEROUS PEOPLE GIVE MORE THAN JUST THEIR MONEY

In Luke 10:25– 37, Jesus tells the classic story of the Good Samaritan— one who gave time, resources, and skill to meet the needs of a man who had been left for dead at the side of the road. The Samaritan makes himself vulnerable and available— the very definition of hospitality. Generosity and hospitality are often closely linked.

In today’s culture, I see more and more that generous givers want to give beyond just their financial resources. This is especially true of younger givers. They want to get their feet on the ground with the causes they’re supporting.

Volunteering with an organization or ministry you’re passionate about is a great way to find a deeper connection to the cause. And sometimes— as in the story of the Good Samaritan— the opportunity is right there in the church. Volunteers just need a vision and an invitation for what  God will do both in them and through them.

If the church is going to attract and retain younger members and donors, it has to learn to give them opportunities to give back through experiences. Many do not simply want to write a check but want to be involved in whatever they are supporting. The church has to give younger generations the chance to be the hands and feet of Christ in a hands-on and literal way. 

In the next blogs in this series, we’ll look at other Biblical generosity models that can help inspire us and our givers.


Making Change: Generosity Models for the Church

Does your church’s donor engagement plan need a revamp?

These easy-to-implement strategies get their inspiration from the models of generosity we find in scripture. Inspire your staff and your church’s donors by taking a look at best practices in leadership alongside some of the Bible’s most poignant lessons about giving as you freshen your stewardship plans.

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Tim Smith has over 30 years of experience in Church, Non-Profit Administration, Management, and Fund Development.  Serving as an Executive Pastor and Chief Development Officer in growing Churches and Non-Profit Organizations has provided a wide range of expertise and resources. Tim serves as Founder and CEO for Non-Profit DNA, a boutique firm committed to helping nonprofits and churches build their capacity through fundraising, leadership, team building, staff recruiting, and coaching.

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