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Making Change Part 1: Generosity Models for the Church

Making Change: Generosity Models for the Church

As we enter a new season in our churches, it always helps to stop and reflect on where and who we are. In the hustle of doing our day-to-day work in ministry and meeting the needs of our congregation, it can be too easy for pastors and leaders to lose sight of cultivating generous spirits – in ourselves and in our donors.

In this series, we’ll use Biblical examples of generosity models to refresh our strategies. But we’ll start with ourselves as church leaders and what we might need to do in the coming year to lead change and make a pathway to grow generous donors.

Before we get to that, a word about change leadership. Dr. John Kotter’s model is truly one of the most comprehensive and effective approaches for creating change in organizations. His international bestseller Leading Change is considered by many to be the foremost work in the field. 

He outlines a practical eight-step process for change management:

1. Establish a sense of urgency.

2. Create the guiding coalition.

3. Develop a vision and strategy.

4. Communicate the change vision.

5. Empower employees for broad-based action.

6. Generate short-term wins.

7. Consolidate gains, and produce more change.

8. Anchor new approaches in the culture.

Check it out. The e-book is free at his website. It will open your eyes to a “can do” mentality for creating change in your ministry or church. Even if you have a clear strategic plan with set goals, pausing to reflect and revisit both Biblical models and the best practices in leadership principles will fuel your work. 

Biblical Generosity Model #1: GENEROUS PEOPLE GIVE AS A BY-PRODUCT OF THEIR OWN PERSONAL TRANSFORMATION

The story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19 is the story of a transformed giver. I love this story: a tax collector forsaking the norm in order to give— moved by Jesus’s call to come back to God’s ways. This is the story of someone who morphs from “collector of money” to “giver of money.” 

In my own fundraising and ministry journey, perhaps the most deeply satisfying stories are those of people who have been radically transformed in their giving due to a spiritual transformation. I’ve seen this repeatedly with givers who, at some extraordinary moment in time, suddenly realize why they are here. Not simply to exploit their ability to accumulate wealth but to create a story much greater than themselves. This, in a way, is a picture of redemption. In other words, people rise above their personal limitations and see the supernatural potential of their own lives through their generous giving.

Nothing and no one has an opportunity to give donors that sense of transformation more than their own churches…but we so rarely see it. Pastors, look carefully at your communications calendar and how often you’re telling your givers the story of what they’re doing. What in your church would NOT have happened without donors last week, last month, last year? Who is your church connecting with, serving, partnering with? Would any of that happen without your offerings and tithes? 

For instance, some of your givers might have a passion for HVAC, facilities, and equipment. These donors, too, can have a transformational experience if you and your staff show them the story of their impact. As an example, what happens if you don’t have a website or a way for members to make prayer requests? Or what happens if your gutters or pipes aren’t maintained over time? Above all, look for creative ways to show your givers the difference they make in the life of your church, its ministries, and those you serve. 

Looking Forward

Pastors, as you continue through 2022, pause, pray and center yourself on where God is leading you to make a change in how you steward…and transform… your donors. Likewise, help them see how they are helping advance God’s kingdom in small ways each day through their generosity.

In the next blogs in this series, we’ll look at identifying where we need to change as well as other Biblical generosity models that can 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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