Last year Chris Willard of Leadership Network www.leadnet.org came to the GENERIS associate’s meetings in Atlanta to talk about trends in generosity he had seen since the market went south in August of 2008. Chris leads the Generous Churches Leadership Community http://bit.ly/aAdrFg for Leadership Network. The Generous Churches Leadership Community combines leadership teams from innovative local churches intent on creating cultures of generosity and stewardship. These churches share similar bold goals for growing their ministries over a two-year period.
I came across the notes I took from Chris’ presentation and read them to see if his points still apply to the generosity culture of churches in the summer of 2010. Not only do they apply currently, I feel they have always applied and will continue to apply for the unforseeable future. Chris discussed 11 points during his presentation. Here are the first 4 with some of the notes I made. I would love to hear your feedback.
- Cutlure is key. Generosity runs through the entire church. The people who attend the church take on the attitudes, beliefs, and culture of the church itself. If the church is generous, its’ people will be generous.
- Speed of the leader – speed of the team. People who are being led will not outrun the leader. If the senior leader is generous and is willing to talk about his/her path to generosity the people in the congregation are more likely to take on the same characteristics. Many pastors will give the obligatory “Sermon on the Amount” in the fall of each year; that is the amount of money we need. I heard Andy Stanley, Lead Pastor of Northpoint Church, say that he tries to communicate as often as he can “Giving is not about what we want from you but we want for you.” What is the preaching strategy for generosity in your church?
- Good strategy is better than good intentions. Most churches do not have an intentional generosity strategy. We mean well, but often times do not follow through unless the plan is written down. How do you respond to first time givers, second time givers or gifts over a certain amount? All of these represent something significant in the giver’s spiritual walk and relationship with your church. Do you have an intentional strategy for these and other key indicators for giving?
- You have to ask if you can. We are not all blessed equally with financial means. We do not all have the same spiritual gifts. Some in your church have the gift of not only making money, but also giving it away. Do you have a major gift strategy for your church? Ask your major givers “What are you passionate about right now?” Allow your major givers to be a part of the process. Home Depot’s slogan is “You can do it – We can help.” The unspoken slogan of many churches regarding vision and ministry is “We can do it – You can help.” Invite your major givers into the decision making process.
What are your thoughts on these comments and suggestions? I’d love to hear from you.