Summer brings a slower pace. Personally I feel my pulse slow a bit and the activities of our house seem to go at a more leisurely pace. There is no shortage of activities for my 14 and 10 year old kids, but there doesn’t seem to be the same level of intensity about them as there is during the school year.
Last evening, my wife and I found ourselves talking about the fall. We both paused and couldn’t believe we were already talking about the fall, but it was an important conversation. Without forward planning and discussion, things tend to sneak up on us and we feel unprepared.
I find churches that have an annual fall discussion about generosity, giving, stewardship and the next year’s operating budget often times fall into the trap of not planning early enough. For many, June seems to be too soon to talk about the fall, but then everyone is scattered until the end of July and the scramble begins to see who is going to plan this year’s ‘annual stewardship campaign.’ The question quickly becomes: Who draws the short straw this year?
The discussion about generosity and how to lead our people toward a more generous lifestyle should not be one of dread and eye rolling. Instead, it should be one of anticipation and excitement because nothing draws us closer to God than when we are generous back to Him because he rewards our generosity in ways beyond our wildest imaginations.
Over the years I have found the trouble with the generosity discussion is that churches are not asking the right questions. I hear questions similar to these on a regular basis:
- How much do we want the operating budget to increase next year?
- How much would each family have to increase their giving in order for us to do all of the mission and ministry we want to do?
- How can we talk about generosity without directly talking about money so much?
- Isn’t generosity more than just money?
Intellectually, there is nothing wrong with these questions. However, they all miss the mark when it comes to biblical generosity. Biblical generosity is about a personal relationship with God. We are generous to people and causes we believe in, trust, and love. When we are in a relationship that has belief, trust and love aren’t we quick to be generous? Isn’t it easy to be generous? Don’t we want that relationship to grow and blossom?
This summer I want you plan for the fall and I encourage you to ask different questions during your generosity initiative. Ask these questions:
- Do you believe that God is the author of generosity?
- Do you trust God in all things; including money?
- Do you love God in a way that being generous with Him is easy?
- Will you grow in your giving in a way that reflects your faith, trust and love for God?