When it feels transactional, talking about giving can be incredibly awkward: a pastor or church leader sheepishly asking their congregation for funds, members avoiding eye contact, and everyone praying the conversation will be over as soon as possible.
When it’s rooted in Kingdom perspective, talking about giving can be full of gratitude and joy, instead of guilt and obligation.
Peter Greer, CEO and President of HOPE International and David Weekley, a leading philanthropist and home builder, explore how generosity can be a life-changing experience for both the giver and receiver in their new book, The Giver and the Gift: Principles of Kingdom Fundraising.
We read it, and now we want to share our highlighted pages with you. Here are a few takeaways to help you turn those awkward conversations into opportunities for spiritual growth and greater generosity for those involved.
Takeaway #1: Don’t go it alone
“Giving in community always seems to result in greater impact and in better decisions."
Talking about giving is a group discussion. Make sure you leave time and space for two-way communication between church leaders and church members about how gifts are used and why giving is important for spiritual growth.
Takeaway #2: Keep Christ at the core
It’s easy to grow distracted from the reason you’re talking about generosity in the first place.
There will always be budgets to review and missions and visions to discuss, but at the end of the day, your church should strive to emulate Christ and expand the Gospel. Keep Christ at the beginning, middle, and end of every discussion about giving.
Takeaway #3: Let go to let joy in
Ever heard of a happy hoarder? Maintaining a tight grip on the gifts God's given tends to make us miserable. David Weekley reflects on how beautiful it is that "we each are unique, special, and one of a kind as God made us….when we use our gifts to Serve God and others for the Kingdom, we release our claim on what we have received and invite the Holy Spirit to work through us. And in my experience, this leads to true joy.”
Avoid sounding transactional as you talk about giving framing the conversation in a celebratory light: we are commissioned as a church family to celebrate the gifts God gives us and steward them together for His glory.
Takeaway #4: Give thanks continually
In the book, Peter Greer reminds us that, “Gratitude should be a consistent theme of both the one raising the funds and the one [giving] generously.”
Everything we possess comes from the Lord. This understanding makes the relationship between the giver and the church collaborative instead of transactional.
When everyone is working together to expand Christ’s Kingdom, there's much for which we can give thanks.
The Giver and the Gift is a great resource for those looking to breathe new life into their church's giving discussion.
The conversation might sound different for each church, but making sure giving remains a collaborative effort, focused on Christ, joyful, and filled with gratitude will go a long way in encouraging a thriving culture of generosity.