Growing a generous culture is a popular buzz phrase today. When I hear people talk about it the definitions or expressions are as varied as the people discussing them. For me, the only way a church is experiencing a generous culture is when it’s being “led by a generous leaders that are growing generous disciples.” It is not hard for me to imagine a giving increase on a particular day or season having been preceded by some strategic initiative drive. However, a generous culture should always be fruitful without the need for a concerted push. Discipleship creates a powerfully unstoppable culture while initiatives create a culture all their own.
This is where discipleship enters the conversation. My experience is that few churches have generosity discipleship plans, but most churches have some kind of fundraising plays they run every year. Most pastors aren’t thrilled about leading a fundraising ministry. However, shepherding and growing people is their passion. So I want to help unlock that passion and move a pastor into more and more freedom.
Let’s tackle the topic of Family Generosity as an example. First, family generosity is helping a family grow together to be more generous. This type of generosity has many benefits for the family and the church. Let me rattle off a few.
- Living generously makes us better family members in our home.
- Living generously is a trait every age can practice.
- Living generously helps people be a better witness in their communities.
- Living generously encourages a healthy relationship with our local church as we use our gifts, time, talents, and treasure in ministry.
- Living generously helps each family member grow in other areas of their spiritual lives.
Pastors, there are a lot of discipleship benefits when we prioritize the teaching and application of growing generous families. Statistics confirm that kids raised in giving homes are more likely to be generous as adults. Lifeway Generosity deeply believes in Family Generosity. This is why we created a preaching and small group series by the same name.
Our focal passage for the series is Psalm 37:26, “He is always generous, always lending, and his children are a blessing.” (CSB) When parents live generously it grows children that are a blessing. I can not think of a family that would not want to raise kids that possessed the blessing power of God on their lives. In the series, we have some fun exposing the listeners to different families in the Bible that lived, struggled, and grew in generosity. You will be very familiar with the stories, but possibly the generosity light will bring them to new life. Here are a couple of sneak peaks.
- Have you ever considered the power contained in the first story in the Bible of the first family? They go to worship and bring an offering. One child gets it right, the other not so much. Then, God offers grace to Cain and provides the opportunity for a do-over based on his instructions. Cain makes another bad choice. This one story opens our eyes to the foundational importance of worshipping God with our giving, listening to his voice, and the opportunity to always grow in generosity. Cain certainly didn’t get it right, but neither did God reject him as a person.
- How about Mary and Martha? Martha serves one way while Mary serves another way. Isn’t active generosity always the right choice? Mary was generous with her presence before the Lord receiving his favor. Generosity looks different in every situation. Sometimes we just need to sit and listen, while other times we need to get off the couch and do something.
- Acts 4-5 are powerful stories of extravagant Family Generosity. In chapter 4 the families of the church unite to solve social issues in their community, namely hunger and poverty. Barnabas even donates a piece of property to the church. Then chapter 5 takes a turn. Satan enters with his deceptive powers to quench the work of the church. He succeeds in part by misleading Ananias and Sapphira. Evidently, even the evil one thinks Family Generosity needs to be stopped.
Pastor, I want to encourage you to look into our series on Family Generosity. It is great discipleship for your people. Your parents will be so grateful for the partnership in growing generous kids. You will open many new doors for amazing conversations. My experience is the topic of generosity will now be normalized in your church which means you can bring it up again and again in future preaching series. Talking about money, finances, and fundraising can be a downer for some, but everyone wants to be more generous. Go unleash giving today!