Activating generosity within your congregation helps them to best apply their gifts.
People often want to live a more generous life, but they don’t know how. You can pray about it, think about it, learn about it, hear about it, see it and admire it - but that does not mean you necessarily will do it.
Often generosity doesn’t happen by accident, or without encouragement, and by providing activities to grow generosity we can enable people to flourish. This is particularly true for younger people, who often show incredible generosity and a desire to live generously and can grow if given the right encouragement and opportunity. Our churches must demonstrate generosity for people to learn how to be generous and lead generous lives. There are a number of ways that this can be done, and because every context is different, different churches will do this in different ways.
If you are looking at encouraging people to give of their time and talents for the Church, then a great place to start is our Patterns for Kingdom Living webpage, which has lots of resources and a quiz for your congregation to think about what their gifts are.
Ways to activate generosity
This Harvest the National Church are launching Generosity Week to give us the time and space to reflect on God’s Generosity and celebrate God’s generosity within our church’s ministry and mission. You are invited to explore God's generosity through eight days of service and worship materials, as well as stories from our churches of God's generosity in action.
We hope that by the end of Generosity Week you’ll have a deeper understanding of God’s generosity towards us and how we can live more generously in our daily lives.
You can find out more at the Generosity Week website.
It is sometimes easy for our giving to be something that is spontaneous, and not particularly thought through. It can be – without realising – whatever is left after the rest of the financial decisions have been made. It can also be promoted by guilt or embarrassment, and neither are particularly great motivators. We need to encourage thoughtful, planned giving and ’1% more’ can do this. People are encouraged to plan their giving, and to commit to increasing their giving by 1% of their net income each year. In this way, we can anticipate and plan how we will do this, and it becomes ingrained and thought through. It can be a powerful tool for developing a generous life. As with all giving, care needs to be taken to ensure everyone is giving within their means and they have fully thought through the decisions they are making.
Sometimes it can be good to give people the opportunity to decide how the church should be generous. When you have a church offertory, divide the offertory up and put it into enough envelopes so there is one for everyone in the congregation. At the end of the service you then give everyone an envelope and ask them to give its contents to whoever they think needs it the most. This be a really powerful way of encouraging people to think about the needs within their community, and the real privilege and blessing it is to give.