Generosity is one of the most significant movements within the evangelical community, but it is also a highly debated topic among Christian leaders.
How we understand its role in the lives of believers and their surrounding Christian communities, may say more about our understanding of the gospel than any other single facet of our faith.
Let's begin with a working definition of generosity.
Generosity is at its core, a lifestyle--a lifestyle in which we share all that we have, are, or will ever become, as a demonstration of God’s love and a response to God’s grace. A church cannot merely talk about generosity, nor can individual Christians simply commit to "being generous." For generosity to be a real and powerful witness to God’s love, our actions are of much significance. Generosity flows from an understanding that all we have, are, or will ever become, is not ours to possess. Generosity results in practically sharing with others what we've been given for the advancement of the kingdom and the glory of God.
Generosity embraces a biblical understanding of stewardship. This means, first, that God is the owner of everything; second, what we have has been given to us by God and; third, that the resources we possess are assets to be invested in the Kingdom. To be generous, we must understand what it means to be a steward, recognizing that what we have is not ours to own. It also means we confess that Jesus is Lord: over our money, possessions, positions of authority and talents. You can't be generous without an appropriate discipline of biblical stewardship, which in turn demands generosity.
The free gift of God’s grace shapes our faith and leads to the conviction that all we have (in the way of time, talent, treasure, and testimony) are things that we have been given for a purpose. We cannot separate our acceptance of God's grace from the practice of generosity.
Stewardship is an opportunity to witness to the reckless nature of God who gives the free gift of salvation by grace to all who will receive it. Generosity is the fullest expression of the life of a steward, one who has been given a gift, a gift that must be used wisely and for a purpose, bringing glory to God.
If you would like to learn more about developing a generosity culture in your church, we would love for you to schedule a meeting with one of our Generosity Strategists.