Published: 8 years ago

Breeding Generosity

I have the privilege of serving on staff at one of the most generous churches anywhere. This year we set a ridiculously large goal for our Christmas Missions Offering – $300,000. As of last Sunday, we’re just $40,000 away from hitting it.

Our people simply respond well to the call to give. Whether it’s turkeys for the Durham Rescue Mission or coats for students at Neal Middle School or school supplies for teachers at Eastway Elementary, they just give. And give. And give.

And it’s not just structured giving – the kind where somebody stands up and tells a sad story and shows pictures of sick kittens and plays a Sarah McLachlan song and then asks people to empty their pockets and maybe sell a vital organ and then go dig a well. No, this culture of generosity goes deeper than a corporate call and digs into the heart of individual mission.

It’s the small group raising money to pay for an uninsured surgery. It’s the campus staff gathering funds to fill a family’s propane heater before winter. It’s the sound tech arranging for a sound system to be loaned to a school for their Christmas program. It’s the young professionals who host an auction to fund a ministry to street kids in Rwanda.

It’s the donated car. The extra gifts under a single mom’s Christmas tree. The sack of groceries on the front porch. The generous tip to a restaurant server.

Yesterday in our weekly staff meeting, Pastor J.D. reminded us that generosity breeds generosity. As a church staff, we can never make the mistake of leading our people to only give corporately, and only to church-sanctioned projects. To do so is not only selfish, it’s ultimately self-sabotage. Even if we are giving away the money that we collect, we’re still driving our people towards one or two or three ways to give.

How much better to empower people to see a need in their community and fill it. How much better for a small group to find a family and take care of them. How much better for a businessman to take on a ministry and fund it.

When we drive our people to believe that there’s only one way to give and one place to give, we stifle the gift of grace and the creative nature of God in their lives. But when we release them into a culture of generosity, that generosity will breed more generosity.

When we’re being generous at the individual level, we’re giving not because we’re guilted to, but because we get to. We’re not giving because of a tax credit. We’re not giving because of a giant thermometer on the auditorium wall that tells us how far we have to go to reach our Hallelujah Goal. We’re giving quietly…secretly…anonymously. We’re giving because we’ve been the recipients of the majestic grace of Jesus, and that generous grace breeds generous grace.

So today, let’s end with two questions…

  • What is an area where you can be radically generous this Christmas season?
  • What is the most generous thing that anyone has ever done for you? (comment on that one below)




  1. Lauren H says:

    Our heating unit broke at the end of last winter and it was going to cost $1500.00 to fix it. This was well above the amount we could pull from savings and it was very chilly. I posted about our plight and how we were tired of Murphy’s law moving in. A day or so later we had a Summit member show up at our house unannounced. They handed me an envelope and said “God told me to give this to you.” I thanked them profusely…this type of thing had never happened to me before. After they left I looked in the envelope and found $750.00. Exactly half of what we needed to fix the heat. We will never forget their generosity and willingness to obey God.

  2. Lauren Dyson says:

    I was overwhelmed when I had my baby. I know they say it’s not easy having a baby, but I don’t think anyone can convey how hard it actually is. I was amazed by the members of my small group that insisted on coming to sit with me while my husband was out of the house, or offered to watch my baby for an hour while I ran to the store. I wasn’t willing to accept their help at first (I thought I was supposed to be supermom!), but they insisted, and that was exactly what I needed.

  3. I am a bivocational pastor (a pastor with a full-time “regular job”). I lost my job a couple of years ago and was having trouble finding a new one. With 5 kids and Christmas on the way, my wife and I were a little nervous about what we were going to do. That’s when we received an anonymous cashier’s check in the mail for $1600. I was amazed, humbled, and filled with joy.

  4. Julia F. says:

    I also have a baby story. After having just given birth to my 4th child, I was a bit overwhelmed and suffering from post-partem depression. He was born 2 weeks before Thanksgiving. None of our family lived within 300 miles so our friends were the only help we had. My group of friends put together an entire Thanksgiving feast for us and delivered it to our house on Thanksgiving Day ready to put on the table. That was one of the best Thanksgiving’s we ever had! I’ll never forget that generosity.

  5. One time, my friend had two tootsie-roll tootsie-pops. And when he noticed me staring at them, he was like, “Do you want one?”

    That changed my life…

  6. Matthew Boyd says:

    My wife and I had just gotten married and she had never learned to drive, which wasn’t an immediate problem because we only had one car. After teaching her how to drive we had no idea what we would do for a second car. A friend called me up the day before he moved across the country and said, “Hey man, I am leaving in the morning, if you meet me you can have my second car.” Within an hour the car was ours! An awesome blessing and a car we are still driving.

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