September marks the beginning of my 20th year in generosity and stewardship ministry. (I was a lot younger (and thinner) back then.) This year also marks the 12th year of writing about stewardship and generosity here at Generosity Matters and RustyLewis.net. Thank you for staying with me all these years.
My first blog post was published in November of 2008. A quote from that article is as relevant as ever.
“Mature congregational members have lived lives of faithful stewardship and consider tithing to be the norm of Christian giving. Younger congregational members do not warm to the practice of stewardship and tithing as they do to living a generous life.”
Many things have changed in these 20 years, and yet some things have stayed the same.
I sat with a pastor and his leadership team recently. We were discussing steps they needed to take to create a stronger culture of giving within the church. The pastor made three observations:
- There are some things here that were not on our radar. We’ve got to get after this.
- Other items we’ve discussed I have known we need to be doing.
- (And then a bit out of exasperation) But I don’t have anyone who has the time or expertise to do this and do it well.
You are likely in a similar place.
Pastors and staff teams are stressed. You are likely doing more ministry today than ever before, even though your people may not fully realize it. You have been forced to navigate the greatest pandemic of our lifetimes without a playbook to follow. Ministry continues, and the need for “all hands on deck” is greater than ever before. But…
Someone is likely missing from your leadership table.
Let me explain…
We staff up, both in paid positions and volunteer roles, for every ministry we deem important. Ministry to students, children, senior adults, missions, discipleship, worship, you name it, we’ve enlisted someone with the passion, experience, and calling to spearhead those ministries. Yet one ministry, the one that is responsible for fully funding all other ministries, is one that most churches haven’t staffed. Stewardship and Generosity. You can grow church giving by having a generosity pastor on your leadership team.
Let me pose some questions, then I’ll offer a solution.
- Who wakes up every single morning thinking about how to enhance the culture of giving in your church?
- Who is creating and helping to implement a strategy of consistent generosity discipleship with the goal of developing more and better Biblical stewards?
- Who is planning your end-of-year giving appeal for 2020, and who is going to ensure it is implemented with excellence?
- Who is working your legacy giving program, and engaging appropriate age groups in discussions about wills, estates, and gift planning?
- Who is writing your offering introduction for this weekend’s worship service(s)?
- If you are a multi-site church, who is coaching up your campus pastors and hosts to deliver that offering introduction so we have a consistency of excellence at each location?
- Who is responsible for finding the next story of life change we plan on sharing in next month’s celebration of generosity?
- How will the story be told (live, via video, in writing) and who is communicating the story?
- Who is monitoring your giving metrics, noting first AND second time givers, and taking action to celebrate and acknowledge those gifts?
- Who is monitoring your giving metrics, noting lapsing givers, and creating a plan to minister to those givers?
- Who is watching for opportunities to celebrate and acknowledge unique one-time gifts?
- Who is working with your discipleship team to foster plans for spiritual development around stewardship and generosity in 2021?
- Who is working with the pastoral staff to ensure we are infusing generosity into our work on a regular basis?
- Who is coaching up the staff and your small group leaders to build generosity into their personal lives so they are are better equipped to lead others in their groups and on their volunteer teams?
- Who is viewing your upcoming ministry initiatives through the lens of generosity, offering feedback to ensure we are making the most of every opportunity to impact our generosity culture?
Obviously I could go on and on with this list. Unfortunately most do not have answers for the majority of these questions. As much as we would value having someone with the time and expertise to do this work, we simply don’t have them on the team. It has not been a priority.
Well now you can. I have served in this capacity for a small number of churches and have decided to make it a regular offering to a handful of interested churches going forward. We at Generis are formalizing “Your Generosity Pastor” as a new way for us to come alongside you and your team to grow stronger giving disciples in your church.
Your Generosity Pastor
Imagine your church as a passionate community of committed givers who consistently grow in their understanding of biblical generosity and propel your God-inspired vision forward. Achieving that goal requires leadership that understands stewardship and generosity and how they are integral to every aspect of your ministry. This requires constant application of the Biblical principles of generosity discipleship, the driving force of mission advancement. Your Generosity Pastor will serve as a guide to make this a reality for your ministry. By embedding a skilled Generis expert in your team, you can move beyond the “how do we pay for this” conversation to a place where the voice of stewardship and generosity permeates every conversation you have and every decision you make to disciple your people and advance your mission forward.
Think of the role as something like a Chief Generosity Officer. Your Generosity Pastor will be the voice at the executive leadership table to represent stewardship and generosity throughout the church and with the staff.
Have Someone On Your Team Who Will…
- Represent the voice of stewardship and generosity at the Executive Leadership table
- Inspire and inform your communication team on topics related to generosity
- Help your creative team capture and craft powerful stories about the impact of generosity in your church.
- Work with your teaching team to incorporate key generosity themes into sermons, small groups, family ministry and more
- Act as a liaison between your finance team and your Lead Pastor
- Continually assess how well your church inspires and recognizes generosity
- Ensure that a stewardship perspective is represented in all key conversations.
- Solidify discipleship and generosity as a critical part of your church culture
- Create a healthy balance between church vision and spiritual development
- Help you avoid common mistakes that create a lid on generosity
- Raise the generosity quotient of your people and your church!
There is great flexibility in this relationship. While I believe you will want to invest 12 months to fully develop your generosity plan, we may just begin with a 3-month engagement to help you finish 2020 in the strongest possible way so you are positioned for a solid start in 2021.
At the end of our work together, we will have:
- implemented changes in your program that have accelerated giving – there will be a noticeable change in your gift income
- a full 12-month generosity program that can be repeated by someone on your team on an ongoing basis. (Of course I can stay with you and continue to implement the plan if you desire.)
- identified and trained the person or persons who step into the role of Generosity Pastor going forward. This could be a paid or volunteer position.
For some of you, the word “pastor” may not be a fitting title and that is ok. We will call it whatever you like – Director of Generosity and Stewardship; Generosity Champion, whatever. Just as the job description and scope of services are open for collaboration, so is the title we give the role in your church.
You can download a job description here.
To learn more and determine if this is a fit for your church, let’s schedule a call. Time is of the essence as I will be limiting the number of churches served in this capacity.