The church is the most powerful force on the planet. Filled with believers powered by the Holy Spirit, the church can—and does—accomplish supernatural things.
The church can also be one of the most underutilized forces. If we don’t harness and utilize the power of the Gospel, then millions of lives are left untouched by the love of Christ.
In Part 1 of our series, we talked about three ways generosity is not regularly explained. In Part 2, we’ll examine unique ways the church can practice—and model—generosity. If the church truly is the most powerful force in the world, then its ability to impact lives through generosity could literally change the world.
Here are six ways your church can practice generosity.
A. Generosity with its people
Is your church generous with how it treats its people? That’s demonstrated in a variety of ways. Recently, we’ve heard a lot about not over-programming our congregations: attending too many meetings, events, Bible studies, fundraising opportunities, etc. A healthy church that models generosity ensures that its people have room to breathe.
Modeling generosity also means providing practical and sympathetic pastoral/congregational care. When challenges arise in our lives, does the church step in to help care for us? Does it act with sympathy and empathy?
This will look different at every church, but having the attitude of generosity and care will go a long way to build healthy congregants.
Finally, does the church provide ample opportunities for spiritual engagement and growth? Are there pathways to learning more about Christ than just the Sunday sermon? Small groups, discipleship opportunities, self-study and mentoring are just a few ways our churches can extend generosity through spiritual engagement and growth.
B. Generosity with its facility
Are we willing to allow others to utilize our facilities to help them grow and develop? Churches can be a huge blessing to a community in search of a common gathering area. Consider offering space to community groups or others looking for short-term accommodations. Make available your basement, a classroom or an unused foyer area.
Maybe your local school needs additional space for after-school activities. It doesn’t have to be a huge effort, but let the local school know that you have space for groups looking to meet.
Offer a community nonprofit or local business space as it grows. Many nonprofits or small businesses start out in the owner’s basement or in some dingy space that doesn’t encourage optimism. Offer a nonprofit the use of a classroom for six months or a year at little or no rent—depending on what you can offer and what it can afford.
Finally, partner with a local college or technical school to offer space for students to study or meet off campus. Students are always looking for places to gather that aren’t in the same buildings they traverse every day. Make a special room available for student gatherings or study nooks.
C. Generosity with its future
At its foundation, generosity is about the other. How can we share our life, time, resources, hope, encouragement and spirit with someone else? As a church, we have multiple opportunities to do this daily.
Does this spirit of generosity with our future fuel our church? Are we willing to help others so that they can join us on our journey, or is our journey just for us?
When we think about our corporate future, we should include those who are not currently partakers with us in our mission and those who may never be—but we are committed to including them in our future.
This will look different in every congregation, but it will be obvious to see—and experience.
D. Generosity with its heart
If our hearts truly drive our actions, then a church’s mission will be easy to witness. We can see this through where we devote our energy: to internal discussions and debates or to outward-focused actions that help meet the needs of our people and our community.
Generosity of the heart is best experienced by those who look to us to help meet essential needs; assistance with life’s most challenging circumstances; help with spiritual questions or doubts; and a helping hand that leads to healing.
A church with a generous heart will focus its attention on demonstrating Christ’s love in tangible ways.
E. Generosity with its actions (not just talking but doing)
Jesus taught us to love with our hands and feet. Loving encompasses action. As a church, we can respond with love to our communities and those around us who are hurting.
A church that loves with its actions is known in the community. When someone who drives by your church is asked what they know about it, wouldn’t it be great if they said, “I’ve never attended that church, but they are really active in the community. You can sense they love people and are eager to help.”
Christ’s love is an overflowing stream of action. With it, we can minister to countless people in our communities. And maybe some of those people who receive our love will ask us about the Savior from whom it originates.
F. Generosity with its vision (is it Gospel focused?)
Every church has some form of mission/vision statements. These give us direction as to where we want to go and how to get there.
The challenge sometimes with these statements is that they are just that … statements. Are we truly living out our mission and vision statements and not just including them in the bulletin each week?
If we believe that these are God-inspired plans for our future, then we should ensure that our messages, programs, ministries, heart and attitude reflect them.
These are just a few ways our churches can demonstrate generosity. Spend a few minutes with your fellow parishioners, and you can add to this list.
The important thing, however, is to identify the key ways in which your church can demonstrate generosity and then commit to living that daily. There will be ups and downs and challenges, but Christ’s love will shine through and touch people—here and for eternity!
Stay tuned to Part 3 of our Generosity blog series: "10 Steps to Being More Generous with Your Life (Hint: You don’t need to be rich!)." To make sure you don’t miss a post, sign-up for our eNewsletter here.