These days, people are telling you how they can help you raise more money for your ministry by following the latest trends and strategies. Digital marketing innovations are plentiful: Round up, Round off, Crowdfunding, Return Path, and Payfurther. Then there are strategies like Amazon Smile: “You shop, Amazon gives.” Recently I even saw an ad titled “Reach your Hidden Major Donors.”
My inbox groans daily under the weight of unsolicited emails offering to help increase the effectiveness of our fundraising efforts. There’s nothing wrong with innovation, new ideas, or keeping tabs on giving trends. However, it can all be overwhelming and can distract kingdom-minded ministries and their key partners from what truly matters.
What if the primary force encouraging believers to give away their wealth for kingdom purposes isn’t found in marketing trends at all?
I suggest that the ‘new ways of getting gifts’ are actually found by following the ancient paths of God’s Word—the source and substance of true generosity.
Ultimately, understanding the Bible’s principles of generosity – so we can point to how God is at work and communicate opportunities for God’s people to get involved – is the most effective way to energize Christian giving.
The Bible tells us everything we need to know about generosity, including how we should relate to the people God is motivating to financially support his work in this crumbling world, and how to encourage generous giving by our partners.
“Why does all of this matter to a Christian fundraiser?”
The timeless truth of God’s Word never changes. How then do we live as salt and light, impacting the world through generosity when the world is influencing us to spend on ourselves? The following principles define and communicate what motivates biblical generosity, and what that can look like in the life of a committed follower of Christ.
1. Biblical generosity is grounded in a commitment to truth.
To understand biblical generosity, we must allow God’s Word to guide us into truth. From that place we can let the unchanging principles found in the Word mold and shape our thinking on biblical stewardship. That’s because these principles are grounded in truth.
Prior to using our smartphones for maps and GPS navigation, we used compasses—which always point north—to determine in which direction we were headed.
Imagine you are lost at sea in the middle of the night. All you can see around you is water. The sky is overcast, blocking your view of the moon and stars. You know that a safe harbor is located somewhere to the north, but how do you know which way to turn? Long before GPS satellites and other high-tech navigational aids, compasses provided an easy and inexpensive way to orient ourselves by always pointing in the same direction. God’s Word works like that—providing a guiding light that shows the way forward.
2. Biblical generosity is fueled by an understanding of God.
God owns it all. In Psalm 50:12, God says “the world is mine, and all that is in it.” He created everything, provides for his creation, and sustains the whole cosmos. We simply need to acknowledge this truth.
We serve a generous God. His nature is to give. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”(John 3:16). However, he gives with purposeful wisdom, and especially so with his children that he is preparing for his kingdom.
3. Biblical generosity is simply a response to God’s generosity.
Since God owns it all, we are simply stewards of what he entrusts to us. And, because our God is generous, we imitate him by living lives of generosity as in Acts 4:32: “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.”
Why does all of this matter to a Christian fundraiser? Because when you work with people who understand these principles, you know they are God-motivated believers who don’t need marketing tools to give generously to kingdom initiatives. If God owns it all, then he’s able to direct what he owns through people who’ve been transformed by this truth.
I encourage you to check out this amazing story, in which understanding biblical generosity resulted in extraordinary giving that impacted several thousands of people with the truth of the gospel.
I pray that we might grow in our understanding of who God is, what he’s doing, and how he wants us to engage his people in his work.
Jim Loscheider has served with Samaritan’s Purse as Vice President of Donor Ministries since 2000. He held similar leadership positions in other ministries. Jim connects people—whom God is motivating, to invest their time, talent, resources, and influence—with opportunities that advance Christ through the work of Samaritan's Purse www.samaritanspurse.org.