Generosity Rising: Lead a Stewardship Revolution in Your Church

Generosity Rising: Lead a Stewardship Revolution in Your Church

by Scott McKenzie

Paperback

$17.99
View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Wednesday, December 18

Overview

With all of the books written on stewardship and all of the workshops offered; why do churches continue to struggle with questions and issues of financial giving? The answer is in the church's leadership.



A revolution of generosity will only occur as pastors, financial chairs and stewardship chairs live and give witness to the importance of generosity in their personal lives and then intentionally recruit and train others to join the revolution. Leading a revolution in generosity is not about simply using the right program or reading the right book or preaching the right sermon; a revolution of generosity is about embracing, living and leading others on a journey of gratitude, prayer and faith.



Generosity Rising instructs pastors on whom to recruit and how to recruit them, offering practical guidelines for training a dedicated team of “generosity revolutionaries.” This book also provides daily devotionals for leaders to inspire, motivate and encourage their personal journey of gratitude, prayer and faith.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781630883171
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Publication date: 01/06/2016
Pages: 128
Sales rank: 519,240
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Dr. McKenzie passionately believes generosity is ultimately a question of faith development and discipleship. He is a Sr. Vice President and Partner with Horizons Stewardship As a national workshop leader and conference speaker, he teaches generosity as “grounded in gratitude, revealed in prayer and lived in faith.” He holds degrees from Messiah College and United Theological Seminary. His Ph.D. is in spiritual formation from Duquesne University. He lives in York, Pennsylvania. Scott is the co-author of Climb Higher: Reaching New Heights in Giving and Discipleship and Bounty: Ten Ways to Increase Giving at Your Church. Scott is the author of Generosity Rising: Lead a Stewardship Revolution in Your Church. He is co-author of the soon to be released book, Generosity Challenge.

Read an Excerpt

Generosity Rising

Lead a Stewardship Revolution in Your Church


By Scott McKenzie

Abingdon Press

Copyright © 2016 Abingdon Press
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-63088-318-8



CHAPTER 1

We Hold These Truths ...


He chose to give us birth by his true word, and here is the result: we are like the first crop from the harvest of everything he created.

James 1:18 ceb


In considering how we might lead a revolution in generosity, let's look at one of the founding documents of the American Revolution, the Declaration of Independence. After a brief introduction, this brilliant document lays out the big picture, the big truth that will drive the revolution:

We hold these truths to be a self-evident, that all men are created equal, and that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness.


Now that, my friends, is a cause worth fighting for; that big picture is one worth pursuing with all of one's heart, soul, and mind. Those words resonate so deeply with the human spirit that men and women throughout the course of our history have willingly paid the ultimate sacrifice. Throughout history, revolutions have always begun with a big picture and a cause worth fighting, and perhaps, dying for.

Before you recruit a single person to be on your stewardship team; before you begin your dance as the lone nut in the middle of the field; you need to know the big picture, the overarching cause, the big truth, that will drive this revolution of generosity.


Generosity Rising's Big Picture Is Not

First, let's look at what a revolution in generosity will not be about

• Raising larger sums of money from more people

• Getting more people to pledge or give

• Increasing the budget

• Paying the bills

• Paying the apportionments or denominational assessments

• Having a bigger, better building than the church next door or down the street

• Techniques or campaigns for raising money


Do any of the items listed above inspire you to revolution? Do any of the ideas above move you to sacrifice? Not me! And yet, don't those phrases describe much of what passes for stewardship in our churches?


Jane's Story

Jane was a generous contributor to her church. Jane lived and breathed stewardship. In August, her pastor came to her and asked her if she would be the stewardship chair for the following year. When she asked what it involved he responded, "We're in trouble, Jane. We need an 8 percent increase in giving to the budget or we will start to cut staff and probably not pay our denominational shares of ministry." The pastor continued, "When we get the line item budget finished you will stand in front of the congregation and present the budget and convince them that they need to give more. We will be able to show how much utility costs and our insurance premiums have gone up and also show that our staff has had no increase in three years. You let them know what will happen if they don't give more."

Jane replied to her pastor, "I'll get back to you." Jane finally sent an e-mail saying, "No thank you." Jane didn't want to die on that hill. Jane wanted to be part of a revolution. She wanted to be a part of a vital and life-changing movement in her church. Instead, she was offered a role in ongoing maintenance, business as usual. Jane wanted to inspire, but her pastor wanted to use fear and manipulation. Jane slowly drifted away from her church and finally left it completely. And guess what? Her money went with her. Jane, and so many people like her, want something more. Jane may not be able to name it, but what she wants is a revolution in giving.


Generosity Rising's Big Picture

Now, let's look at what a revolution in stewardship and giving must be about. Listen to the words of Tom Peters:

Sometimes I think that all leadership literature stinks — including much of the stuff I've written. Too much focus is on tactics and motivation (and frankly, manipulation). All of that misses the point: leadership for what? From King and Gandhi and Jefferson ... to Bill Gates and Steve Jobs and Richard Branson ... leaders lead because they want to get some particular thing done. They want to do stuff that matters ... great leaders are not merely great at leading. They are great at inducing others to take novel journeys to places of surpassing importance.


Instead of looking for new tactics, new ways to manipulate, or new ways to make "the ask," Peters suggests that great leaders find and invite others to journey with them to a place of surpassing importance. So, let us start a revolution in stewardship and giving that leads to the place of surpassing importance and invite others to journey with us.

In the life of the church, what is the "stuff" that matters and where is the place of surpassing importance? What is the journey we are inviting people to? How will we inspire great leadership? Let us return to those words from the Declaration of Independence.

We hold these truths to be a self-evident, that all men are created equal, and that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness.


These words penned by Thomas Jefferson in 1776 resonate with the words written by Tom Peters in 2006: "They want to do stuff that matters ... great leaders are not merely great at leading. They are great at inducing others to take novel journeys to places of surpassing importance."

The revolution of giving and generosity has to be bigger than budgets, buildings, salaries, and denominational taxes. The revolution of giving and generosity has to be bigger than campaigns and tactics.

I will now commit blasphemy and actually rewrite those amazing words in the Declaration of Independence because I believe they can help us find the place of surpassing importance for our revolution in generosity and giving:

We hold these truths to be self-evident that all people are created in the image of a loving, giving, and generous God. We believe real life, true liberty, and eternal joy are only realized when we live lives of abundant generosity and sacrificial love.


The big picture, the big cause, the place of surpassing importance for a revolution in generosity is nothing short of enabling individuals to become the very people God created them to be. What a novel journey of surpassing importance: the journey of becoming the person God created me to be from the beginning of all creation. Now that, my friends, is what a revolution in generosity is all about.


George's Story

George is a former fighter pilot who flew several missions during the Vietnam War. I was returning to work another capital campaign with George's church, and in the midst of talking about our previous campaign George said, "What we did during that last campaign was the single most transformative experience of my life." How was a capital campaign the single most transformative experience in George's life? The campaign was essentially an invitation to go on the journey of becoming the person God created George to be from the beginning of creation. Our place of surpassing importance was not a building project. Our place of surpassing importance was to be the people God created us to be. And unlike Jane, George is now committed to being part of a revolution in his church, a revolution in generosity.


Your Story

Let's return to the words written on the very first page.

Before you recruit a single person to be on your stewardship team, before you begin your dance as the lone nut in the middle of the field, you need to know the big picture — the overarching cause, the big truth — that will drive this revolution of generosity. If you get this part wrong, the revolution will fail and like many failed revolutionaries you just might end up in exile or worse! A revolution in generosity will not be about

• Raising larger sums of money from more people

• Getting more people to pledge or give

• Increasing the budget

• Paying the bills

• Paying the apportionments or denominational assessments

• Having a bigger, better building than the church next door or down the street

• Techniques or campaigns for raising money


Stop right now and answer some very fundamental questions:

• Is my current vision of stewardship and generosity about changing lives or about maintaining the church budget? Be honest!

• Will my vision of stewardship and generosity change the world or just keep the doors open?

• Is my current vision of stewardship and generosity a hill worth dying on?

• Do I view stewardship as primarily about tactics and campaigns or as a life-changing journey of surpassing importance?


Name the Enemy

Yes, every revolution needs a cause, the big picture, a vision for a new way of life; but revolutions also need an enemy. For example, immediately after painting a picture of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, Thomas Jefferson goes on to describe the enemy of this new reality, and he uses phrases like "absolute despotism" and "absolute tyranny."

The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of absolute tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.


Jefferson then lists twenty-seven examples of these "injuries and usurpations."

Mike Figliuolo at thoughtLEADERS, LLC wrote an article entitled "Everyone Needs a Little Revolution." In the article, Figliuolo writes,

Revolution is that point in time when a critical mass of people get fed up with some kind of crap and collectively decide to do something about it. That something is usually scary, somewhat extreme, painful, brave, and life altering.


I realize that many are cringing; some may even be offended at some of the language he uses. The truth is, it fits, and is wonderfully descriptive of what seems to be happening in many churches all across America. And just maybe it is time for us to be offended and fed up with the many deficiencies in the arena of stewardship, giving, and generosity. In the words of Thomas Jefferson, "To prove this let Facts be submitted to a candid world." Here are the facts on stewardship, giving, and generosity in the United States:

• Episcopalians give 2% to charities — 55% of that 2% goes to religion (church) for a total of 1.1%.

• Presbyterians give 1.8% to charities — 53.9% of that 1.8% goes to religion (church) for a total of 1.0%.

• Lutherans give 1.7% to charities — 61.8% of that 1.7% goes to religion (church) for a total of 1.1%.

• Methodists give 1.6% to charities — 61.5% of that 1.6% goes to religion (church) for a total of 1%.

• Catholics give 1.5% to charities — 50.7% of that 1.5% goes to religion (church) for a total of .8%.

• From 1987 to 2013 giving to religion as a percent of total charitable giving has declined from 52% to 31%.

• From 2012 to 2013 charitable giving increased by 4.4%. Giving to religion as a subset declined by 0.2%.


In 2010, I conducted two capital campaigns. One was located in an economically depressed urban area with considerably high unemployment and an extremely high rate of incarceration for males. The other was in a wealthy suburban area often touted as one of the ten best places to live in America. The giving statistics were amazingly similar; both had over 35 percent of their active giving families giving less than three hundred dollars annually. For the rich white suburbanites, that should be a huge concern and a call to action. Most refused to see it that way, however. In fact, when forced to acknowledge this reality, they gave reasons and excuses why the situation is perfectly acceptable. After all ...

• We have high levels of income but our cost of living is high.

• Yes, we could give more but we have two children we are going to need to put through college.

• Well, you know the economy has hit us hard as well. People just can't afford to give.


Where is the offense and outrage? Where is the revolutionary leader willing to stand up, face the enemy, and say, "This is wrong. This has to change"?


A Pastor's Story

A pastor called the other day and said he was having trouble with his finance committee. They refused to talk about stewardship and refused to ask people to step up their giving. Their solution to the church's financial difficulties was to cut the budget. Where can we cut? They recently spent an hour discussing the pluses and minuses of cutting postage by just handing newsletters out after worship. And then he used the line I hear all the time, "We don't want to offend anyone. Our people are giving all they can." No! Let's stand up and face our enemy. Our people are giving all they want to give. The pastor then made the most revealing statement of all: "Very few of the members of the finance team are generous givers." Of course they want to cut the budget; they don't want to give more. Our people love stuff more than God. Our people love money more than they love Jesus. There, my friends, is the enemy.


Naming Your Enemy

Just as the American Revolution required the big picture and a naming of the enemy, the same is true for a real revolution in generosity and giving. This is nothing new. Jesus knew the power of giving to transform lives but he also knew the power of money and love of stuff to draw us away from God.

And so I end this chapter with a devotion based on a poignant and profound story from the Gospels, the story of the rich young ruler or rich young man. I invite you to read it slowly and prayerfully. Hear the story again: "Jesus looked at him carefully and loved him. He said, 'You are lacking one thing. Go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor. Then you will have treasure in heaven. And come, follow me.' But the man was dismayed at this statement and went away saddened, because he had many possessions" (Mark 10:21-22 ceb).

Jesus looked him hard in the eye — and loved him! How often do we think Jesus really just loves the poor, the sick, and the downtrodden? Of course Jesus loves the poor, the sick, and the downtrodden. Jesus also has a very special place in his heart for those with resources, and yes, even those with wealth. Jesus wants those with wealth and resources to know him, love him, and follow him. Jesus knows that this young man is so close to becoming the unique creation God intended him to be from the beginning of time. But Jesus also knows the enemy: love of stuff and love of money.

So Jesus confronts the enemy head on and says, "Go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor." Jesus asks, "What do you love more than me?" For this young man the answer was clear: he loved stuff, money, and wealth more than Jesus. And so the young man turned away. And Jesus let him go. Can you imagine this scene in your head? "But the man was dismayed at this statement and went away saddened, because he had many possessions."

Jesus looks us hard in the eye, and with a heart overflowing with love, he asks, "What do you love more than me?" What are you holding on tight to and not about to let go? For a mother or father it could be children. For someone else it could be a parent or even a spouse. For others the answer may be found in a job, a career, or a home. For many of us it may very well be our wealth and our stuff. Maybe it's the sense of pride and accomplishment that comes with having wealth and all the right "stuff." Maybe it's something very different like anger, bitterness, or an unwillingness to forgive that we refuse to let go. Jesus stands in front of us, looks us hard in the eye with love, and asks, "What do you love more than me?"

• Am I willing to be the kind of revolutionary leader exemplified by Jesus?

• Do I really believe in the glorious vision of people living in the image of our all-loving and all-generous creator?

• Do I believe we are created to be giving and generous?

• Am I fed up with the levels of giving and all the excuses people, myself included, make to not give?

• Am I willing to name the enemy and ask the Jesus question, "What do you love more than me?"

• Am I willing, like Jesus, to let people walk away when they choose stuff over God?


God, I want to love you with all my heart. But there always seems to be stuff that gets in the way. Help me now to let go, to release whatever my stuff is to you, your love, and your care. God, I want to be a revolutionary leader. I want to walk with people on this amazing journey of generosity as we become more and more like you. Amen.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Generosity Rising by Scott McKenzie. Copyright © 2016 Abingdon Press. Excerpted by permission of Abingdon Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction: A Call to Revolution vii

1 We Hold These Truths… 1

2 Becoming a Revolutionary Leader and Team 11

3 Generosity Boot Camp 23

4 Fan the Flame of Revolution 43

5 A Yearlong Plan for Revolution 65

Conclusion 85

The 21-Day Challenge 89

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Generosity Rising: Lead a Stewardship Revolution in Your Church 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hi! My cats name will be Quakestar. He is a short cat with hair sticking up along his back, but his belly is smooth. He has a white belly and muzzle, and his head to tail is all a chesnut brown. His eyes are a mix of orange and maroon. He is about 23 moons old, I beleive a little over young warrior age. He wants to start a clan called Goldenclan. For extra information, his last life is from cat named Sakura. In other Rps, I have played as Leafwhisper, Herostrike, Dragonstar, Halfmoon, Shadow (in the dragon rp) and miragefur. My experience with RP is maybe seven or eight months, yet I am a fast learner and know nearly everything. I want to create this Clan because I want a Clan when things happen. The Clan would be in a storm zone, which would mean there was always something happening. There should be a prophecy with this Clan: Metal will lead to bronze, bronze will lead to silver, and silver to gold. When the quakes arrives the gold will stay strong, while the others break. Long live Goldenclan! You can even be my deputy- long live Goldenclan!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you are interested in this, please post an application. The deadline for applications is the night of March 13, but I will end early if I reach a conclusion, so hurry! Be sure to be detailed, as this clan is going to be revolutionary and a great clan needs a great leader. If you win, I will give you more details. Applications should include cat's name (____star), age, other rps, rping experience, why you want to win, how active you are, and anything else you find important. Good luck! You could end up shaping the future of rp. ~Sparkleshine