If you’re like me, you’re probably more than a bit skeptical about all the groups that are eager to show you how to build a “Culture of Generosity” in five easy steps. And of course, they’re going to prove their point by counting coins before and afterward. That’s fundraising folks, not true generosity.
Yesterday, I saw the best example of building a culture of generosity, and it happened on a sail boat. A local captain and crew dedicate a free family sail to folks who need to de-stress and enjoy life for a couple of hours due to major health issues. They do this because they experienced how relaxing and beneficial it was for a dear friend and his family to sail as they battled a terminal illness several years ago.
One of my children, who was their guest this day, spent a half hour after the sail talking to a young girl. And yes, you guessed it, this dad kept pushing her to stop the small talk and let’s get going. My daughter’s private response? “Dad, that young girl is fighting cancer, and she just wanted to know my experience as a young adult fighting a major illness and trying to raise a family. It felt good after experiencing the crew’s generosity to pass it on to someone else that I could help.” And who was listening to all this? My two grandchildren. Three generations almost simultaneously experiencing the first acts of the culture of generosity.
If your church thinks that generosity begins at the collection plate, you’re in trouble already. I don’t believe that when I work with a church I will build its culture. My best prayer is that I will open the doors of opportunity for every member to express their generosity. They too will then experience the great benefit of being “Blessed to be a Blessing.”