Discover the Genius of Generosity

How can you connect with high-capacity givers in your church who are not yet giving without appearing greedy?

It’s right there in the Acts 2 account of the early church. As disciples are made, giving is a natural overflow. Generosity development in your church is really people development. Leaders need to look at the matter of generosity through the eyes of the giver instead of the staff, finance committee, or other leadership group. When you look through giver’s eyes, you will begin to see how you are actually discipling them by helping them grow their generosity and develop their giving.

Solution – Discover the genius of generosity

THE QUICK SUMMARY – The Genius of Generosity, by Chip Ingram

The “secrets” to being financially savvy are all around us. Go to your local bookstore or look online to read all the books written on how to manage your finances. Turn on the television to hear wise tips from financial experts. Surf the Internet to skim the “Seven Habits of Highly Successful Money Managers.”

The truth is most people want to be financially savvy. And some say to be smart, you must spend carefully. Others say to be wise, you must save regularly. But as the title of this book reads, to be genius, you must give generously.


You can’t stop generosity. It is natural, normal, and wired into the existence of every human being. So why are we so nervous about it at church? Give these thoughts some significant time to brew and see if they do not inspire, affirm, and empower a new direction.

Generosity is meant to be joyful and fulfilling. It isn’t rooted in guilt, self- righteousness, or a martyr complex. It’s rooted in joy. And, in fact, it’s genius.

It’s the smartest way to live.

Generosity – a life overflowing with care and concern for others – is a brilliant way to live. It isn’t supposed to be a high, noble, sacrificial calling for a few super-spiritual people. Spending and saving carefully are wise, but giving generously is genius. Both practically and spiritually, it’s one of the smartest, most intellectually sound and emotionally satisfying decisions you will ever make for your life now and forever.

Here are four simple reasons why generosity is really the most intelligent way to live.

  1. Generosity is genius because it changes our lives. People who give generously feel great about it and find themselves blessed in ways they never expected. Great things happen in them, and great things happen to those around them. It’s the ultimate win-win situation.

  2. Generosity connects us with others. When people are generous and gracious, they exude love and happiness. Generous people create positive feelings in their relationships.

  3. Generosity helps us invest in what matters. Spiritually, generosity protects us from shortsighted, bad investments of our time, our talent, and our treasure and creates long-term wealth. In a sense, everything you do is an investment. You are always pouring your time, talent, and treasure into something. And whatever you’re pouring into, that’s where your heart is.

  4. Generosity frees our hearts. Money is the mirror of our heart before God. Notice where your money is going. That will tell you what you’re devoted to. And not only does the direction of your resources reflect where your heart is, it helps determine where your heart goes. Your heart will always follow your investments.

Chip Ingram, The Genius of Generosity


Pastors desire a generous culture for their churches, but very few know what it really is and are willing to do the work to experience it. They tend to default toward doing nothing (except complaining) or executing yet another quick fix, short-term remedy.

True generosity is absolutely possible if you pursue these three ingredients at the same time and do not quit.

  1. Possess such a powerfully clear vision that you know what not to do as confidently as you know what to do.Vision is not a generic mantra on your wall, but a clear path plainly seen by all. It should naturally propel you forward, hold you accountable, and engage the masses.
  2. Align your strategy to be very simple, yet radically focused on this vision. This means your resources will be invested more than they are expended. Doing a few things very well in a repeatable process has seriously positive ramifications.
  3. Chase discipleship and not money.Generosity is the fruit of a growing Christ-follower. Money can come fast enough with a well-articulated appeal or when a powerful fear is exposed. However, it stops when the circumstance changes. Generosity never stops.

How well are you doing with these three ingredients? What is one step you can take today in one of these three areas?

Generosity is possible for your church, but you have to want it – really want it – enough to invest your entire staff. Enough to be willing to reframe your vision, realign your strategy, and develop a solid discipleship path beyond just getting more people in groups. There is so much freedom and possibility on the other side of generosity.


Congregations that practice effective generosity keep first things first: they focus some of their best creativity, leadership, and energies on advancing their vision.

Congregations with solid practices of generosity have a better chance of doing effective mission. The one advances the other.

When your church focuses on generosity, you are serving people. Understanding and developing generosity helps people develop their capacity and gift for giving. In order to help accomplish this, lead your congregation by discovering the genius of generosity.

Taken from SUMS Remix 33-1, published February 2016

This is part of a weekly series posting content from one of the most innovative content sources in the church world: SUMS Remix Book Summaries for church leaders. SUMS Remix takes a practical problem in the church and looks at it with three solutions; and each solution is taken from a different book. As a church leader you get to scan relevant books based on practical tools and solutions to real ministry problems, not just by the cover of the book. Each post will have the edition number which shows the year and what number it is in the overall sequence. (SUMS provides 26 issues per year, delivered every other week to your inbox). 

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Bob Adams is Auxano's Vision Room Curator. His background includes over 23 years as an associate/executive pastor as well as 8 years as the Lead Consultant for a church design build company. He joined Auxano in 2012.

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comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you Ed for sharing your insights into the Church Growth Movement. I have my reservations with Church Growth models because it has done more damage than good in the Body of Christ. Over the years, western churches are more focused on results, formulas and processes with little or no emphasis on membership and church discipline. Pastors and vocational leaders are burnt out because they're overworked. I do believe that the Church Growth model is a catalyst to two destructive groups: The New Apostolic Reformation and the Emerging Church. Both groups overlap and have a very loose definition. They're both focus on contemporary worship, expansion of church brand (franchising), and mobilizing volunteering members as 'leaders' to grow their ministry. Little focus on biblical study, apologetics and genuine missional work with no agenda besides preaching of the gospel.
— Dave
comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you for sharing such a good article. It is a great lesson I learned from this article. I am one of the leaders in Emmanuel united church of Ethiopia (A denomination with more-than 780 local churches through out the country). I am preparing a presentation on succession planning for local church leaders. It will help me for preparation If you send me more resources and recommend me books to read on the topic. I hope we may collaborate in advancing leadership capacity of our church. God Bless You and Your Ministry.
— Argaw Alemu
comment_post_ID); ?> Amen!!
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