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). 

> Subscribe to SUMS Remix <<

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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.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
— Glenna Hendricks
comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
— winston
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
— Russ Wright

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