When Vision is Not Enough

I once heard Rick Warren wisely say, “People respond to vision, not need.” His statement resonated deeply with me, and I’ve seen it to be true in every ministry setting where I’ve served.

“We need more small group leaders” never works as well as “God is calling us to launch 20 more groups, and we believe you should be a part.”

“We need 10,000 dollars for a new global partnership” does not preach like “God has burdened us to reach these people in this strategic location, and 10k will give us an effective start.”

I agree with the “vision not need” statement, but I fear that only preaching vision in relation to generous giving can adversely affect the spiritual discipline of giving in a congregation. Please don’t misread me. I do believe we should tie giving to God-ordained vision and direction.

I am simply saying that vision shouldn’t be the only motivation for giving.

If vision is the only motivation for generosity, what happens if I don’t believe in the vision? Is my obedience in the area of generosity related to how visionary the spokesperson is? Or is it related to something much deeper?

Church leaders are bombarded with advice and insight on “raising capital,” “developing donors,” “cultivating generosity,” and “teaching stewardship.”

Rightly so, as giving is a clear mark of spiritual health. And a church needs resources to be all she should be in the community in which God has placed her.

If the Apostle Paul were at the table hearing church leaders bemoan the lack of giving in their churches, he would probably say, “The people have either forgotten the gospel or not truly embraced it.” Paul emphasized the gospel in his appeal for believers to be generous in giving:

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Eric Geiger
Eric Geiger serves as the Vice President of the Church Resource Division at LifeWay Christian Resources. Prior to LifeWay, Eric served local churches, most recently investing eight years as the executive pastor of Christ Fellowship Miami. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. He is also a teaching pastor and a frequent speaker and consultant on church mission and strategy. Eric authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, playing with his daughters, and shooting basketball.