We’ve been using Ron Blue’s pyramid on “why Christians don’t give” from his book Generous Living as a framework to explore Christians’ lack of generosity and to develop strategies to address it. Our first post looked at the spiritual problems at the root of the issue while our second post went deep on the financial problems Christians of all income levels may struggle with.
This post will cover the next reason for Christian stinginess – limited vision. To put it bluntly – many Christians can’t see. They are missing 3 Kingdom Optics which unlock personal generosity. And as a church leader it’s critical you seek to balance these 3 if you desire for people to grow in their giving.
Optic 1 – A vision for the Kingdom
John Ortberg asks a simple question, “How would you define the gospel?” His point is that a narrow view of the gospel as the “minimum entrance requirement into heaven” is an incomplete one – it is so much richer and deeper. The good news Jesus ushered in during His earthly ministry is about the Kingdom of God being revealed on earth as it is in Heaven. And each one of us is now a citizen of this Kingdom.
So when people begin to see themselves as Kingdom citizens, the smartest and most logical way to allocate money is to give generously to it. That’s using temporal resources to invest in an eternal reality. Do your people see this Kingdom reality in such a way that generosity just makes sense?
Optic 2 – A vision for one’s calling in the Kingdom
Once a person begins to see the Kingdom, the next optic needed to unleash generosity is an understanding of his or her calling in the Kingdom. Every year my family and I travel to Guatemala to work among the poor. Our hearts are captured by our trips so naturally we give financially to the work. It’s a personal way God has called us to invest our lives and resources in His kingdom.
So how are you helping people in your church better see their calling in the Kingdom? This could be as simple as asking them what passions God has placed on their hearts and connecting them with others to work them out. Or it could be more structured using a tool like BluePrint for Life. The key here is that money follows passion and calling. We naturally invest in things that bring deep meaning to our lives.
Optic 3 – A vision for your church’s role in the Kingdom
I once heard Andy Stanley speak to church leaders on the connection between vision and money. His point was that good stewards like to invest in compelling ministry. Everyone is “competing” for mind space and a compelling vision is critical.
So the question is do the leaders of your church have a crystal clear understanding of your church’s role in the Kingdom? Once you figure this out, you can then draw people into this life changing vision through consistent communication so that they believe it, want to play a part in it and want to give generously to it.
My closing exhortation – strive for KOB – Kingdom Optics Balance if you really want to help your people become more generous. To focus solely on your church’s vision my cause people to become suspicious of your motives. To focus solely on a person’s calling in the Kingdom may deprive them of the joy of a community of believers who really want to change the world. To focus solely on the Kingdom may lead to a great vision but no real tangible action to make it a reality.
But imagine balance – a body of people who clearly saw the Kingdom, their calling in it and your church’s role in it. Couldn’t we assume that generosity of resources would be natural, meaningful and sustainable in this environment?