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Modeling Generosity Unlocks Financial Resources By Chris McDaniel

Rethink Your Approach to Financial Resources

A common challenge for Christian leaders is to secure financial resources for ministry. I certainly experienced this when I was tasked with raising them. Frequently, ministries are looking for a magic button to push to increase giving by asking why the board does not provide more; how about more direct mail appeals, more or bigger challenge grants, or a bigger vision to get the resources into the ministry?

Could it be that most ministry leaders do not see the kind of support for their ministry because they are not setting an example by giving themselves?

I would challenge you to answer these three questions:


Are you personally and financially generously supporting the cause for which you are asking others to help?

Jesus Christ shows us the ultimate example of generosity and challenges us to conform to His image.

“A pupil is not above his teacher, but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher.”

Luke 6:40

How about you? If you are not on a personal journey of becoming more generous, it will be difficult to equip others and ask them to be generous with more financial resources. As spiritual leaders, we cannot attempt to develop other spiritual disciplines in our lives yet neglect generosity…nor take others on a journey toward generosity that we are not on ourselves.

A few years ago, I was asked to provide support training for a large mission organization. About one hundred missionaries from all over the world joined their executive team to learn how they could raise more financial support. After pointing out that it starts with you, the CEO asked the group, “How many of you support this ministry financially?” Only a handful of arms were raised. The CEO was in disbelief and wanted to know why. Most were silent, but one missionary stood up and said, “We are called to serve here but not give.” Again, shock from the CEO. I doubt that this is an unusual scenario. How about you and your organization? Do you believe that generosity starts with you?


Are you striving to be more generous in all areas of your life?

David provided us guidance to this question in 1 Chronicles when he wrote:

” And now, because of my devotion to the Temple of my God, I am giving all my own private treasures of gold and silver to help in the construction. This is in addition to the building materials I have already collected for his holy Temple.”

1 Chronicles 29:3

As a Christian leader, David was all in with his generosity to the cause. How about you? Is it possible that the lack of financial resources and diminished impact on others is because of your lack of generosity? As scripture instructs, it starts with you getting your own life in order.

For example, in my own life, I realized that how I steward reflects my spiritual maturity and the development of my soul. I learned this after reading God and Your Stuff by Dr. Wesley Willmer. Once I embraced that truth, I immediately became a significant steward of the ministry I sought others to support. My wife and I wanted to ensure we lived what we asked others to.


Do you view your giving as a spiritual worship activity to God?

At the core of transforming our generosity along these lines (within the context of a materialistic culture), we are to fully embrace that giving is a spiritual act of worship to God as we seek to become rich toward God. You come to realize and educate your constituents that:

  • God is the owner and provider of all, not your constituents:  When we embrace this, we pursue God vs. any individual for our needs.
  • Constituents are often called donors: Referring to constituents as donors vs. partners or champions diminishes their value in the Kingdom.
  • As followers of Christ, we are to be faithful stewards of what God provides:  The reason God entrusts us with His things in this world is so that we can be “faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms” (I Peter 4:10)
  • Our goal should be to develop mature stewards who are rich toward God rather than hunting transactions to get more money. Giving is both a gift and a spiritual discipline. We should approach each person with a view of discipleship and how we can encourage them to invest more in eternal matters. 
  • God will hold us eternally accountable and reward us for our faithful stewardship in Heaven. As noted in the book Stuff and Soul, Mastering the Critical Connection, as we embrace the command of our Lord, we can enter more fully into the Joy of our Master (Matt. 25:21).

If you are experiencing a lack of fruit in your money raising, I encourage you to begin with yourself. Are you setting the example in your financial giving in a way that sets the example for others? Ask those same questions of your board members, ministry leaders, elders, etc., and focus there for a season. You may be surprised at what is revealed in those transparent conversations, but do not fear having them. Once you have worked through these things personally and with your leadership team, you can begin your journey outwards and engage others.

As followers of Christ, we must strive daily to conform to the image of Christ. Christ gave all…He gave all to His Father’s calling and mission and asked us to do the same. We have the perfect example in Christ and many stories of how He lived this out day-to-day. The Church should be setting an example of generosity for the world. But, to impact the world, we must start within…we must examine our journey of generosity and make course corrections. Then, we will experience a fruitful journey as you disciple others along their journey of generosity.


Chris McDaniel is the Vice President of Sales for vTECH io and a LtCol in the U.S. Air Force Reserves. He is also the author of  Ignite Your Generosity — A 21-Day Experience in Stewardship (IVP Books, 2015).

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