One can imagine, that on occasion (surely those occasions are rare), there are whispers, grumblings, or indifference to matters centered around giving, church budgets, annual campaigns, or money in general.
But grumblings or not, frequent whispers or not, generosity matters.
Spiritually, generosity matters for a multitude of reasons for churches and its members. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16) Generosity matters because it is a response of gratitude and our love for God.
Congregational generosity matters because it is central to Christian discipleship and part of the membership vows of The United Methodist Church. In Acts 2 and 4 in the early church, the new believers generously shared their possessions with one another, so none would be in need. Giving causes an outward focus which leads to community, transformation, and unity.
God uses the church and believers as a conduit for sharing and spreading resources for the good of kingdom. Giving honors God and transforms the heart of the giver. Further, it is an indicator of a congregation’s health. Without gifting from members it is difficult for churches to do ministry, be impactful, and most importantly spread the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Apostle Paul’s writings in II Corinthians Chapters 8 and 9, are the most continuous writing on giving in the Bible. Also, they are probably the most encouraging and inspiring readings on generosity. The Macedonian Church modeled exceptional generosity even in their poverty. They gave out of their poverty to help support the struggling church in Jerusalem. Congregations and individuals who experience a spirit of generosity are able to model and inspire a culture of generosity that will revitalize the church and ensure necessary resources are available to do ministry and serve others.
So why does generosity matters for churches? It is simple. We worship an awesome, generous God, who supplies all of our needs in Christ Jesus, and generosity is our intentional response. Paul said, in I Timothy 6:18, “Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing share.” That is why generosity matters for churches!