A Generous Church

Before coming home to Jacksonville, I spent one additional day at Buckhead Church attending some meetings about developing a culture of generosity in our church. It was incredibly provoking, especially following on the heels of our decision to begin giving 2% of our Sunday offerings to our strategic partner in Merida, Mexico.

There’s no doubt that God is calling us as Christ-followers to share what we have. Sometimes that means giving to the local church, sometimes that means giving to the world’s poor through incredible organizations like Compassion, Samaritan’s Purse or World Vision, and sometimes that means giving as a church toward strategic church initiatives around the country and around the world.

Before we even launched Access, one of the written goals for the church was “a culture of generosity.” I want to be surrounded with people that see the world as bigger than themselves.

The highlight for me? Listening to Andy Stanley share some very personal stories of what stewardship looks like for Sandra and him. They are his stories to share, so I won’t repeat them here, but suffice it to say that time and time again I am so glad to be aligned with him, both personally and organizationally. If you haven’t met him, let me assure you—he’s the real deal. If you stripped him of his gift for making the Bible understandable and applicable, if you stripped him of his communication ability, if you stripped him of his quick wit and likeability, you’d be left with what I really love about this guy—he takes his own medicine! When our lives match our message, it’s called integrity. Andy & Sandra wrestle with stewarding their influence and their resources in very personal ways. It was awesome!

Here’s the big takeaway for church leaders reading this blog… Do you have the moral authority to lead your church in this area of generosity? Is there anything about how you steward your money that you wouldn’t want your church to emulate?

Stephanie and I decided from the beginning that Access Church would be the number one financial priority for our family. I can’t ask anyone else to be generous if we don’t lead the way. And you know what? Sometimes it hurts. But God has been faithful and we have been blessed more than ever this past year by others being generous to us. It’s amazing what happens when you recognize that all you have came from God in the first place and trust him to take care of your financial future!

It was also a nice surprise to see five other partnerships represented here and connect with what God’s doing in their churches.

Bonus: Running into Steven Furtick in the hall and telling him how much I enjoy his blog. He was running with his boys Chunks Corbett and Eric Phillips. Their team is rocking Charlotte!

Posted February 12, 2008

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