Building a Generosity Plan


You don’t have to be a left-brain thinker to get a multiple-step project done. Whether you’re personally a natural list-maker or a spontaneous doer, you still need a plan to affect positive change in the church. Especially if you want to work as a team, or even just get along with the other church leaders.

Not that every great idea requires a plan. If it’s a single event, you may be able to pull it off spontaneously. But if you want to change the congregational ethos – to shift the mindset from fear of scarcity to trust in God’s abundance, for example – it takes a long-term perspective and multiple ways to address it.

So how do you get started on a plan? Begin by looking for people who have a personal passion for reflecting God’s generosity by the way they live. They model generous-hearted living, whether it’s with their time or involvement, their prayer life or advocacy, money, relationships, or possessions. Choose people of different ages, backgrounds and cultures. Then make individual visits to invite them to join a Generosity Team. After you have no more than six people, get them together to share some common resources and develop a plan for your congregation.

The new United Methodist Guidelines booklet, Stewardship: Nurturing Generous Living (from, gives your team a common basis from which to work, a process to follow, and some Scriptures and questions to discuss as you explore your common understandings of holistic generosity. The booklet will help you start with two key ingredients for your plan: teaching first fruits living, and helping people get control of their family finances. (Don’t worry; some outstanding resources are listed from which you can choose.)

Then work your way through ten essential elements for building a Generosity Plan that suits your unique congregation. Your approach will be a design that fits your local church, as you think about each of those factors. You can start small and add to your plan as you learn from your experiences.

If you have any questions or would like to share how it’s going, please contact me (the author). Let me know how it goes! I’d love to share your successes and learnings with other congregations.

Betsy Schwarzentraub, consultant

Written 2/2013 for Susquehanna Conference (PA) UM Stewardship Foundation
Building a Generosity Plan by Betsy Schwarzentraub is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


Generosity – “E” for Energy


When we live generously, the “E” stands for energy: an interior energy that comes from God, and the mutual energy of giving to and receiving from others as part of a faith community.

The Greek word for energy means “effective activity.” It describes being vividly alive, productive and in active service. In the New Testament, the term denotes a power greater than merely human will, and most often comes from God. For example, the term is used for God’s work within and among us, for the power of prayer, and for faith working through love in our lives.

Such generous energy moves around us these days at Foothills UMC. We see people who are vital, alive, purposeful and effective as they teach young children, creatively engage youth, lead adult Sunday school classes, and guide midweek study groups. They pass on basic life skills, feed and assist homeless guests, pray for and visit individuals, engage one another in caring conversations, and prepare for and lead in worship.

Your generosity exudes energy that is both contagious and radiant. Thank you for all the ways you model it by the way that you live!

Your partner in ministry,
Betsy Schwarzentraub


Written 2/2013 for Foothills UMC, Rescue, CA