Based upon: our extravagantly generous God, the Giver of every good gift, the Source of life and love! (Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations, pp. 108-9)
A Congregation that Practices Extravagant Generosity:
1. Thrives with the joy of abundance instead of the fear of scarcity
2. Encourages members to grow in the grace of giving
3. Shows extraordinary support for missions, connectional giving, and changing lives
4. Teaches, learns, adapts behavior, and practices proportional giving
Personal Joy of Giving:
1. Focuses on giving in the giver’s walk of faith
2. Connects our giving to a clear sense of mission
3. Offers year-round participation in changing lives, reaching out, and offering significant mission
[The behaviors above are listed and described in Bishop Robert Schnase’s book Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations]
What the Bible Says About These Behaviors
[Examples provided by Betsy Schwarzentraub]
About Thriving with the Joy of Abundance. . .
+ 2 Corinthians 8:1-6 – The Macedonian challenge: giving ourselves first
+ 2 Corinthians 9:6-10 – Hilarious giving; enough and more to share; God’s multiplication (of our gifts)
+ Luke 6:38 – Give, and it will be given to you, overflowing and shaken together!
+ Matthew 25:14-30 – Graced giving: jumping in with our lives
+ Luke 19:1-10 – Developing a “Gratitude Attitude”
About Growing in the Grace of Giving . . .
+ Exodus 36 – More than enough (the Bible’s first capital campaign)
+ Acts 5:1-11 – When we try to cheat God: it’s not the amount, but the truthfulness
+ 2 Corinthians 9:6-10 – Generous giving enriches the giver and overflows with many thanksgivings to God
+ 1 Corinthians 12:1-13 – “Use it or lose it” – spiritual gifts for the church
About Showing Extraordinary Support for Missions, Connectional Ministry, and Changing Lives. . .
+ Acts 2:42-47 – Economics for life: supporting missional community
+ 2 Corinthians 8:1-14 – The first Apportionments; begging to be part of God’s action
+ Luke 16:1-13 – Surprising stewardship: reducing people’s debts
About Practicing Proportional Giving . . .
+ 2 Chronicles 31:4-10 – Abundantly giving our firstfruits – and having heaps left over for even more ministry
+ Luke 21:1-4 – When a little is more than a lot
+ Matthew 23:23-24 – Give 10% but also deal with the “weightier matters” (justice, mercy and faith)
About Giving in the Giver’s Walk of Faith . . .
+ Luke 12:32-34 – When you give significantly, your heart goes there, too
+ 2 Corinthians 8:9 – The generous act of Jesus Christ; he became poor, that we might become rich
+ Luke 14:25-33 – Plan in advance; give up your possessions
+ Ephesians 5:15-20 – Living God’s priorities; give thanks for everything; make the most of the time
+ 1 Corinthians 3:21-4:2 – Stewards of God’s mysteries: the gospel and everything else
About Giving to a Clear Sense of Mission . . .
+ Matthew 28:16-20 – Don’t just “Do something:” giving ourselves as part of God’s plan
+ Acts 1:6-8 – Firsthand witnessing in God’s wider and wider circles
+ 2 Corinthians 3:2-3 – Let the way you live be a living letter from God to the world
About Year-Round Participation in Changing Lives, Reaching Out, and Offering
Significant Mission . . .
+ Luke 9:57-62 – No more business-as-usual: proclaim God’s Reign
+ Matthew 22:34-40 – God’s great reversal (love God through your neighbor)
+ Luke 16:19-31 – Bridging the gulf between rich and poor – Do it now!
+ Luke 10:29-37 – Going all out for a stranger