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 www.cokesbury.com), 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.
Building a Generosity Plan by Betsy Schwarzentraub is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
*Rev. Dr. Betsy Schwarzentraub is the author of Stewardship: Nurturing Generous Living and Afire With God: Becoming Spirited Stewards. She is a consultant in Stewardship and Generosity and led workshops around our Conference in 2012, sponsored by the Yellowstone Conference Stewardship office and United Methodist Foundation.