I just read a draft that spotlights several of our First Church members who generously shared their personal perspective on giving. I hope you will take time to read it when it comes out in an upcoming issue of the CONNECT Magazine.
My immediate reaction was one of pride and admiration. The common thread for all was that they choose to give to FUMCFW as a part of their discipleship and because of their love for God and their desire to make a difference in the lives of others.
Each of them is a “Thoughtful Giver” and I believe that they may even be “Gifted Givers.” Let me explain.
Dr. R. Mark Dillon identified four basic types of givers in his book, Giving and Getting in the Kingdom.
The Reluctant Giver finds talking about giving annoying and believes that “my money is my business.” Dillon states that as much as 50% of a church’s community could be made up of reluctant givers.
The Casual Giver represents about 25% of the congregation who views giving as an obligation. They recognize that they have a stewardship responsibility and will act on it on occasion. “How much of my money should I give” is the question that drives their giving.
The Thoughtful Giver is aware of God’s influence in their life and in their acquisitions. They receive pleasure and joy in giving but also choose to give because they believe it is expected of them as a follower of Jesus Christ. Their gifts are based on current income, their current situation and the nature of the appeal. “How much money should I give back to Him?” is the determining factor for the thoughtful giver. I agree with Dillon when he suggests that approximately 20% of a congregation can be described as thoughtful givers.
The Gifted Giver is not identified by the size of their gifts, nor their age, stage of life, or net worth, but rather by their attitude on giving. They are the 5% of the church community who asks, “How much of God’s money should I keep?” rather than pondering “Should I give?” or “How much do I need to give?” They are the persons who find immense joy in giving and are secure in their life, knowing that God always adequately provides. They are the type of giver who gives confidently and gratefully.
A light bulb moment happened recently for me when I was in The Gathering. In his current sermon series “Fear,” Rev. Lance Marshall addressed the fear of not being enough or having enough. No doubt this is a fear which can stop a person in their tracks. In the context of giving, we might use the fear of not having enough as an excuse not to give.
The Gifted Giver has conquered that fear. How? By taking the power away from money so it does not control you. To quote Rev. Marshall, “when your life is in pursuit of God and God’s Kingdom, by virtue of that, there will always be enough . . . If you live with Christ at the center of your life the message you will hear from the moment you awake to the moment you lay down your head is ‘I am enough for you’.”
Knowing that Christ is enough not only brings you comfort and security but will also bring you joy and unbounded generosity. Paul explains in his letter to the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 9:11-12:
You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous in every way. Such generosity produces thanksgiving to God through us. Your ministry of this service to God’s people isn’t only fully meeting their needs but it is also multiplying in many expressions of thanksgiving to God.
— 2 Corinthians 9:11-12
What type of giver are you? I know which one I want to be. Call me if you would like to talk more about it.
Director of Stewardship