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God is doing something in the realm of stewardship right now. Patrick Johnson of GenerousChurch has seen it firsthand. Pastors are seeing the need for stewardship training, and many people are hungry for it.
There are two key areas that have helped to open pastors’ eyes.
One is that budgets have been flat or down for most churches lately. “That’s been a good wake-up call,” Patrick said. Leaders want to address the issue, get leaner, and get rid of church debt as a result. “It’s like when we get overweight and it finally starts to bug us enough to do something about it.”
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The other is a shift from focusing on what you’re taking in to where it’s going. There’s a more external focus. “Bigger barns are not where it’s at anymore.” He knows of some churches that are working toward a 50-50 model that involves giving away half of what comes in.
Focusing on the Gospel
Not focusing on building buildings or raising funds frees us to focus on the biblical meaning of stewardship. Yes, giving is a factor, but maybe not in the way so many think about it.
Patrick encourages church leaders that the tithe is just the starting point of generosity. He says that most people could tithe in our culture. If their boss came in and cut their income by 10%, most people wouldn’t go bankrupt! “I think we need to go way past the tithe.”
Two of the most famous passages on giving (2 Corinthians 8 and 9) don’t talk about the tithe. “They compare giving to Christ’s sacrificial gift. They compare giving to churches that were in poverty but gave out of their own need.”
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A church can have a history of giving without being generous. “Generous churches are led by generous people,” he said. “Start living it out. You can’t take people where you haven’t been.”
Above all, Patrick reminds us to focus on the gospel. It’s motivating to be led by a generous pastor who focuses on the gospel.
“Somebody said, ‘If you stare at Jesus long enough, you’ll become a giver; if you give long enough, you’ll become more like Christ,’” he said. “I believe that if you stare at the cross long enough, you’ll be a giver.”
Dave Ramsey has created a program called Momentum to help churches teach their congregations what it means to live out biblical generosity. Momentum is all about bringing people back to God’s view of money management and cultivating a culture of lasting generosity. Discover today how Momentum can help your congregation.
More About Patrick Johnson
How generous is your church? It’s not an easy question to answer, but Patrick Johnson of GenerousChurch has helped churches all over the country become more generous. Patrick also shares a helpful look at five attributes of a generous church in this video.