5 Ways Young Church Leaders Can Model Generosity (Beyond Giving Money)
Davina Adcock | March 29, 2019
You’ve probably heard quite a few sermons on generosity at your church—and with good reason. Giving is critical for the church’s survival, and as a younger leader, it’s important for you to model generosity well for your peers and set an example of how joyful self-sacrifice can be.
At the same time, you may have a ton of student debt to deal with, work at an entry-level job, while also taking care of a young family. The call to be generous can sound daunting.
But generosity isn’t limited to the dollars donated to your church.
Being open-handed with wealth is an important marker of spiritual maturity and all of us should be generous with our money. But there are other important ways young leaders can live radically generous lives.
Here are five ways young leaders can practice generosity beyond donating money to their church.
1. Skills and Talents
Maybe you started serving at your church through the coffee or teardown team and now you’re more settled in as a leader. Are there other opportunities for you to serve or lead? Do you have a knack for working with kids, blogging, videography, or even web design? Lend your skills and talents to your church by looking for opportunities to contribute on other teams. You’ve worked diligently to refine your skills—now give them away to your ministry. For many seasoned leaders in the church, it’s common practice to learn from the business world and donate those world-class skills to their church after a decade or two of work experience. Get a headstart. As you continue to learn and grow, take as many opportunities as you can to reach out to other church leaders and find a place where your skills can truly make a difference.
You’ve probably benefited at some point from someone else putting you in touch with the right person to help give you a leg up. Maybe you’ve had a mentor who helped connect you with a pre-marital counselor or a small group you now love. Now it’s your turn. As you interact with tons of great people at your church, take note of what they do, the role they play in your ministry, and ask them if they’re okay with being connected with others in the church. The next time you meet someone who just moved from out of town, are looking for a Bible study, or just need help buying a new car, be generous with your network to connect them to the right person (if you’re unable to help). In this way, you’re giving the people you serve access to not just your attention and resources, but other people who can also lend a hand to those who need it.
We’re all busy. So being generous with your time can feel almost as challenging as being generous with your money. However, being open and sacrificial with your time makes you more available to serve, speak into, and work with the people in your church and the wider community. When being generous with your time, think through the needs of your community, and consider making yourself available to serve where that need is. Maybe you do a lot of ministry work during the weekend, but your neighborhood food pantry is often short-staffed on Tuesdays and Thursdays. If possible, step forward and volunteer on behalf of your church and ask a few people to join you. But be sure to protect family and quiet time. It’s easy to get very wrapped up in helping a friend move late into the night or stay on a 3-hour call with someone who just lost their job. Make sure to check in with your family so they are well attended to.
Resources can mean a number of things. It can mean time and money, but it can also include an extra room in your apartment, use of a spare car, or even an inflatable pool you have in storage. It’s easy to quickly have a lot of things lying around but not always easy to make good use of those things. This is an excellent opportunity for you to be generous—and radically so. If you hear of a need you can reasonably meet with something you have, consider lending out your things or simply giving them away. This is a challenging ask, but it’s a great opportunity to make sure a single dad has access to a vehicle when his is in the shop or give away your weed eater to a small business owner when you buy new lawn care equipment. Maybe you think you don’t have much, but passing along a jacket or a lamp can make the world of difference to the people around you.
You might think you don’t have a ton of experience or wisdom. But I have a secret for you: You probably know a lot more than the people younger than you or even your peers at school or at work. You’ve probably been given great advice and mentorship along the way. But even if you haven’t, mentorship is a great way to be generous with what you know.
Start early. Mentorship isn’t just for wizened older members of the church. Identify someone you think could benefit from what you’ve learned along the way. Maybe it’s a younger version of yourself who could use a little guidance. Or maybe a peer at work who has unanswered questions about the Bible. Take that person out to coffee, get to know them, and ask God for guidance. Not everyone you meet with or befriend will be in the position to accept or appreciate mentorship. But a few people will. If you have the bandwidth, meet with at most two people weekly and just talk with them. Answer the questions you can, and for the tougher questions, pass them on to someone who can better help. Being generous with your knowledge and experience ensures that what you know doesn’t live and die with you, but gets passed along to help others.
Generosity is a truly beautiful thing. As you dedicate time and effort to being a better leader at your ministry, keep generosity close at hand. It’s not only a sanctifying practice but helps you become the type of servant leader your community needs.
Not prioritizing generosity is one of the pitfalls within a ministry that can hurt its ability to fulfill its mission. To discover the other red flags you should watch out for, download the free ebook, 5 Bad Habits That Kill Church Growth (And How To Avoid Them) today.