By Justin Rossow
Did you know we all have different giving styles? Just like your fingerprints and tastebuds have unique patterns, the way you give generously and joyfully is expressed in unique ways.
I shared just a little about the different giving styles at our Celebration and Giving Extravaganza. Even if you weren’t there, you can take part in this celebration of generosity by giving online. But before you do, consider which of these styles describes your heart for giving.
For some of us, giving generously is tied directly to how well we feel our family is taken care of. First we seek to make sure all of our family needs are met, and then we will be very generous with the rest. Some family-first givers can be very generous indeed! But only once they know their family is well provided for.
Pastor Dan shared at the dinner how grateful he was for the support of his faith family after the recent passing of his mother. Dan recounted the love and support the St. Luke family continues to give him in this time of grief. Our faith family is a wonderful gift from God intended to support, love, challenge, and grow us. If you are a family first giver, please help make sure your St. Luke family is taken care of. We can’t do what we do without your support.
For some of our faith family, giving is most generous and joyful when sense we are part of a team. These people like to share a common burden or move toward a common goal. If they look around and don’t see others pulling their own weight, they will be much less likely to give with joy. But if we are all in this together, they will do all they can to make sure they get a chance to be a part of something big.
Victor Minetola, the interim site leader at ULC, shared some thoughts on the ups and downs of the last year. He clearly saw God’s hand at work in our faith community as well as in individuals, in both good times and bad. God has showered us with grace upon grace, and people have continued to respond what Jesus is doing in our midst.
As I look around at both staff and lay people, I see a real commitment to moving forward and being a part of God’s Kingdom advance. Almost 90 people showed up for the Celebration and Giving Dinner and we have already raised almost $60,000 to help us implement the mission and ministry of the St. Luke multisite. If you are wondering if others are sharing the burden for what it takes to move us toward our common goal, the answer is a resounding yes!
The need to make a meaningful impact drives both joy and generosity for some givers. It’s a special joy to see your gift at work and making a real difference if you have this giving style. Although you can and often do give regularly, you give with them most enthusiasm when you know the impact of your gift.
At the event I shared a story that summed up the impact of our giving. A young, pregnant mother of two and her husband caught me right before Easter worship. It seems their lives had been touched by our Parents Night Out program, where we provide care for special needs kids so Mom and Dad can have some time together.
This young couple was overwhelmed by the fact that our special needs ministry went over and above the call of duty to provide care during the Rock Your Marriage retreat this last March. That kind of commitment and compassion drove them to explore our congregation more. The Mom wanted to know more about baptism because she grew up without any church background; the Dad had grown up in a church, but admitted he had wandered pretty far.
“God used that marriage retreat to call me back,” he said, brushing aside a tear. “We’re here now. What do we do next?”
Do you ever wonder if the offering you return to God for the mission and ministry of the St. Luke multisite has an impact? I have been here long enough to see real lives changed in deeply meaningful ways.
I was brought up to return a percentage of my income off the top as a way of expressing my dependence on God and my thankfulness for everything He gave me. For a long time, I thought this was the only way to give faithfully; then I thought it was the best way. Finally, I have begun to understand that givers with different styles can all give faithfully, tithe, be generous (or be stingy); all of us can express our joyful giving in different ways.
If you are a percentage-off-the-top giver, you might not have been excited to come to the giving event; I mean, why bother? You already have your yearly plan worked out. Giving events are geared more toward other styles of giving, right? (And giving events can even be viewed with some skepticism by percentage givers.)
But as someone who finds most joy and satisfaction in this giving style, I have found a way to let a giving-focused event support my discipleship walk. Last year, Miriam and I moved to Michigan. In the craziness of reestablishing routines, we had fallen behind on our percentage, off the top giving. So we used the event last year to catch up to where we felt God wanted us (challenged and equipped us) to be.
This year, we both agreed that giving an additional 1% over and above would be a way of expressing our thanks to God and our daily dependance on Jesus. If you are seeking to grow toward or beyond 10%, you can use an event like this to take a step forward and incorporate 1-2% into your routine next year.
Whatever your giving style, take a moment to consider how Jesus is inviting you to grow in the grace of giving. Perhaps this is a year where you are not able to take a large step forward; still take time to recommit your life and your giving patterns.
Perhaps God is calling you to give more joyfully or more generously; think about your giving style and how you might grow with the rest of the St. Luke family as we seek to follow Jesus and help others do the same.
Wherever you are and wherever Jesus is leading you, know that we are all on this journey together. Have I mentioned how much I love being one of your pastors?
Check out the video below. Special thanks to Andrew Osborne for all of his work putting this video together!