What is Holistic Generosity?

John Richardson

When you hear the word “generosity,” what comes to mind? Finances? If that’s your first thought, you are not alone. Generosity and money are intimately connected. But, what happens when you unleash generosity from the confines of money?

Let me give you a simple example of what this looks like in some churches.

SEE ALSO: What Would Good Friday Look Like without Generosity?

Highland Colony decided to expand generosity beyond the money conversation. They decided to reimagine Vacation Bible School as a vehicle for generous living. Therefore, they moved the long standing VBS programs outside the walls of the church. Instead of asking the community to come to them, they went to the community…with food, jump houses, live music, stories of God and outstretched arms. As the Children’s Ministry led the way, other ministries within the church offered support and help whenever they could. The Music Department canceled practices in order to free up their people for this event. Others dedicated time to prayer and spreading word about this through the community.

Through this one simple shift in their annual programming, Highland Colony started moving toward the practice of holistic generosity. They invested in a neighborhood with both their time and their lives.

SEE ALSO: Do Your Money Habits Reflect Jesus or the Pharisees?

That may sounds like a very typical community outreach event to you, but think through the implications with me.

Through this event, Highland Colony was generous on many levels…only a few of which involved money. That’s what holistic generosity is all about.  It may involve finances, but it is not limited to the financial realm.

SEE ALSO: The Trouble over Vanishing Charitable Deductions

Want a more directly Biblical way to think about it?  Look at the life of Jesus.

He spent entire days ministering to the sick and hurting of local villages (Mark 1:21-34). He prayed for his disciples and followers (John 17:6-26). He touched those who were “untouchable” because of diseases (Matthew 8:3). He spoke to the outcasts and women of no standing (John 4:1-26, 8:1-11). He fed the hungry (John 6:1-13). He healed those “outside the walls” of Jewish life (Mark 7:24-30). He was kind to the ungrateful and wicked (Luke 6:35). He gave his life for his enemies (Luke 23).

SEE ALSO: Imprisoned by Comfort

Most of those things had very little to do with money. Jesus was generous in a holistic way.

Maybe it’s time for us to unleash our churches from the generosity and finances box. Maybe it’s time for us to look at the fullness of this subject. Maybe it’s time to preach, teach and celebrate generosity in a whole new…holistic…way.

SEE ALSO: Are You Spending All Your Money on Yourself?

This article originally appeared on GenerousChurch.com. Used with permission.

GenerousChurch helps leaders like you release generosity in your church through leadership development, campaigns, and culture change. Our books, online learning, coaching, events, and web resources will help you expand the impact of your leaders, change your money conversation, and grow the giving capacity of your people. We partner with National Christian Foundation, along with other ministry alliances.

SEE ALSO: 4 Things that Drive us Away from Generosity

Publication date: September 22, 2014

Image courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com

share this

tweet it

More from Crosswalk

Loading ...