From the beginning of this nation, charitable giving has hovered around the 2-3% average of personal income. All the transactional and cultural techniques have not significantly increased our generosity for 200+ years. We need a revolution . . .a transformation for increased generosity!
Surveys validate that an understanding of the truth “God owns it all” is a key factor in donation generosity. Once a person recognizes that they are a steward and that God is the owner, they tend to take more seriously the handling of resources. Additionally, asking the “owner” for direction and guidance of the use of these resources becomes increasingly a pattern and then common place. That’s revolution . . .that’s transformation!
This should be the goal of a development program; to be based on a Biblical model of “philanthropy”. Not based on a cultural definition of philanthropy which most often means man-helping-man; but philanthropos (Titus 3:4) of God reaching down to guide/help/transform man . . .resulting in generosity as Christ is generous.
“Money can never become the seat of true philanthropy . . .impact and effectiveness do not define philanthropy’s width and breadth. Comprehensive friendship, love and beneficent, direct relationship (with God and our fellow man) must ever remain the foundations of the discipline.” (our development effort) The Whole Offering, Eric Foley (words in parenthesis are mine)
As a result of applying these truths, I have found three concepts, described by three words, to act as a litmus test as to how well we are exhorting our partners to seek after and obey God’s directives concerning His resources.
I ask myself: if a stranger approaches any of our partners, would the partners express that they are treated with dignity? Do they feel a worth beyond just their wealth or what they give?
Are our partners free to make a decision just between them and God? Is it our consistent practice to NOT step in between God and a potential partner? Are expectations of giving eliminated?
Although this is normally a term used in right to life issues, the word does mean preciousness. Would our partners describe our relationship as precious; apart from the money?
I challenge you to consider these concepts and use them to evaluate how you are doing on the road less traveled!
Rich Haynie is the director of Donor Relations for OC International. OC International is an interdenominational faith mission in structure, interc-hurch in ministry, and international in vision. With more than 500 missionaries, OC is involved in evangelism, discipleship, leadership training, church growth, missions, and support services.
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