"[Giving] is a very rich and beautiful activity. It is a confident, joyful and hope-filled expression of ministry. In ministering to each other, each from the riches that he or she possesses, we work together for the full coming of God's Kingdom." - Henri Nouwen

Giving and mission are so closely related within the life of the Church - one cannot exist without the other. Generosity lies at the heart of the Gospel, in fact it's possible to read the entire Bible as a narrative of giving as we see God's love overflow into giving. And so giving itself is missional, as we express the nature of God to those around us, and enable our churches to be Christ in the world. Our own outpouring of love leads us to minister to one another, which is the foundation of missional giving.

Missional Giving

There are three principle reasons why we give to our churches:

  1. We give as a spiritual commitment, in response to God's generosity, as part of our discipleship.
  2. We give because we can see the difference our giving makes in supporting the community and through mission.
  3. We give to care for our place of worship, which speaks of our faith and enables us to welcome and be hospitable to one another.

In short, we give out of faith, hope and love, and adopting this mind-set towards missional giving allows us to open up our conversations beyond "we need to pay the bills", to "we have a mission, help us to achieve it."

Faith - Giving Programmes are a really good platform to explore giving as a faithful commitment to God (discipleship), a response to God’s generosity (thanksgiving), and an opportunity to resource the growth of the church (mission). It is worth asking what your giving practice says about our faith as a church community.

Hope - Parish churches are often the most active sources of community and charity in their local area. This involves the giving of ourselves (churches and individuals) through service, hospitality and many other ways. It is worth asking how your church wants to bring hope to your community - whatever the answer, it will be unique to your church and therefore a unique way for your church community to both support, and be a part of, bringing that hope through expressions of giving and generosity.

Love - We love because God first loved us, and because God's love is gifted love, our love needs to be expressed through giving as well. When we give in a Christian context, it is an outpouring of love. So when we talk about regular giving we are, above all else, asking our communities to respond to, and in, love. Through financial giving we support and grow God’s mission, a tangible expression of love for the future of the church.

Building a Culture of Missional Giving

Giving is a ministry itself, not a response to a crisis, and so we should be encouraged to find ways to embed generosity in the life of our churches. Here are some ways we can build a culture of missional giving.

Nurturing Missional Giving - reflect on the five stages of nurturing giving, and how we can journey through these as a community.

The first step is, ‘what do I do with my money?’ – which is quite simple. This is mine, I’ve earned it, what do I want to do with it? The second step is how we progress to, ‘what do I want to do with the money God has given to me?’, which bring an acknowledgement that God has given us those resources as gift. The third stage is, ‘what does God want me to do with what God has given to me?’. This stage brings us into the mind set that not only has God given us these gifts, but he might also have plans for them which we need to discern in order for us to live a generous life. The forth step is, ‘what does God want me to give from what God has given me?. So we’ve moved here toward not only thinking about what we do, but how much we are willing to give away. And so that fifth and final stage is, ‘what does God want me to keep from what has given to me?’. We’ve moved from seeing things as ours, to being stewards of God’s resources, called to reflect on how we are blessed in order to be a blessing, and are given gifts in order to give them away.

Move from scarcity to abundance - this is a process of moving from a place of reluctance to engage in mission because the resource isn't there, to one of discerning the mission to which we are called and then grow to resource it. A model of abundance recognises and celebrates the generosity we see in our churches and releases the giving that is there, providing good communication and grounded in prayer. Regularly thanking people is also an important aspect of building a model of abundance.

Growing generous disciples - finding the resources we need for mission begins with our spiritual health. We can grow generous disciples in a number of ways, including sharing our experiences of our generous God, embracing our giving as part of who we are (not a part of what we do), articulating our stories of generosity to build God’s kingdom on earth, and being transformed so God can transform others through us.

Missional budgeting - It's worth reflecting on how you shape your church budget. A budget-shaped mission might look like finances are decided first and then vision for mission is set according to what can be afforded, whereas a mission-shaped budget is where your parish has a vision for mission and sets a budget to enable that. It calls into question how your vision for mission features in your priorities for expenditure.

Build trust - people are more likely to give missionally if they understand where their money goes, and have the confidence that the church will look after their gift and use it wisely. Communication is really important here through explaining need and the missional outcomes of giving, as well as thanking people regularly.

Webinar Recording

This is a recording of an hour-long webinar on Giving and Mission, presented in March 2021.