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Generous Living

An exploration of how we can inspire and activate a whole-life generosity by being disciples who see the abundance in our communities and embed missional giving.

Inspiring, Discipleship, Embedding and Activating

“[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 God’s gifts of love overflow into our giving. When we graciously express the nature of our generous God to those around us, giving becomes a joy and missional, thus enabling our churches to be Christ in the world. Our own outpouring of love leads us to actively care for one another, which is the foundation of missional giving.

Missional Giving

There are three principal 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 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; it’s where communities can gather and live out generous lives together.

In short, we give out of faith, hope and love. Adopting this mind-set towards whole-life giving allows us to open up our conversations beyond “we need to pay the bills”, to “we want to create a generous community, please join with us to resource it.”


Giving Programmes are a helpful starting point 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 your faith as a church community.


Parish churches are often the most active conduits of community building and inspiring hope in local areas. This involves the giving of ourselves (churches and individuals) through meaningful relationships, wholesome conversations, 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 personal way for your community to both support each other and be part of bringing much needed hope through graciously sharing of skills, experience, time and resources.


We are able to love because God first graciously loved us, and because God’s love is gifted to us, ours needs to be expressed through freely giving too. When we embed living generously in a Christian context, it follows that our resources are shared joyfully. One aspect of our resources is through financial giving to support and grow God’s mission in a tangible expression of love for the future of our church communities. Regular giving demonstrates to a watching world that we are committed to being loving disciples and, above all else, inviting our communities to join with us.

Building a Culture of Missional Giving

Giving is a tangible way that people experience Jesus’ love for themselves, it does not have to be a response to a crisis. We are to be encouraged to find ways to embed generosity in our church communities in a sustainable and life-enhancing ways. Here are some ideas for building a culture of missional giving.

Nurturing Missional Giving

Take time to think about our relationship with money

We can move from seeing money through a ‘self-service lens’ to understanding that we are called to be blessed by God in order to be a blessing to others. We are given skills and gifts to gift them away. Missional giving is grounded in love and transforms our mindsets from only giving to the work of the church from what is left, to giving God the ‘first fruits’ of our earnings in a planned way. 

Move from scarcity to abundance

See church as a place full of resources, not need

This is a process of moving from a place of reluctance to engaging in mission we are called to 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

Spiritual health illuminates the resources we need for mission

We can grow generous disciples in several 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), communicating our stories of generosity to build God’s kingdom on earth, and being transformed so God can transform others through us. We share what we have as individuals with our church community so that we can work together to show Christ to the world and collectively express His love.

Missional budgeting

It’s worth reflecting on how we shape our church budget. 

Do we prioritise a ‘budget-shaped mission’ that might look like finances are decided first and then the vision for mission is set according to what can be afforded? Or do we have a ‘mission-shaped budget’, where our parish has a vision for mission and sets a budget to enable that? It may call into question how our vision for mission features in our priorities for expenditure.

Build trust

It’s worth thinking about how transparent we are about our finances

It is said, people are more likely to give missionally if they understand where their money goes. This builds trust and the church community will have the confidence that our churches are looking after their gift and using it wisely. Communication is vital here, by inviting the church to be involved in decision making, explaining the need and the missional outcomes of giving, as well as thanking people regularly.