Celebrating 5 Types of Givers in Your Church: How to Inspire Transformational Generosity, Part 2
When Julie Bullock, Senior Generosity Strategy for Generis, guides leaders on how to inspire true, transformational giving in their church, she uses a “ham or eggs” model to illustrate the difference between transactional and transformational giving. Bullock discusses the high cost of output-focused giving. You can read about this in Part 1 of this two-part blog series on inspiring total generosity in your church.
Instead of focusing solely on outputs (amounts and/or percentages of giving) when it comes to giving in your church, leaders should focus their people on the heart condition and place of all givers who are exploring and growing in their own discipleship journey.
In this post, Bullock identifies five types of givers and how to celebrate generosity as part of their overall discipleship journey.
Focusing on Inputs
1. Initial Giver
An initial giver is someone who is just starting, giving a gift for the very first time, trusting God and the church with that gift. “We celebrate this giver regardless of the amount or percentage because if we miss this, we're never going to get people on this journey. Encourage those first steps,” Bullock says.
Get fresh insights and inspiration for how to increase generosity in your church, especially among Millennials.
2. Consistent Giver
The consistent giver is one who gives something, regardless of amount or percentage, on a regular basis. Bullock notes, “Many of our people aren't doing that because they're feeling defeated by their output. They're feeling like it doesn't matter because they have been made to feel that their output might be ‘too small’ in amount or percentage. They haven't been affirmed for the spiritual discipline of consistent giving.”
Have people in your church heard that consistency is a value? Have they heard it’s a biblical discipline just like prayer? “I don't want someone just giving once at the end of December, even if it's a very large amount. I want someone communing with God on a regular basis about their giving. I want it to actually impact their everyday lives, regardless of the amount or percentage,” says Bullock.
3. Intentional Giver
An intentional giver is someone who gives in relation to their other financial priorities. It may or may not be the largest amount, but it should be their highest priority. It comes first, and then other things are determined by that commitment.
“In Colossians 1 as the Apostle Paul speaks about the pre-eminence of Christ, we are reminded that all things should be by him, to him, through him, and for him,” says Bullock. “Very few people give in that way.”
To challenge people to grow into intentional givers, Bullock asks: “Does your giving drive your spending and your saving? Or does your spending and your saving drive your giving?”
4. Surrendered Giver
There is a directive God gives to all of us— that everything is his. We are stewards and managers. According to Bullock, the surrendered giver asks, "Am I honoring God with 100 percent of what he's given me?"
It’s not just about what God will give you in your income over the next few years, she shares. It’s about what God has already given you.
“For example,” Bullock says, “there is nothing wrong with having a house. In fact, there's nothing wrong with having a large home. The question becomes, are you honoring God with your home? For many of us, if you ask that question, the answer will be ‘yes, I am totally honoring God with my home. We have people in our home for a life group every week, and people can stay in our basement in our guest bedroom or our couch whenever they want.' Then don’t sell your house and give the money to the church. There is no need for that. Keep honoring God with your house!”
“But,” she shares, “if God reveals to you that you are in fact not honoring him with your house, then you have two choices: You can either redeem that resource and start honoring him with that house, or you can release that resource and get in a home you can honor him in. The surrendered giver knows that 100 percent of it is his, no matter what.”
5. Eternal Giver
The eternal giver has a longer tail of generosity in mind. The eternal giver is someone who is making decisions in his or her life, not just based on an annual decision or even a multi-year capital campaign or giving initiative. An eternal giver has a longer perspective and is thinking about each decision they make and the implications for it, not on earth, but in eternity.
When Bullock was about 26 years old, she heard a pastor and his wife talk about their lifetime giving goal. “They shared that by the time they were a certain age, I believe it was 80 years old, they wanted to give a certain amount away to kingdom causes. Think about what that would drive. That would drive so many of your decisions. It affects how long you keep your car. It affects the type of house you buy, how you save and/or how you don't save. It affects everything,” says Bullock.
An eternal giver thinks about the things of eternity as they give, not about the things of earth.
What are some ways you can celebrate the givers in your church? How can you help move people from transactional giving (like chickens) to transformative generosity (like pigs) and continue to move them along the giving journey?
About Julie Bullock
Senior Generosity Strategist, Generis
Julie Bullock has had experience in a wide variety of capacities influencing churches and organizations to embrace a culture of generosity. Prior to joining Generis, she served as the director of stewardship and generosity at Community Christian Church, a multisite church in Chicagoland. During that time she also served as the director of development for the NewThing network, Community’s church planting network, as a generosity coach to new church plants and churches desiring to go multisite. She has also served as the director of development for Wheaton College during their $160 million campaign and has led numerous generosity initiatives for churches scoping in size from $1M to $100M.
Julie holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business and Economics from Wheaton College, a Masters in Business Administration from Oklahoma State University, training and certification from R&R Newkirk in gift planning and charitable estate planning, and has earned her international certification as a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE). Julie and her husband Jud reside in the Tulsa, Oklahoma area and are involved in their church where Julie serves on the board and in which they enjoy raising their new daughter Jayma.