Ham or Eggs?: How to Inspire Transformational Generosity, Part 1
Julie Bullock, Senior Generosity Strategist for Generis, likes to talk about giving in terms of ham and eggs.
“It’s the notion that when the pig produces the ham, there is a total transformation that happens,” she explains. “The pig is never the same. You can't get the pig back to its original form. For the pig, it was a total commitment.
“On the other hand, the chicken contributes to the effort when it produces an egg, but the chicken itself still stays the same. The chicken offers what it has, but it might be considered more of a transaction rather than a transformation.”
According to Bullock, when it comes to generosity, many people give like chickens rather than pigs.
So how can you help move people from transactional giving to transformative generosity? From giving like chickens to giving like pigs?
Get fresh insights and inspiration for how to increase generosity in your church, especially among Millennials.
Inputs vs. Outputs
“When we think about the topic of generosity, the ‘ham and eggs’ illustration leads us to the notion of inputs and outputs,” says Bullock.
Many people in churches, including leaders, tend to give more transactionally than transformationally. It can be more about an obligation or giving with a specific desired result like a building campaign or a cause. Because the posture of the heart is so important in every part of the discipleship journey, she encourages leaders to ask the following:
“Am I leading my people—am I leading myself—in transformational giving like the pig? Or am I leading and gathering output-driven, transactional giving like the chicken, in which there's not much change that happens?"
When leadership and givers primarily focus on outputs like dollar amounts or the percentage of income given, it leads to missed opportunities to truly disciple the giver.
The Cost of Output Focus
In Luke 18, we read about a Pharisee and a tax collector who go to the temple to pray. While the Pharisee proudly gives thanks that he is not like some of the terrible sinners around him, the tax collector humbles himself and is honest about the current condition of his spiritual walk. He was experiencing output oppression, feeling guilty that he couldn’t keep up with the behaviors and practices of the Pharisee.
“For the Pharisee, there was this outward appearance that didn't necessarily translate to an inward transformation,” says Bullock. Inputs drive outputs. Outputs just for the sake of outputs are what Jesus says he isn’t interested in.
“Sometimes we treat people who give $100,000 differently than people who give $1,000. Similarly we might treat someone who gives 50 percent of their income in a higher spiritual regard than someone who gives 10 percent. But with amounts and percentages, those are outputs not inputs. That doesn’t tell me about the condition of one’s heart.
“A more important metric rather than the amount or the percentage would be for someone to share the heart behind their giving. Because the truth is that the person who gives 50 percent may just make a lot of money and have very little expenses! It may not be generous at all!”
True input-driven giving asks the hard questions of discipleship like surrender, priority, sacrifice, so that one can truly lead the giver toward being more like Christ.
Output pride occurred when the Pharisee thought he had the outputs Jesus said he wanted. He said, ‘I fast twice a week and I give a tenth of all that I get.’ He was obeying those output laws.
“For those who are choosing to give a tithe or even more, they might think, I've been checking that tithe box for 40 years. It's a payroll deduction in fact. I am good. I don’t need to grow or change anything about my giving. This message is for someone else,” says Bullock.
“It’s easy to puff up with pride when we think we’re doing all the right things and fulfilling our spiritual output checklist,” she says. “We may even be tempted to think, ‘Man, there are 20 percent of us who really get how to be generous. I wish the other 80 percent of our church would do what we're doing and finally get it.’”
Instead, Julie encourages churches to celebrate the various stages of giving as they continue to help their people live fully surrendered lives.
In Part 2 of this blog series on “Inspiring Total Generosity in Your Givers,” Bullock will share five types of givers to celebrate, and how to inspire transformative giving in them. Be sure to subscribe to Aspen’s blog today so you don’t miss this next post.
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.