Briana Glenn, UK Manager for The Generosity Project, shares her thoughts on managing church finances with generosity and the impact of The Generosity Project around the country.
What are some of the greatest challenges for church leaders and treasurers in terms of managing finances?
There are undoubtedly many challenges for financial decision-makers within church contexts, but one of the greatest has to be developing a culture of giving and generosity within their congregations. Sadly, in many of our churches the culture of generosity is weak. We rarely talk about it, we often aren’t excited by it and there is little evidence that we are driven by it. Shifting such a culture takes time, teaching and prayer. In recent times, the uncertainty of changes in giving within congregations also presents a challenge. Fluctuations in individual giving, other income streams and the vulnerability of church members’ personal situations has led to difficulties in budgeting and managing cashflow.
The Generosity Project launched in the midst of COVID last year. How have you seen the resource being used during the past 12 months?
Despite being launched in the midst of a global pandemic, we have been incredibly encouraged to see The Generosity Project being utilised by churches, charities, Bible colleges, leadership teams and individuals around the globe to teach and train in gospel-centred giving and generosity. It has been a great joy to walk alongside many as they work through the course materials week by week, use the resources for training leaders, or read and watch the videos with a small group of friends. The Lord has already shown us He can accomplish above and beyond anything we are able to, and so we are excited for the fruits that will be born from the course in the months and years to come.
What have been some of the benefits churches have seen from running The Generosity Project, along with some of the challenges?
In many cases, churches have found raising the topic of giving and generosity and teaching on it for a period of time has alone been of great benefit. It has given church leaders the opportunity to talk about the topic in an open and structured way, and allowed for conversations, prayer and challenge in an area that is often one we consider to be quite private. The course has also expanded the thinking of many to consider generosity and giving above and beyond our finances, to include our time, energy, resources and compassion.
One of the challenges, has been running the course primarily online, however the video content and online resources have proven to be invaluable.
How has The Generosity Project helped churches manage their finances? How has it helped you personally?
One of the key themes of feedback from participants has been that it has led to more intentional giving and generosity, not just in finances, but in time, energy and resources. An intentional or planned giver has a significant impact on those managing church finances, allowing for accurate budgeting, and consequently being able to plan and commit to ministries and projects. Above and beyond finance, it has also cultivated a more organic culture of generosity in churches, that has grown outside of structured rotas or monthly tithes.
For my family and me, The Generosity Project has reignited a real sense of gospel partnership. It has focussed our giving on how we can support those in ministry above and beyond our finances and made us more intentional about praying together and giving our time and energy to serve the Lord with those we are partnered with.
The Generosity Project is a new six-part resource on biblical generosity and giving. To find out more, watch real world stories and hear commendations from other church leaders and participants, visit thegenerosityproject.com.