Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Great Generosity - An Indicator of a Movement

When I get together with fellow trainers of Disciple Makers and Church Planters, we often talk about this question. What are the indicators of a movement?  What are the signs to watch for, the things that we need to see to know a group of disciples (church or churches) are heading toward becoming a DMM (Disciple Making Movement)?  

We need to make sure we are seeing the right things happening. We need to be intentional about developing the right DNA in the movements we start. 

I have the privilege, with my husband, of parenting three wonderful children who are now adults.  We also have a grandson and two son-in-laws.  When our kids were little, their physical development was something we carefully watched.  We regularly took them to the doctor for check ups.  We wanted to make sure they were growing well, that the indicators; such as their weight and height, reflexes, and developmental growth (were they talking, walking, etc), were on track.

In much the same way, we watch for indicators as we plant churches that we hope will grow into movements of churches.

One key indicator I repeatedly notice, but that we don't always work on, is "Great Generosity" flowing within the movement.  We see a great example of this happening in the Macedonian churches as referred to in 2 Corinthians.
Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia, that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality. For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord, begging us with much urging for the favor [a]of participation in the [b]support of the [c]saints (2 Corinthians 8:1-4 NASB)
As I look at the movements we are starting in South Asia, this is an indicator I feel a bit concerned about.  We see generous giving happening some, in some places. I believe we need to prayerfully work on this more.  In many places, offerings are taken but they are not generous.  We often see people giving to God "token gifts" (more like what we give to beggars because we feel we should give a few rupees.)  In some places, offerings are not taken at all because of a poverty mentality.  In other places, offerings are significant but there is a sense of holding on to that money, or hording it, of keeping it for their own movement's needs.  I would have to say that generosity is the exception, not the norm in the church planting work I observe.  This should concern us!

We need to pray, train, teach and work intentionally to make disciples who understand the role of generous giving in the life of a Jesus follower.  I also believe we need to pray that God's Spirit would bring such incredible love and transformation of heart and mind that generous giving flows naturally and without any kind of pressure or forcing from us!  We need to see a supernatural revival of giving!

Let's also model this in our own lives- not only in the area of finances.  Are we generous with grace?  Generous with our time?  Generous to forgive others? 

May God make us a people of GREAT GENEROSITY! 

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