Testing Generosity

If someone has never given to church, how will they start?

For previous generations, it was normal to give to your church. It was commonly accepted that you tithe part of your income to the church. Probably 10%.

If you had Christian parents of grandparents, they probably taught you to do this. However, the vast majority of students today don’t have parents or even grandparents who went to church. They have not been taught about Christian generosity or given a way to try. No one has ever told them testimonies of God’s miraculous provision in response to radical generosity.

We need to do this. Particularly for students who become Christians at university, it’s essential to draw them into the generosity of God. We can’t out-give God, but we can have a lot of fun trying! Do the students in your church know this?

In our church, we have found a way to let people test the water. Malachi 3:10 says “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.””

It’s one of the only places in the Bible where God asks us to test him! He wants us to push ourselves into generosity and see what his response is.  Notice that he doesn’t promise to return the favour by making us rich! That’s a false prosperity gospel message. But he does promise to unlock heaven and dish a load of blessing on us!

So, we set up something called the “90 Day Challenge” where we asked our whole church to give beyond what they thought was comfortable for a period of 90 days. We asked them to give to the point where they would feel it and it would have a cost. We also provided simple ways for them to set that giving up online or in person.

Crucially, we told everyone that we would hold their giving for 90 days and we assured them that we wouldn’t spend it. Then we wrote to them after the 90 days and asked them how it had gone. We asked if they had any testimonies of provision or blessing. We asked if they wanted the money back or a proportion of it back. The results were amazing!

Lots of students started giving for the first time at that point and continue to give to this day. Others increased their giving and have maintained at the new rate. There were fantastic stories of God blessing people, including a family who gave their holiday savings - they were given a free holiday by a friend without asking!

We need to find ways of letting people try giving to church who are new to it. We cannot rely on previous cultural understanding that it’s just what you do. Giving is one of the most infectious ways to enjoy worshiping God, so let’s draw our students into this.

What proportion of your students give? Have you let them test it out? Have you invited them to give?

Luke Smith

Fusion Team Leader

Luke has worked with students in church for 20 years. He loves helping churches figure out how to reach students. He leads the Fusion team to keep them sharp and focused as they serve the local church.

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