CREATIVE WAYS TO GROW IN YOUR GENEROSITY
Generosity initiatives rely on church members making gifts that expand and accelerate their current level of giving. The best path to increased giving is the spiritual path, where you set your heart on things above. Financial priorities then take shape from the spiritual priorities.
One way of defining this is “Lifestyle Stewardship,” a term used to describe a level of giving that affects one’s living. The challenge of Lifestyle Stewardship is to find ways, boldly and prayerfully, to let your giving touch your living!
King David declared, “I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” (2 Samuel 24:24 NIV) David understood the gift that would touch the heart of God must first touch the heart of the giver! This is the spirit of Lifestyle Stewardship: If it is for my God, my gift must have value and meaning to me.
Often, Lifestyle Giving means giving up something in one area so that you can give more of yourself in another. The three keys to effectiveness in Lifestyle Stewardship are:
- Reassess lifestyle
- Rearrange priorities
- Reallocate resources
Many believers have been amazed at their ability to give more generously to their church. The following seven steps are offered to help you in this regard.
1. PRACTICE PRIORITY BUDGETING
Many families will choose to rearrange their priorities and give up something in their current budget in order to give more to a generosity initiative. Priority budgeting may mean postponing a planned expenditure such as a new car, vacation, home remodeling, or other major purchase. Many Christians find a way to give through sacrificial commitments made in faith and coupled with priority budgeting.
2. REDIRECT PRESENT EXPENDITURES
Often, families have significant short-term expenditures for special needs. One example is the large expenditure a family incurs for a child to attend college. Another example would be the cashflow that is freed up when a loan is paid off. You might consider redirection of those funds once those expenditures conclude towards Overflow, if the Lord so leads.
3. INCREASED GIVING W/ INCREASED INCOME
Some people receive periodic increases in salary or bonuses from their employers. While the typical pattern would be to increase our lifestyle to top the higher income, you might consider committing part or all of that increase in income towards Overfow.
4. GIVE FROM YOUR EXCESS
Some HNW families have indicated they will give other assets like valuables or jewelry. There are a number of us who may have excess they could consider selling or donating towards Overflow.
5. COMMIT UNEXPECTED CASH
Often, people pray for God to show them a way they can give beyond what they can presently see or afford. Sometimes, the answers come unexpectedly. We have already heard stories of families who have received unexpected financial “windfalls” and are planning to direct those funds toward Overflow.
6. SACRIFICE YOUR EXTRA TIME
Some family members have extra time they would be willing to work in a part-time job to be able to give more to HNW. Others have said they may delay retirement for two years so that they might give to Overflow. There are interesting ways to give extra time, if the Lord leads you to do so.
7. DONATE APPRECIATED ASSETS (STORED RESOURCES) OR GIFTS IN KIND ITEMS
Many people own stocks that are worth significantly more than the original purchase price, and they have indicated they would like to donate those towards Overflow. Gifts of appreciated assets—typically investment securities or real estate—can be very advantageous to both the donor and to the church.
By transferring ownership of the asset to the church, the donor avoids capital gains taxes on the sale of the asset. In addition, the donor receives an income tax charitable deduction for the full market value of the asset. That, in effect, makes these gifts less costly to make.