A friend and I were talking through some of the characteristics of The Well today and he made an observation that was very, very encouraging. He said to me, “I love The Well because our focus is on generosity vs. meeting the budget.”

I think this is a big difference that is also very subtle. I think this is seen in my previous post on the stimulus checks and the church that asked for them. The issue here is that this church’s main goal is not to merely increase generosity. Their main goal is to meet their budget and get out of their deficit. It’s not that meeting their budget is contrary to growing generosity. I just don’t think the best way to grow the generosity in a community is to focus on the budget. I think the best way to grow the generosity of a community is to focus on generosity. When you do this, if your mission and your community is worth investing in, you will meet your budget. When a church focuses on its budget, it merely reminds people of how their own budgets are messed up and it merely reminds people of their own debt.

I’m a big believer that the goal of weekly giving is to help encourage and cultivate generous people. I want to celebrate and get excited when someone in my church gives to another organization. Why shouldn’t I? That organization is likely part of the kingdom of God and the Kingdom of God is part of our mission. So, essentially, they are investing in our mission are they not?!

When we focus on cultivating the generosity of our people, the budget will come. That’s surely been our experience at The Well.

I think a big part of this is operating in a mentality of abundance and not in a mentality of scarcity. God has been so generous to us and we have no reason to live in fear. Far too often we look at our church budgets and we live in fear.

I think the key here is the potency of the mission of the community. Some of our church budgets live in fear, not because we don’t have generous people, but because we don’t have a generous mission. Focus on a solid mission and cultivating generosity in your congregation and your giving will come. Focus on the budget with a neutered mission and you’re going to have problems.