“Please give more money so our church won’t die!” is not a great generosity motivator.
How do we do creative ministry in congregations with withering finances? How do
pastors serve congregations that cannot actually afford a clergy person and still feed our families?
How do we start incarnational expressions from the base of the inherited church with no start-up
Indeed, the nail in the coffin of most congregational closures comes down to when the
seemingly ever-lighter offering plates finally return empty.
However, trying to increase generosity to stop a congregation from closing is the wrong
motivation. Perhaps we need to ask deeper questions about how we got here to begin with.
While no congregation needs to close, every congregation needs to die (Jn. 12:24).
In The Four Rhythms of Generosity experienced church revitalization and fresh
expressions expert Dr. Michael Adam Beck offers a practical reimagining of generosity that
synthesizes giving and spiritual growth. It is a framework he has used in congregations to help
them go on a journey of death and resurrection, so they don’t have to close. It’s also a way to
help those who are new to the faith integrate their material and spiritual lives.
There’s an old cliché that is profoundly true: money follows mission. When we set our
feet on the path to do God’s will, God will provide. When people believe in the vision of a
church enough, when they see how it’s making an impact in the world, they will joyfully give.
Yet in many churches, the struggle is actually what they are giving to. Are we giving to
staff salaries, building projects, light shows and smoke machines? Or are we doing what Jesus
calls us to do in Matthew 25:31-46? Are we feeding the hungry, providing drink to the thirsty,
clothing the naked, sheltering the stranger, visiting the sick and incarcerated? That’s a church
people want to give to!
In the 21 st century, it’s not enough that our giving simply goes to fund the institutional
church machine. People want to see impact. They want to make the world a better place through
For the four rhythms of generosity to really flourish, it requires congregations making an
impact beyond their own internal life. It requires us to join into God’s healing activity in the
world. We live in an age of isolation amid an epidemic of loneliness. The church has a gift that
can heal a lonely world: communal life in Jesus. Generosity is about creating little pockets of
God’s healing presence in the world. That is the outflow of God’s own generosity—a God who
“so loved the world” (Jn. 3:16).
In the kingdom, death is a movement in the rhythm of resurrection—closure is not. At
this critical moment we need healthy churches on every corner, and unleashing the spirit of
generosity in congregations is of critical importance. This resource is designed to help you join
God and move through the four rhythms together!