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Generous Churches Display the Gospel

Generous Churches Display the Gospel

By Pastor Scott Thomas

Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine” (Proverbs 3:9-10, ESV).

Generosity is not normally discussed in association with a local church. Generosity is usually what the church expects from its members. But I think churches need to think about generosity as a means to image the Gospel to its members and community. We describe “grace” as God’s bestowing of gifts and favor on those who have not earned the gift. Generous small businesses are linking themselves with charitable causes to market their businesses. One example of cause marketing is the partnership of Yoplait's "Save Lids to Save Lives" campaign in support of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure (Yoplait’s How it Works, 2010). This is a means for developing a positive brand in the market and it also helps others in the process. Consumers desire to associate with firms that support causes that help others in a significant way.

            Gospel-driven churches can demonstrate their generosity to others that do not deserve it. The Apostle Paul said, “For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness” (2 Cor. 8:13-14, ESV). This applies to churches, not just to individuals, as it is normally associated. Paul says, in essence that we are not expected to give away all of our resources, and lack a sustainable operation. He says rather, that a church, its members and the community all mutually benefit from exercising a generous spirit. The members donate funds or services, sometimes as a gesture of loyalty arisen from the generous activities of the church. The church may generously provide relief from burdens in the community for the benefit of many or a few. Howard Schultz, Starbucks Chairman said consumers demand such behavior. He further stated:

“The implication for marketers is to strike the balance between profitability and social consciousness and sensitivity . . . It is not a program or a quarterly promotion, but rather a way of life. You have to integrate this level of social responsibility into your operation” (Kotler & Keller, 2009, p. 26-27).

            Generosity is a Gospel-driven principle of churches and it may also be a positive illustration of grace that drives the undeserved to this philanthropic-minded church. Consumers are more aware of it and churches should be as well.

 

References

Kotler, P. & Keller, K. (2009). Marketing Management (13th ed). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.

Yoplait’s How it Works (2010). Retrieved on July 1, 2011 from http://www.yoplait.com/slsl/how-to.aspx

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