Nurturing Generous Living

The Social Contagion of Generosity

Generosity is not just an individual trait; 1 it can have a huge effect on our communities. I was excited to see that scientific studies are actually documenting how generous behavior creates and builds our relationships with others. I’ve always thought of contagion as a bad thing: as in viruses, diseases, a plague. So an…

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Curiosity — Stewarding Our Attention

This past weekend on retreat, I was thrilled to get reacquainted with curiosity as one of the seven key attributes named by Lacy Ellman in her book, Pilgrim Principles. Last year I wrote about two studies of curiosity among Millennials, in my blog, Generous Stewards – Curious and Creative. It was exciting to think of…

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Live Courageously

I was thrilled to receive Live Courageously, this year’s issue of Giving: Growing Joyful Stewards in Your Congregation, from the Ecumenical Stewardship Center.  In addition to a center section Leader’s Guide for an annual financial commitment program based on small groups, it includes “Bright Spot” stories celebrating real people practicing faithful stewardship and generosity, book…

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Rescuers

There have been so many natural disasters these recent months that it’s hard not to lose hope, even as we pray for the people and animals in harm’s way from fires, hurricanes, and floods. But I do see hope, in the response of so many rescuers – many of them strangers – who are coming…

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Seven Attributes of Generous Churches

Patrick Johnson has worked with innovative U.S. churches for almost ten years, seeking to answer the question, “What does it take to create a culture of generosity in a local church?” In “Seven Attributes of a Generous Church,”1 he names seven common characteristics he has discovered. The more generous congregations he has encountered: 1. Are…

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Generous Stewards — Compassionate and Caring

     I listened to a fascinating TED Talk on National Public Radio about compassion a while ago.1 It featured political analyst Sally Cone, and journalist Christa Tippet. “Compassion [is] the ability to appreciate and respect another person’s viewpoint, even if it isn’t your own,” said Cone. It includes communicating that your feelings are valid, and…

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Generous Stewards — Collaborative and Collegial

             Generous stewards often seem to interact and engage in ministry through networks of diverse folks – more like being part of a movement than a single organization. For example: Cooking Up English, in Austin, TX, is a local church ministry that uses cooking to help non-English speakers learn more about the language, while building…

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Generous Stewards — Cooperative and Connectional

I got to thinking: What are the primary attributes of generous stewards, as they manage, share and use the gifts God has entrusted to them? For me, it comes down to four sets of “C”s. The first set is “cooperative and connectional.” Generous stewards tend to choose connection over competition with others. An intriguing article…

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Generous Stewards — Curious and Creative

Who knew that curiosity might have anything to do with stewardship? I hadn’t thought about it that way. But some scientific studies approach curiosity not as a predilection or character trait, but as a behavior. As such, it shows our “stewardship of attention” 1 – how we choose to pay attention to certain people and…

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Generosity Heroes

Generosity isn’t about what we do with things; it’s about the heart. A generous heart gives quality time to listen to another person, gives follow-through compassion to act on concern for far-away people, gives personal involvement and practical resources to people in need and creatures in danger. And there are plenty of people who demonstrate…

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