It’s the most generous time of the year. For many people Christmas time is a time to be generous with family, friends and even strangers. It’s also the end of the year and people are thinking of year end giving. I want to talk about generosity and what that really means.
As a follower of Jesus one of my desires is to be known as a generous person. Jesus was very generous with his time, talent and treasure. He taught many life-changing messages and stories about being generous. He even gave his life for our sins.
Generosity is demonstrating the nature of God by wisely reinvesting the resources that He has entrusted to us. There are several key traits that go into making someone generous. Without these in our lives we cannot be truly generous.
Generosity brings light into a dark world. It makes people smile and feel good. Generosity also draws us closer to God because it’s when we are most like Him. Giving also reminds us that God owns it all and that He is the one that can give us more or take it all away. Being generous also breaks the bondage of greed and overcomes the love of money.
Here are some simple steps to help you be more generous:
So how generous are you? Do you see God as the provider of all wealth? Do you see yourself as a steward of God’s resources? Do you honor God with a generous portion of all His increase in your life? Are you living as frugally as you can so you have more to invest in God?
Generosity is the result of focusing on God’s riches rather than our resources. CS Lewis said this “I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare.”
Ask God for opportunities to be generous and see what happens.
This past Sunday I spoke briefly about some of the local organizations that we support. Here is some information on those organizations.
Each campus at NewPointe has a local missions budget that allows us to support and partner with local organizations and help people in our community. Here in Millersburg we have a partner relationship with several organizations. Some we support monthly with a financial contribution and some we work with by providing volunteers, promotion of their services and fundraisers.
We work with organizations that are well run, that help people in need and that are Christ centered.
The three organizations we support financially on a monthly basis are:
We support and promote these organizations as we are able, through one-time donations, volunteers, promotion and participation with events they organize:
I want to encourage you to be generous and give to NewPointe so that we can continue to support these organizations or give directly to them. If you have any questions you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
The greatest leaders in history are the ones that had a mindset to serve others. There has been a lot written about servant leadership and many today try to practice being a servant leader. But just how practical is that in the real world. When you have to get things done, ship your product or close the sale, how can you serve?
It can be hard when the heat is on to be thinking about serving others. Yet if you want to be great you must learn the fine art of serving others as a leader. Here are just a few things I believe are important in having a servant leader mindset.
One of my favorite books is found in the Bible in the Old Testament. It’s the book of Nehemiah. It’s a story about a man that led a movement to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem, a city that had been destroyed and in ruins for many years.
The reason I like this story so much is because it demonstrates how much can be done when a person works hard and involves God.
Here are three simple life lessons from the story of Nehemiah, I hope you will take the time to read his story:
Nehemiah’s story is amazing and well worth reading. Read it here – Nehemiah
Last week I went on a mission trip to Tupelo MS with the organization Eight Days of Hope. This was the second time I’ve gone on one of these trips with 8DOH. Back in late April of 2014 Tupelo was hit with a devastating tornado. The damage was far reaching and the city is still trying to rebuild and regroup.
Basically 8DOH goes into a community and works with local churches, non-profits and the government officials. They only go to communities that want the help and are open to a Christian organization. They focus on homeowners that are uninsured, under insured or that need help beyond what insurance will pay.
3,023 volunteers from 37 states served at Eight Days of Hope XI. There were around 60 people from NewPointe Community Church that went. We worked on 235 homes, multiple churches and multiple parks. We finished 451 jobs with 159 homes being completed. Three homes were built from the ground up. Total amount of work done exceeded $4.4 million dollars. BUT…the most important thing was we had a chance to share the joy, the hope the love of our Savior Jesus Christ.
Here are some lesson’s from this trip:
I’ve been on many mission trips and every time I have been deeply impacted in a positive way. I have gotten to know other cultures and other people in different parts of the world. I gotten to talk with people I would never have met, if I wouldn’t have taken the risk and decided to go. Maybe God has been nudging you to consider go on a trip like 8DOH or maybe another mission trip. But the cool thing is we don’t need to go on a mission trip to love and serve people. There are many people in our own communities that are in need that we can serve and love and help. All it takes is a willingness to give some time and talent and muscle or to listen and encourage.
If you would like to get involved in changing your local community or want to go on a mission trip, please contact me via email – email@example.com
For the past six years NewPointe Community Church has shut down regular church services on a Sunday morning and went out into the community to be the church by serving others. One of the core values at NewPointe is Serving Others, so it’s important to put into practice what we value.
Once a year all of the campuses of NewPointe find projects in their local communities and people volunteer to give of their time, talent and energy to serve our schools, villages, nursing homes, non-profit organizations and individuals that are in need.
This year we had nearly 1,900 people serving in four different counties in Northeast Ohio. I serve as Campus Pastor at our Millersburg location and we had over 250 people serving on 29 projects throughout Holmes County.
One of the projects this year was with the Humane Society in the Glenmont area. Their property was run down and in need of repair and over 20 volunteers spent 4-5 hours working on cleaning, painting, weeding and fixing things. There is still some work to do, but that team made a huge dent in what needed to be done.
Another project was for a lady that had a kidney transplant that rejected, so she is back to doing dialysis. She has not been able to take care of her property, so a team of volunteers stained her deck, landscaped her property and did multiple other projects to improve her home. It was a total transformation of her property.
We also had three team go to local nursing homes to visit with residents and to provide two church services to residents. I was able to visit with two elderly gentlemen and the one man talked with me for several minutes and then I asked him if I could pray for him. He said yes and I prayed for him and his health and his family. When I finished I noticed he had tears in his eyes. He said that he doesn’t normally cry but that had been happening more lately. I asked him if he and his wife have a church home. He said they do not go to church. I told him he is welcome anytime when he is feeling better. I left information about the church and my name so he could talk to his wife. Who knows what God is going to do with that.
There are so many more stories that happened on Sunday. We don’t want this to be just a onetime event, so we are planning to have local serving opportunities throughout the year. As we find people and organizations that we can help, we will spread the word and organize work days to help out our community. We are calling it the Helping Hands Team. If you want to be on the email list to be notified of projects, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
There is no better feeling than when you serve someone else. Let’s be known as the church that serves.
I work on the staff of a multi-site church. We have three locations and will soon have a fourth. One of the big challenges in any growing organization is people development. In the non-profit and church world we often talk about recruitment and finding the right people and adding them to our ministry teams. Many of our staff have been asking for help in recruiting better. This is vital as you have more people attending the church, that means more children and teenagers and adults to lead. That takes a lot of volunteers to do it well.
I think that trying to be a better recruiter is the wrong mindset or perspective. As I think back on my last 10 years in ministry I don’t think I would call myself a good recruiter. If that is your mentality, you tend to focus on what people can do for you and help serve in your ministry. Every person you meet you are evaluating to determine if they could be a good fit in your area of ministry. People sense that pretty quickly and are often turned off by that.
The right mindset or perspective is to think about people development. In order to attract people to your ministry there needs to be several things in place:
More people will join your team because they like you than any other reason. Knowing this is huge, because if you are not likeable or approachable it will be difficult to attract people around you. If that is a struggle for you find some resources that can coach you on being likeable. A great book on that topic is “The Likeability Factor” by Tim Sanders. You also need to make sure that your ministry or organization is organized and well run, because people will get very frustrated if you are flying by the seat of your pants. That may feel exciting to you, but you will lose a lot of volunteers if you don’t pay attention to details and strategy or if you don’t execute well. Part of that is allowing gifted volunteers to lead you in areas you are weak. That takes humility, but it can make a huge difference in the people you attract.
What do the greatest leaders, husbands, wives, parents, friends, bosses, politicians or pastors have in common? I believe they get the idea of serving people. Servant leadership has been around for a very long time, it was the way Jesus led and many of our best leaders throughout history got it as well. Robert Greenleaf said it well: “The true test of a servant leader is this: Do those around the servant leader become wiser, freer, more autonomous, healthier, and better able themselves to become servant leaders?” Would the people you lead say that about you? Would your spouse say that about you?
The main thing that keeps us from serving the people around us is our ego. Selfishness is the destroyer of relationships and leaders. One of the keys to becoming a better leader, husband, wife etc is to be humble. Here are two great definitions for humility: Ken Blanchard – “People with humility don’t think less of themselves; they just think about themselves less.” Fred Smith – “People with humility don’t deny their power; they just recognize that it passes through them, not from them.”
The other thing that keeps us from serving others is fear. We fear losing control, being taken advantage of, not being heard, being rejected, failing, looking stupid and on and on. To battle against these fears we need to practice unconditional love. Think about the way you love your child. You don’t only love them when they perform well, you love them no matter what. That is called unconditional love, and that is what makes a leader great. In a business setting this means telling people the truth, being direct and yet gentle. It means having the courage to challenge someone and do it it a gentle way. It means you actually care about the people you lead and know them as a person. It means you listen well and admit when you are wrong.
I came across this great acronym SERVE from the well known Chick-fil-A organization. This is the guide they use in all their management and leadership training. I think it is a great tool to use for our personal mission statements and for any business. Here it is:
Serving the people you influence is hard work, but the rewards are well worth it. Be strong and courageous and lead by serving well.
Recently NewPointe Community Church started a campaign called 2 coats. This idea came from one of our creative staff members in our children’s department. We partnered with Big Brothers and Big Sisters on the goal of coming up with 300 coats. That was the beginning of some amazing stories. Let me share two stories that have challenged me and encouraged me. I want to introduce you to two young boys; Alex who is 7 years old and Dominick who is 6 years old.
Alex made the decision to start saving money earlier this year to donate to the church to help buy a playland at the Canton Campus. He diligently saved all the money that came his way and had built up a nice stash of $101.01. While talking with his parents about the money, he thought that maybe instead of saving for the playland, he could use the money to buy coats for the 2 coats campaign His parents thought that was a great idea, so they went to Old Navy to buy some coats. After he purchased the coats someone else from the church found out what he did and called Old Navy to let them know about Alex and NewPointe Community Churches 2 coats campaign. Old Navy loved the story and agreed to give a 30% discount on other coats our church would purchase the following week. They called the discount the Alex Discount. They also talked about making a donation to 2 Coats as well. The same person that called Old Navy also called Fox 8 in Cleveland and they loved the story as well and are coming down this week to interview Alex and Old Navy. Amazing how one child can make such a big difference.
Dominick also has a great story. He is turning 7 on November 27th. While his parents were planning his birthday party, he told them that instead of presents from his friends he wanted to make a donation to a local good cause. They started looking for some place to make a donation and they had several options, but then the church announced the 2 coats campaign. Dominick immediately thought it would be great if his friends would bring coats instead of presents and he would donate them all to the program at church. They mailed out invitations announcing the coats donations and had a chance to share with several parents that Dominick had thought of this himself and about NewPointe and the vision to help people in need.
These two boys are great examples to us all about being generous and showing compassion to other people in need. I am sure there will be more to each of these stories and there are many others brewing as a result of one idea that inspired many others to be generous. We collected money to buy more coats at Old Navy over the weekend, and will be announcing that total this coming weekend along with the update on how many coats we have been able to give to Big Brothers & Big Sisters. The campaign runs until November 27th, so their is still time to join in. To contact NewPointe click Here
This morning I spent about a half hour reading through the book of James. What amazing truth and incredible wisdom. It was such a refreshing and challenging time that I thought I would share a few nuggets that really brought some renewed focus to my faith.
- Selfish motives prevent a servant’s ministry
- Following rules cannot save us, but following Jesus can
- A lifestyle that costs nothing is worth nothing
- A faith that is only in my head is dead
- A worthless past is resolved by a present that works
- The tongue is a spiritual meter. If we can bridle it, we can bridle the whole body. It becomes the gauge for our maturity. Our faith will never register higher than our words.
- The tongue is like a horse’s bit, a ship’s rudder, or kindling wood. It starts things in motion. If we control it, we can guide our lives, just as a bit directs a horse and a rudder steers a ship.
- The tongue is powerful. Like a huge fire, it can ruin or bless our entire lives. This power was meant to send us down the rigfht path, not to kill us.
- The tongue can reveal what sort of wisdom we harbor inside. A good tongue protects our integrity. James asks: Is yours a good guard or a bad one? Does it create peace or reveal hypocrisy
- Growth takes work and effort
- Growth means you have to stretch out of your comfort zone
- Growth means learning something new or developing a deeper understanding.
- Growth takes focus, you can’t drift or get distracted.
- Growth takes accountability, it accelerates when someone is watching.
- Growth means learning from the past.
- Growth takes action, practicing what you now know.
- Growths means gratitude for past blessings from God.