WHAT IS THE GENEROUS GIVING PROJECT?
This two-year project serves local churches and deaneries in the Diocese of Durham. I’m Rachael Phillips, the project officer, and I’ve developed this project to encourage us all in our discipleship and understanding of our faith on a deeper level. We’re exploring what generosity means, how we experience it personally, and how we could become more generous people.
Our three Diocesan priorities are Children & Young People, Growth, and Poverty. The Generous Giving Project fits into Growth. It’s not a stand alone topic, or a separate campaign for parishes to engage with once a year when they publish their budgets. The Generous Giving Project aims to be part and parcel of everyday worship and all aspects of church life.
Putting generosity at the heart of your worship-life could open up opportunities for you and your church to serve and be involved with your local community. Being a generosity-minded congregation could lead more people to consider giving of their time to volunteer at the local Foodbank (for example) or to financially support your chosen charity. People may feel inspired to support a mission or to focus on being a hospitable church. Highlighting generosity could lead to a transformed parish that speaks of abundance and opportunity, not scarcity and burden.
AREN’T WE ALREADY GENEROUS?
Yes! A key part of the project is celebrating our generous acts and sharing these inspiring stories. People regularly give lots of time outside the church to volunteering in schools, helping vulnerable people, fund raising, visiting sick people, helping with community projects and generously donating money to charities.
Then there are all the ways people directly support the work of the local church by generously contributing financially, with their time and with their skills. Generosity is everywhere, but we’re not always very good at recognising it and telling people about it. If we did, we could inspire others to join in and highlight how we could serve those in need.
You can find a collection of generosity stories from our local churches here. With your help, this collection is growing. If you’d like to share your own generosity stories, please send your contributions to me via the contact page.
HOW CAN THE GENEROUS GIVING PROJECT HELP PCC MEMBERS?
The Generous Giving Project resources churches in creative and innovative ways so that we can approach this topic anew and ask ourselves “How do we serve our communities and contribute to the ongoing mission of the church by giving generously?”
This includes contributing financially, as well as in other ways, and this can be a difficult thing to talk about.
The Project helps churches to discuss this topic openly, sensitively and inclusively, en
suring that those who have little to give and those who have much to give both understand that generosity is income-blind.
I have written all the resources with busy people in mind, both paid church leaders (usually clergy) and unpaid church leaders (usually the rest of the PCC). In addition, I’ve piloted and carefully developed all the resources, so as not to be burdensome or time consuming. Furthermore, this Project does not follow the pattern of a traditional stewardship campaign. It is more about considering our “everyday” practices and asking how or if they highlight generosity as part of our faith.
How you choose to use the available resources is entirely up to you. All resources act only as templates for you to adapt if you wish, to suit the needs of your church. You can find more specialist help for Wardens, Treasurers and with Gift Aid here. Plus, we as a diocese, are supporting our members with focused workshops which have already begun in some deaneries.
HOW CAN IT HELP PARISH CLERGY?
The Project is focuses on discipleship. It offers support to people want to have a greater understanding of the mission of the church and how and why our Christian faith is practiced the way it is. The Project does not limit itself to talking about good stewardship.
With the written resources, I always aim to encourage people on more than one level. For example, the prayer cards, which help to link giving with faith, also highlight what contributions actually pay for. Another example is this short story is about generosity and treasure, but is also a story about evangelism.
WHAT ARE THE RESOURCES?
- blogs/short stories about faith
- key note speaking
- home group resources
- various written resources for use in church services
- and numerous activities that can be adapted for children, young people and for the meetings, retreats and cafe church.
Furthermore, I’m supporting preachers who are uneasy about preaching on wealth, finances, giving money etc.
Finally, the Generous Giving Project will support your parish in identifying and highlighting all the ways it is already generous (a bit like a generosity audit). This will hopefully affirm, encourage and inspire existing members and potentially help you to reach out to your local community.