In last week’s post, I addressed the issue of God connecting us to each other in order to fulfill His purposes. This week I want to expand on the idea of doing ministry together and zone in on one part of that ministry – our ‘giving’.
It would seem that once we have settled in our heart that as Christ followers, giving of our resources should be a way of life, many of us struggle with the question, “Who do we give to?”
This question, at surface level, seems easy to answer. However, if we want our giving to be significant and have lasting impact we need to dig deeper.
Let me state up front that I believe in giving to my church. For me, that is the starting point. It is, however, not the ending point.
Beyond my church giving, I use the five W questions to help me come to meaningful answers to the question of who to give to next. I believe that these are good questions to work through, not only as individuals, but also for corporations wanting to invest in the non-profit sector and for churches that want to make their missions programs more effective.
Here are some ideas for the five W questions – by no means an exhaustive list:
- Who: Who are the people God is drawing us to? It could be a specific demographic group. Perhaps you find yourself defending them in your mind and your heart and sympathizing with their life situation. When this happens, sit up and take note.
- What: Is there a particular issue that grabs your heart. Clearly for me, the crippling hopelessness and resulting life constraints of severe poverty pushes my buttons. This is one of the issues that makes me want to climb on my soapbox and tell the world about. What are yours?
- Where: Is there a geographical place where the above issues are most prevalent? Again, for me, that place is Sub-Saharan Africa. Poverty, combined with the AIDS pandemic wrecks havoc in the lives of “my” demographic group. This compels me to respond with no humming and hawing. What compels you?
- When: Is there a particular project that is being implemented now or in the near future that addresses the issues and people group that God has laid on your heart? Do you give a lump sum of money upfront or do you give on a monthly basis or do you donate your skills and ability? Is a timely response critical to the outcome? The “when” is actually a very important issue to consider.
- Why: Why would I give to one group that meets some of these criteria and not another? I wrote a post on ‘Why would I give them money’ that may be helpful to read. Also, a belief in a particular type of approach to bringing life change is an important driver. For me, in the cause of poverty and AIDS in Africa, I strongly believe in community care and community empowerment along with a strong Christ centered approach. I look for an outworking of this in all those that I partner with. Ask yourself why you give of your resources to those you partner with.
“A little dab here and there will do – when I get around to it,” is not the philosophy that will have lasting impact. To bring about meaningful life change to those that God calls us to partner with, requires that our giving be done intentionally and with purpose.
Question: What are some of the things you consider when giving?