Friday, December 29, 2006

WESTWINDS: relational giving guide

as part of a generosity experiment by westwinds community church, i've created this entry so people can post their stories of "relational.

god has been teaching our church a lot about generosity lately, and we've all been very challenged by the strong biblical teaching in our "capital experience" series [see westwinds podcast on itunes for download info]. in fact, much of what we've always taken for granted has been called into question - we no longer advocate tithing, but have begun instead to look at everything we own as available for god's purposes.

in many ways, we've begun asking "what if?" questions.

for example,

What difference would it make if ...

we became a church community with counter-cultural reflexes that resisted the idol of consumerism?

we studied such biblical principles as jubilee and koinonia and asked how these might be worked out creatively and progressively in the local context?

we differentiated clearly between (a) money given by church members to support our staff, premises and programmes and (b) money given for people and causes beyond the local church?

we were sufficiently secure in our friendships and open-hearted in our attitudes to begin to address the inequalities in our own church?

we were to sell our surplus possessions and give the proceeds to the poor, so that we could say truthfully that there are 'no needy persons among us'?

we encouraged small groups in the church to share their resources in order to release funds for ministry and mission?

we became known as a community that took financial issues seriously and was able to offer more than just sympathy (or condemnation) to those in debt?

poor people were to realise that the gospel is good news and to recognise that our church incarnates this good news?

we were to find that this kind of sharing was exciting, liberating and joyful?

we invite you to ask these same questions with us; and, if you'd like to leave a story of your own, simply hit the "comment" button on the bottom and tell your story in the space provided.

best of luck on your experiment,

david mcdonald

1 comment:

  1. Dave,

    I wanted to share this with you because a 19-year-old actually listened to your sermon. Not that your sermons aren’t heard by that age group … I just remember being all about myself at 19 and not really listening to anything or anyone. Of course, I had all the answers.

    Anyway, this is not to say we’ve done a great job parenting either … I look at it more as God tapping on my son’s heart and nudging him to be like Jesus.

    Before Christmas Joe and some co-workers went to the Chinese buffet to have lunch. They were in line to pay behind one customer who was having difficulty getting any of his credit cards to go through. The guy decided to let the others pay first so they could get going and he would wait until they were done. Joe could see the frustration and embarrassment on the man’s face as he was paying for his family. Joe paid for his own lunch and proceeded to put his change in his pocket and began to move away. He said he thought to himself, “what am I doing, I have plenty to pay for this man and his family.” He then pulled his money back out and paid for the family. The guy behind the counter kept asking him if he was sure he wanted to do it. He told me later, “you know, Mom, it felt good to do.” God presented an opportunity and Joe stepped up … yeah man!

    So, you see, there was a 19-year-old listening to God through you to … be like HIM. Have a great day!