Are you a Generous Mind?

Are you a Generous Mind? If you are intrigued by the idea, this is a place to explore what it means to you. Our blog focuses on helping you to learn what it means to be generous with what you know. You will find helpful tips and encouraging examples that will inspire you to release your ideas to the world! Find out more at www.generousmind.com.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Transitions are a Time to be Generous

The idea of being a Generous Mind is at the core of what God has called Mindy and I to devote our lives. But exactly what we are being generous with has gone through various changes and will continue to change as we obediently follow God's leading and direction.

Today we would like to share three major transitions in our lives. They will seem very distinct but in God's timing they actually are all very connected. These three transitions can fit under the general category of 1) Our Job 2) Our Writing 3) Our Family


A Job Change
For the past four and a half years it has been our great pleasure and joy to serve HCJB Global, a ministry that focuses on media and healthcare outreaches around the world. I have served in the area of marketing and communications and have had the opportunity to help the 78 year old organization re-brand and redefine its message for a new time. In that process we launched the idea of Being the Voice and Hands of Jesus. This means speaking up and reaching out for Jesus in a coordinated way to greater impact those around you.

But as that brand really takes hold and the cause begins to launch, we received an opportunity to serve in a new capacity. After praying we knew it was something God wanted us to do. In the process of building the HCJB Global message, I had struggled with the traditional ways that donors and churches relate to outreach ministries (local and global). I wondered if there was another way to organize the missional cause than to have donors on one side and doers on the other.

We found an answer to this question in the work of a friend of ours - Eric Foley (visit his blog to learn more about him and his ministry http://www.ericfoley.com/) Eric introduced us to a new model for giving called Transformational Giving. This is a transition away from most fundraising today that is more transactional. As we delved into this model, we found its approach refreshing and very Biblical. In it, the donor is seen as someone that God has given a ministry to disciple and grow in Christ in relation to the cause. This model focuses on making the nonprofit a platform for donors to own the cause and participate in it. The donor as well as those a nonprofit is helping become the recipients and the goals of the organization. This model is fundamentally a discipleship and mentoring model where donors are those that we are discipling and who are discipling those who work in the ministry daily.

In this process a small organization that focuses on helping ministries transition to Transformational Giving approached Mindy and I about working with them. The group is called ".W" (Doers of the Word) and it is located here in Colorado Springs, CO. It is a next generation Christian marketing and development agency that equips ministries to transform their fundraising efforts into biblical discipleship practices.

I accepted the role of Partner Manager with .W starting September 1 and Mindy will be writing for .W as a freelancer. Now our calling to be a Generous Mind will focus on helping others to move to an incarnational and transformational approach to fundraising and ministry as a whole.

Our Book is Out!
As of this week, Mindy and I will have in our hands our first co-authored book called Through the River: Understanding your Assumptions about Truth. This has been a five year process and has taken much of our time and thoughts over the last years. This book is a Generous Mind effort. We worked with a well-known professor - Dr. Paul Hiebert - who has now passed away to take one of his books and create an entirely new book for a broader audience.

The book is about our epistemology (in our book we call it our truth lens) which is a part of our worldview. It is the part that defines how we understand truth. It is critical to how we process information and discern in a new millennium crowded with ideas. This book help you understand the three most common truth lenses and then helps you to apply them to your faith, relationships and outreach.

The national launch of the book is on September 1 and we will be sharing more about it on Facebook, our blogs and twitter. We hope that this resource will be a great help to you as you strive to understand truth in a time where nothing seems certain. While many are despairing of the place of truth in our culture, our book has a message of hope and points to a way forward.

Kids in School
We are entering a new phase with our family. For the first time in 9 years we will have all three children in school. This new phase means that Mindy and I will be able to work together at .W as a team. We began our careers working together as a team for One Hope, a Scripture ministry in Florida. God has been faithful to our desire to continue working together by giving us this new opportunity.

Bringing it All Together
As we settle into a new Millennium and start to look around, it is clear that the paradigm for many things is changing. Many of our personal changes have to do with our desire to be a part of that paradigm shift and help lead through the ideas that will populate a new way of thinking. In relation to our job, we believe that Transformational Giving is a major shift in how missional work is done and will define much of the next generation of Kingdom work. In relation to our writing, we believe that in a time where truth seems like a lost treasure, there is a new way to understand truth that will bring back the solid foundation that we have in Christ while allowing us to learn in community.

Both of these things are key to the paradigm shift occurring in global Christianity right now. We are committed to live them, experience them and then be Generous Minds to bring those ideas and thoughts to you. As we say in our book, our desire for each one of our readers is nothing less than life transformation.

Thank you for being a part of our journey and we are looking forward to how God will use the coming months and years.
We pray that as we are generous with what God has put in front of us to do and to communicate, you will in turn be generous with what God gives you. Who knows what journey God will take you on if you allow Him to share His heart through you!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Sharing a New Song

Today started like many days. I work at a ministry called HCJB Global and we have chapel every morning (a great priviledge I have enjoyed for 4 and half years). On Thursdays we have chapel in smaller groups with our departments. Today was one of those days and I went with no particular expectations. But I received a gift of generosity that blew me away!

Jessica, one of our Creative Services team members, lead chapel. She had her guitar with her and I immediately worried that I would have to sound good before my coffee really sank in.

As our time started Jessica read us several passages from the Psalms that talk about singing a new song to God. Then she shared how God had given her a new song the night before as she was driving in the car. I realized that Jessica was about to generously share something that God had given her.

She passed out papers with the song on it and we sang it several times together. It was a comforting and encouraging moment. I was fully ready to move on with my day when Jessica did something brave and very unexpected . . .

She challenged each of us to think of a new song. That challenge is nice and all. Many speakers end with a challenge. But she went beyond the challenge. She explained how the song that God had given her was very easy to modify. She asked us who would share something that God had been teaching us recently and she offered to put our ideas into her song and give it to us as an encouragement. I don't know about you but the thought writing new words to a song in front of others would terrify me. But she boldly challenged us.

Three people shared and she bravely worked with what God had put on their hearts. Each time it was miraculous. I saw as the new song was sung how the person who had offered their idea was touched and blessed.

Jessica shared what God had given her with others, but she went beyond simply being generous with her ideas. She used what God gave her to empower others to share.

So as you go about your day, remember that being a generous mind is more than just sharing what is on your heart. It means giving others the opportunity and context to do the same.

Bravo Jessica, thank you for being a generous mind!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Generous Accountability

Accountability brings up negative images for me. I don't know about you, but when I think of accountability, I think of having to tell people that I have messed up and listening to them moralize about how I should be living my life. Is that what accountability is or do I have a flawed understanding?

In Romans 14:12 the text says, "So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God." Giving an account means that we must share what our lives amounted to. What did we do with the resources, skills, relationships and opportunities that God set before us.

If we think about accountability from this perspective, it is our ultimate act of generosity. We are sharing with God, or with people in our lives, the account of what God is up to in our world and how we have responded. This type of generosity is the deepest and most significant because we are sharing about our eternal purpose.

It is one thing to share about your favorite movie (and that can be very significant if you share lessons you learned). But it is quite another to share your account of how God is using you and providing for you.

So if accountability is such a noble thing, why is it so scarce in our daily lives? This is a complex question that requires us to dig down through many layers. As I processed it, I came up with this progression of challenges that keeps us from being actively involved in accountability:

Accountability is scarce because:
  1. it requires that we give up freedom
  2. giving up freedom requires trust
  3. trust only grows in relationship
  4. relationships take time
  5. our time is doled out based on our priorities
  6. our priorities need redeemed to be in line with God's focus

So why am I not generous with the account of my life and my actions? It starts with the fact that on most days I do not truly value the act of sharing what I know. My priorities are focused on entertainment, pleasure, accomplishment, and so on.

I am coming to realize that I will never have deep accountability relationships with others unless I begin with my priority for generosity and then build to the point where I will submit my freedom to another who loves me and wants the best for me.

Where are you in this process of accountability? Are you living with God's priorities or your own?