People will live up to the narrative you set forth for them.
If you acknowledge your congregation whenever you “catch” them being generous, there is a very good chance they will come to believe that generosity is something that defines them as a community.
Is your congregation building a house for Habitat? Remind them that that’s generosity of time and talent.
Is your congregation supporting the local food bank with peanut butter, canned tuna, and mac and cheese? Remind them that that’s generosity benefiting the hungry of your community.
Is your congregation supporting a missionary or providing funds for a local shelter? Remind them that their financial generosity is positively impacting the world.
This Sunday, publicly recognize how your congregation is personifying generosity. Then, do it again the following week…and the week after that, and the week after that. And just see of they aren’t standing taller, prouder, and acting like the generous congregation you know they are.
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Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.