You have a secret weapon as a leader and you probably don’t even know it exists. It’s a weapon that has the ability to inspire your team, change your organizational culture, and unleash growth in ways you couldn’t imagine.
You’ve probably preached on it many times (especially when giving is down or you need to launch a capital campaign).
Your secret weapon is generosity.
Maybe you’re thinking. “I give a tithe (and then some) to the church. I’m already generous.” or maybe “Our family sponsors a child through Compassion. I’ve got generosity on lock.”
Ask yourself this question.
Are you generous because it’s what people expect a church leader to do or are you generous because it’s actually part of your character?
If you’re already generous with your finances, good. But that’s just hitting the top (most obvious) part of the iceberg. That kind of “expected generosity” isn’t a secret weapon. In fact it’s the cultural sham of generosity that often prevents you from actually being generous.
True generosity involves radically giving away your calendar, your competency, and your currency. Without ever expecting to get anything back in return.
If you get in return great. But you never expect it.
Giving with the expectation of getting at some point in the future is manipulation not generosity.
Social media/marketing entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuck is very helpful on this point. He says
“that most people in social media give, give, give, give, then take. Instead you should give, give, give, give, then ask.”
It’s true for leaders in the church too. It’s requires a subtle mindset shift.
Ask > Take
The way to know if you’re actually being generous or just trying to take from others is to evaluate your emotional state when someone doesn’t reciprocate your generosity.
Do you obsess and get angry or do you shake your head a little and then move on to the next thing.
Generosity With Your Calendar.
There is a common trend in leadership coaching to guard the calendar like Fort Knox. Many a pastor have completely cut themselves off from the people that God called them to serve in the name of church growth. The antidote is not an open calendar with no priorities. The antidote is a heart of generosity with your calendar. Someone doesn’t have to “deserve” a spot on your calendar to get it.
Ask yourself, is there anyone on your calendar this week where you won’t be taking something. So many of our meetings are “pouring into someone” because we know that we need them to help our organization. That’s not generosity. That’s using someone as a tool to build your organization.
If you would take the time to just get to know your staff without agenda or task lists you’d learn more about what your team needs than any strategic planning session could provide. If you listen to them you’ll hear their motivations, desires, dreams, and fears. You’ll quickly realize that generosity with your calendar will open up a whole new world within your organization.
Generosity With Your Competency.
Your competencies are all of your talents, skills, and training. As leaders it’s easy to overlook this area. We think that if we tell someone what to do they’ll figure out the how. In reality most people need you as a leader to be generous with your competency. They need you to train, teach, and correct them. All of this takes time (see point one). If you can learn to be generous with you competencies you’ll begin to reproduce yourself as a leader to free up more time to be generous with.
-Where do you wish you could be more generous with your competency?
Generosity With Your Currency.
When you hear currency what do you think? Cash? Money?
Currency is far more than money. At no time in history has this been more true. Your currency is your finances+your network+your influence. Social capital guru Jordan Harbinger says it this way “Your network is more important than your net worth. Your money can be taken from you. But your relationships can’t be.”
As a leader in the church you have huge networks and influence (even if the finances part isn’t going so great for you.) How can you be wildly generous with connecting and helping the people you know? Maybe it’s a simple as finding a college student who’s just learning about photography a mentor in another older professional photographer who attends your church.
Maybe it’s using your voice online to bring awareness amazing kingdom work that others are doing (a tweet costs you zero dollars). Maybe you can be generous by using your Sunday morning sermon to help your Kid’s Ministry find more volunteers. You have currency even if you don’t have much cash. Be generous with it for God’s Kingdom.