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Seven Habits of Effective Generosity

Photo of Daniel Jones Daniel Jones
5 min

As Chief Generosity Officer at Stewardship, I've been witness to seven habits that I regularly see our givers adopting to be effective in their Christian generosity.

1.    Start with everything

The most generous people I know bring a 100% attitude to their giving. They know that everything we have is a blessing from God, everything belongs to God, and as a result, they hold everything lightly and available for his will: their time, their talents and their resources, especially their money.

If it starts with everything, then it’s vital to have a good understanding of your financial situation. Make a budget and pay close attention to all the financial decisions you make, including your generosity.

‘For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.’ Matthew 6:21 (NIV).


2.    Practise an attitude of gratitude

One of the keys to effective generosity is cultivating a heart of gratitude, awoken from the acceptance of the grace of Jesus and his sacrifice on the cross. The most generous people I know have been incredibly intentional about nurturing gratitude in their lives, from the largest thing to the smallest, seemingly trivial moments in their day.

To be truly generous, take time each day to thank God for the blessings you have received. As you do you’ll come to see how that reveals countless new opportunities to use those blessings to give to others.

‘[G]ive thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.’ 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV).

3.    Get good at receiving

If you struggle with gratitude then it may be that you first need to get more comfortable with the idea of receiving.

Whether it's accepting a compliment, asking for help or crying out to God in your prayers, receiving is an essential part of being generous. And, in God’s economy, it’s through both the giving and receiving of gifts that resources can be moved to where they are needed for his purposes. 

Receiving allows us to be open to the abundance of God and to the gifts of others. The most generous Christians I meet are firmly centred in their faith, confident and assured in the blessings they receive from God, and understanding that what they receive is also theirs to gift on.

4.    Make your giving a first thought, not an afterthought

One of the biggest dangers to our giving is when we set it up and forget about it. Direct Debits and recurring card payments are easy to create in the moment, but convenience that leads to automation can spell doom. Autopilot robs us of the opportunity to be intentional in our giving.

The most generous Christians I meet have one thing in common: they create moments in their lives to be proactive and intentional about their giving, regularly. They wouldn’t outsource their prayers or their worship to a virtual assistant, nor do they set and forget their generosity and practice of giving.

Being intentional is hard but it can be as simple as setting up reminders to be praying or sending encouragement to the causes you support each week, or setting aside a few minutes on pay day to be praying purposefully about what you have received and the gifts that will be triggered as a result.

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5.    Create a giving plan

Linked to intentionality, there is huge value in creating a giving plan to help keep your giving on track. Many of our lifelong givers regularly log into their Stewardship Giving Accounts to review their regular gifts, to pray for them and over them, and to set diary points through the year to set objectives and review points to make sure their generosity is on track.

A giving plan or strategy can be as simple or as complex as you need to make it, but it boils down to this: how much do you aim to give, to whom do you aim to give it and how do you hope to change those two factors over time?

Having a plan and being prepared to share it can also create great accountability between you and God, a friend or mentor, a spouse or other members of your family. And, regularly reviewing your plan to make sure your giving aligns with values, passions and calling will help you feel more connected to the work that you’re supporting.

6.    Understand your giving story

Our stories have the power to encourage and inspire others and help us to remember and recall times when we have experienced God’s blessing and provision. Sharing them can be a form of generosity and will encourage others close to you to take bigger and bolder steps in their own generosity.

The most generous people I know are often the most humble and always willing to share their generosity stories as an act of encouragement and testimony to God’s faithfulness. 

‘I will tell of your greatness... and I will praise your name for ever and ever.’ Psalm 145:1–2 (NIV).

7.    Embrace simplicity

Finally, we end the list where we started, from a certain point of view. By starting with everything, acknowledging that we are simply God’s chosen stewards to manage all of his resources entrusted into our care, we create more space for him and less space for a world fixed on having and getting, not giving. Embracing simplicity is a way of cultivating a generous heart and mindset. By simplifying our possessions and our lifestyles, we can free ourselves from the burden of materialism and be more open to the abundance of God.

‘Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.’ Matthew 6:19 (NIV).

True generosity involves much more than just giving away our resources. It involves receiving from others, being open to the abundance of God, sharing our stories, serving others, practising gratitude, learning and growing, and embracing simplicity. By cultivating these habits, we can develop a generous heart and mindset that allow us to give abundantly, joyfully and cheerfully, for the glory of God.

Find out more about how a Stewardship Giving Account can help you achieve effective generosity. 

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Profile image of Daniel Jones
Written by

Daniel Jones

Daniel joined Stewardship in 2007 and currently leads the Generosity Services division and driving growth in giving towards our target of £250m by 2025.

He has been responsible for developing many successful giving campaigns within Stewardship, including the popular 40acts Lent Challenge, and previously advised the National Stewardship Committee for the Church of England, particularly digital innovations like contactless collection plates and curriculums for parishes.  Daniel was also instrumental in bringing the Giving Tuesday movement to the UK following its successful launch in the USA.

Before joining Stewardship, Daniel led Hand in Hand for 3 years, a Christian international development charity that he co-founded with friends and continues to serve as trustee.

He is married with a teenage daughter and is currently exploring life in a local estate-based church plant.

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