Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Strategic Giving vs. Spontaneous Giving

The recent crisis in Haiti has got me thinking a lot about giving. Specifically, how Christians should give and for what reasons. There are really two different approaches that people have toward giving and I think both should be implemented in the life of the believer:
  1. Spontaneous giving: In Acts 11:27-30, a need arose (a famine) and the church quickly gathered funds to help.
  2. Strategic giving: 2 Corinthians 9:5 records Paul instructing the believers to regularly set aside money in advance to take care of the needs of the church in Jerusalem.
I think Americans are good at spontaneous giving. A need arises, a few movie stars are gathered and whamo!...millions of dollars are raised. However, the needs in a place like Haiti were there before the disaster (80% of the country lives on $2 per day) and the needs will continue long after the disaster has subsided. That is why strategic giving is so important.

While it is monumentally IMPORTANT that Christians are spontaneous givers to needs that arise unexpectedly, I believe that church ministry an the needs of the poor are meant to be primarily funded by strategic giving. Strategic giving is giving according to one's means (a percentage) and is given regularly.

At Jubilee, we employ this principle to both funding church planting as well as giving to the poor. Jubilee sets aside money strategically for church planting as well giving to the needs of the poor. Therefore, when a need does arise, we have it available. There are also, of course, other times when we also give spontaneously to a specific church plant or an unplanned need.

I want to encourage you that if your giving is only spontaneous, to consider praying about being a strategic giver.