The first step in giving more wisely and strategically is to create your personal or family "Giving Mission Statement" – a written paragraph or document that you develop on your own or with your family, friends, or even an employee giving group.
Your Mission Statement will capture your beliefs about money, why you should live generously, and what causes you're passionate about supporting. Then, you'll use it as the foundational building-block for all of your future giving.
The process involves two components: clarification and communication.
Start by examining your core beliefs, feelings, and attitudes about money in light of Scripture. Why is this important? To a great degree, all of us are products of our environment. Throughout your life, you are bombarded with competing ideas, claims, and experiences that affect how you view money, either consciously or unconsciously. Over time, you develop attitudes, habits, and behaviors that ultimately reflect the beliefs you have adopted, and you may not have considered whether your beliefs and actions are truly in alignment.
Because of this, it’s important to bring thoughts, feelings, and behaviors concerning money out into the open. This allows you to evaluate them in the light of God’s Word, which teaches that we are simply managers – or stewards – of God’s resources. God owns everything and we simply get to manage some of it for a limited time.
The typical discovery process begins with individual study and prayer. You may want to do your own specific Bible study on money, wealth, and giving. And as you reflect upon your beliefs, it’s helpful to write out your thoughts in a notebook or journal. Feel free to record anything significant that God brings to mind. Here are some questions to think about:
Now, once you've answered those philosophical questions, you're ready to clarify your purpose and passion for giving:
As your thoughts fall into place, it’s essential that you are able to communicate them effectively to yourself and to others. Creating a written Giving Mission Statement is the key to keeping your giving focused and on mission, especially if you're giving as part of a group – such as your family or a giving circle (typically a small group of friends that come together to share ideas and pool resources for giving).
This can be as short and simple as a single paragraph, or it may take shape as a multi-page composition. Think of it as the "Constitution" for your generosity – the foundational document that records what you truly believe about the source and purpose of the resources God has entrusted to you. Of coure, your Mission Statement can change over time as you grow and adapt with His leading, but it will continue to serve as a reference point to keep you on course over your entire lifetime.
The following is a very basic template for you to craft your own Mission Statement. Copy this to your own computer or write it down in your journal, and then fill in the blanks and expand as needed:
My name believe in a life of giving generously because Reasons . I am called
by God to give to Categories / Causes in Geographical Areas (Local, National,
or International) because Purpose / Passions .
Finally ... now that you've clarified and communicated your beliefs and passions, it's time to demonstrate your commitment. But that starts with the next two steps in our 5-step process: setting tangible giving goals, and giving in the wisest possible way.
Photo: Samaritan's Purse