Creating a Culture of Generosity

February 27, 2018 by Presbyterian Foundation

If your congregation’s approach to stewardship is stuck in a rut, the Presbyterian Foundation can help church leaders create a culture of generosity that celebrates the resources God has given us and understands the spiritual impact that giving away those resources has on individuals and congregations. The Foundation can bring an interactive Culture of Generosity workshop to any presbytery or regional gathering to help churches move from conducting a traditional stewardship campaign to building a year-round, spiritually-based culture of generosity.

Recently, the Foundation joined forces with the San Francisco Theological Seminary’s Center for Innovation in Ministry for a daylong continuing education workshop on generosity. Local pastors and church leaders representing several denominations attended the workshop led by Ministry Relations Officers, the Rev. Dr. Rob Hagan and the Rev. Dr. Steven Wirth.

Gather examples and solid ideas

The Culture of Generosity workshop is designed to help pastors and key leaders change the conversation about stewardship and create a year-round consciousness of the church’s mission within the congregation. It explains how generosity is about story-telling and letting congregations see how their giving can move the mission of Christ forward. Participants receive concrete examples of ways to stimulate both short-term and long-term giving.

The workshop explores the biblical and theological basis for generosity, participants’ concepts of money, and first-time personal experiences with giving and money management. From that foundation, the discussion centers on the role of the session, the pastor, the generosity team, and others in a year-round generosity program. Participants learn how to develop a year-round generosity calendar and build a narrative rather than a line-item budget. Thanking people is crucial to any culture of generosity, and an extensive discussion is held about this often-ignored task.

The four-hour time frame allows time for a brief look at legacy giving – the Foundation offers a separate and comprehensive workshop on legacy giving. Included is a look at the differing ways that generations receive stewardship information. The interactive environment of these workshops allows participants to share within small group breakouts. Participants leave with solid ideas on organizing their generosity/stewardship program and growing generous disciples.

Attendees find workshop valuable

“The workshop at the Center fulfilled an important role in our mandate to support and strengthen the witness and health of the church,” said the Rev. Floyd Thompkins, director of the Center for Innovation in Ministry. The Center partners with congregations, educational organizations and other groups seeking to act positively in the world.

“The concepts learned in this workshop can serve the church in an immediate and essential way,” said Thompkins. “Following the workshop, I visited with two churches (Lutheran and Presbyterian). Both pastors had attended and told me they found it valuable. It had reminded one of known ideals and offered practical and powerful guidance for what was the other’s first stewardship campaign.”

For more information about the workshops, contact your regional Ministry Relations Officer (MRO). You can locate your MRO at and use the online search feature or call 800-858-6127, option #3 and we'll put you in touch.