Giving Speaks is pleased to share this guest blog post by the Rev. Neal Jones* ~
People can be funny about money. I know some people with lots of money who act like they’re barely scraping by, and I know some people who are barely scraping by who are as generous as kings and queens. When it comes to money, perception can have little to do with reality.
How much we save and spend has more to do with our mindset than our bank account. Some people have a mindset of scarcity, a “glass half empty” outlook. They expect money, time, and love to be hard to come by. These resources could run out at any time, leaving you high and dry. You need to grab them and cling to them to make sure they don’t slip away. It’s hard to be generous with a clenched fist.
Some people have a mindset of abundance—a belief, a faith, really, that money, time, and love are plentiful and accessible. It’s an attitude of gratitude. Sure, we have to earn our keep, but the real bottom-line is that these things are primarily gifts from God, Life, or the Universe (choose your own term). When we focus on what we’re getting from life instead of what we’re not getting, it’s easy to feel generous and to be generous.
Congregations can operate from a mindset of scarcity or abundance, too. Healthy congregations have cultivated a culture of abundance, regardless of the net worth of the people involved. As individuals we may not be wealthy, but sense that we have been blessed with enough—enough to meet our needs and to fulfill the needs of our congregations.
In keeping with a culture and mindset of abundance, it helps for the congregation to begin with our shared aspirations in mind.
We ask ourselves and one another:
What do we value most about our community of faith and the meaning it brings to our lives?
What vision do we hold for our future and what we could accomplish together?
What can we pledge financially that reflects the level of our commitment to our community and our shared vision?
These are the questions and financial commitment we build our annual budget upon. We build on our mindset of abundance by providing other opportunities to give generously. An example of our abundance and generosity is our monthly shared offering program which has grown steadily each month, with more money given to benefit both the congregation and the other charitable and social justice organizations that receive our gifts.
It’s a strange arithmetic—the more we give away, the more we give. But it makes perfect sense…when you have a mindset of abundance.
(adapted with permission by the author)
The Rev. Neal Jones, Psy. D., serves as the Minister, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia, SC http://www.uucolumbia.org/ .
The UU Congregation of Columbia is one the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Honor Congregations, a recognition of their generosity and annual financial support of their wider faith community. (www.uua.org/giving/apf )
RESOURCES to Nurture Generosity & Abundance in Congregations: http://www.uua.org/finance/fundraising/generosity/index.shtml
Congregational Stewardship Services and Forward Through the Ages Program (FORTH): http://www.uua.org/finance/fundraising/forth/index.shtml
Giving–the sacred art by Lauren Tyler Wright: http://www.skylightpaths.com/page/product/978-1-59473-224-9, and six-session study guide for use by UU groups, www.uua.org/documents/stew-dev/study_guide_giving.pdf
Inspired Philanthropy by Tracy Gary: http://inspiredphilanthropy.com/
The Soul of Money by Lynne Twist: http://www.soulofmoney.org/