by Summer Kelley
I love this time of year when everything seems clean and fresh. A new start. I'm a big fan of pulling back and planning to live intentionally. Maybe even to a fault. Maybe. =)
If you're thinking about what you'd like this next year to be like, don't forget to consider what impact you'd like to make through giving.
ITMI Board member, Erik Thompson was recently a panel member for a Q and A session on Biblical finances and generosity. He shared the idea of setting giving goals with his family.
What a great idea! Especially for people who want to intentionally be alongside God on His mission.
Last year in India, Paul and Molly's girls proudly and excitedly show ITMI Board Member, Erik Thompson their artwork.
So, how would you benefit from setting giving goals?
Here's 4 ways I can think of.
1. Reflecting God's glory is what's best for us.
God's after your heart, not your money. After all, He "owns the cattle on a thousand hills." (Psalm 50:10)
As Chris Brown of True Stewardship says, "Giving is something God wants for us, not from us." God loved us before we ever thought about giving Him anything. In fact, while we were still His enemies, Jesus died for us. (Romans 5:8)
The order is important.
Paul Tripp says, "If you gave every penny of every dollar that you ever earned in every job you ever had, you could not give enough to deserve acceptance with God." Thankfully, our approval from Him depends not on our actions but on Jesus.
Jesus who died. Jesus who completed his mission perfectly. Jesus who did not fail.
God wants generosity for us because we are reflecting His glory when we give.
2. Setting a giving goal helps us focus on giving.
Setting a giving goal for the year makes it a priority in your life. It helps us focus. It becomes part of your regular life.
And focusing on giving makes us joyful.
Who doesn't want a joyful year?
3. Setting a giving goal that stretches us forces our dependance on Him.
Erik mentioned that his experience with this practice has been that God provides ways for meeting giving goals.
What a blessing their family received - to be a part of God providing for His work in ways they didn't foresee! A blessing they may not have experienced if they didn't allow God to stretch their dependance on Him through giving goals.
Depending on God can be hard for some of us, but it's always rewarding.
4. It will likely increase the impact you can make.
Like we said, it's God's work. But we participate. If we plan to partner with God to stretch and grow us through giving, most likely we will have a bigger impact than if we just float through the year without intentionality.
I think we'd all like to be part of making an impact in this next year.
So, ready to get started? Here's Five Simple Steps to Setting Giving Goals
This is God's work, so get His input first. Come to think of it, this is a good first step before setting any goals this year!
"Unless the Lord builds the house, the builder labors in vain." (Psalm 127:1)
2- Agree with the Spirit on a dollar amount or percentage that stretches you.
Listen for the Spirit to give you a dollar amount. Let Him stretch you. Even if it's outrageous, step out in faith and see what He does. The worst that could happen is you don't meet the goal.
He'll still be crazy about you, I promise.
3- Write it down.
Writing down our goals has some kind of power over us. It might seem scary to write this number down. That's ok.
Its not scary just to write a number. That's all we're doing at this stage.
4- Strategize: How will you meet your goal.
Now it's time to think of some ways you can meet the goal. Will you raise your income? Sell some things? Maybe having more money to give is the perfect excuse to sell some excess stuff you don't use anymore. Maybe you'll commit to praying it in.
Or maybe you can find a way to save on something you consistently spend money on.
Get creative and have fun with it!
5- Direct your funds. How will your funds do the most good for God's glory?
Ephesians 5:15-17 says, "Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is."
If you're going to use the time, effort and funds God's given you to manage, you should make sure you're being fruitful and effective with it.
Being fruitful with your gifts is one of ITMI's highest priorities.
That's where ITMI - and other organizations like us - comes in. One of the things ITMI provides for you is information about national workers that are being effective with what God's given them.
ITMI Director, Steve Evers and Board Member Jon Dekkers with some of Paul and Molly's girls in India.
Thank you for the ways each of you is already reflecting God's glory through generosity. Your generosity has already been a beautiful reflection of God's lavish generosity to us, His people.
Our ITMI partners couldn't be more grateful.
Your sacrificial giving accomplished many exciting things last year! Here, Piotr and Richard baptize new believers in Poland.
Your sacrificial giving accomplished many exciting things last year. It is really a demonstration of God's beauty to see His people coming together to be alongside Him in His mission to restore creation with their hearts and resources.
It's an exciting mission that we are thankful to be a part of. And we're glad you're in it with us.
Has anyone tried setting a giving goal in the past? What kinds of things did you do to meet it? Share your experience in the comments!
Tripp, Paul David. "January 5." New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional. Wheaton: Crossway, 2014. Print.