Six Qualities of Uncommon Leaders and Generous Living

"The church and the majority of people in our country are in desperate need of a generosity “remix.”

by Tim Avery

I’ve had a blast this week and last making visits to some of the finest “uncommon” church leadership teams in America—in both San Diego and Norfolk, Va. Our conversations, centered in generosity and joyful giving, made it a truly memorable time.

Together, we discussed the fact that the word ”generosity” causes the default setting within to point toward “the responsibility of giving.” That’s one reason so many churches teach so little on topics of money, possessions, giving, and resource management. The last thing people need is another talk about responsibility, right? Without question, responsibility is an element of generosity.

But, so too is joy. It’s the other side of the generosity coin.

In fact, joy is the most significant aspect of generosity. We don’t give as uncommon leaders because we’re guilted into it. We give out of genuine joy—the only appropriate response to the indescribable gift of grace, mercy, and love the Father has lavished upon us. The truly generous people of the world have discovered the joy of giving.

Uncommon leaders embrace the quality of generous living and see it as integral to authentic leadership.

Uncommon leaders …

1. Give of themselves—they mentor others.

2. Give of their time—they serve others.

3. Give of their intellect—they teach others.

4. Give of their experience—they build up others.

5. Give of their influence—they advance the causes of others.

6. Give of their resources—they meet the needs of others.

Think about the person who has had the greatest influence on your life. Would you not agree that they exhibit the quality of generous living in one or more of the areas referenced above? After all, if God is the first and foremost Giver, it stands to reason that we are most like God when we are living generously.

Here’s the dilemma: we are giving less today than at any time in our history. Yes, there are exceptions to the rule, but they are few. True, generosity bubbles to the surface in the face of crisis and extreme emergency. Giving around the country spikes in response to human suffering and need, especially when it is the lead story on every news report.

But what about ongoing generous living on days when crisis is not front and center? To be kind, generosity is lacking. As a result, individuals and churches fail to realize their full potential. We fall short of God’s intended purposes, lacking the power and ability to be and to do all that God had in mind.

Which brings us to the big deal, the main point, and it’s this—the church and the majority of people in our country are in desperate need of a generosity “remix.” To remix implies a need to re-think, re-order, re-calibrate, or re-new our thinking around giving.

For my money [no pun intended], remixing our thinking around generous living is the most pressing issue facing individuals and the church today. Let’s be clear … if the church falls short in providing relevant responses to the spiritual and physical needs of our world, that is not on God. He has provided everything necessary for us to live this life in an extraordinarily uncommon manner; accomplishing His grand design. If the parties involved in the equation are God and man, with God upholding His end of the deal, the issue lands squarely on the shoulders of man. Or, more accurately, within the heart of man.

The good news is this—remix can happen. Common people can live uncommon lives and become uncommon leaders—indelibly marked by the characteristic of generous living.

Tim Avery is president/CEO of Kardia Consulting in Atlanta. Kardia consults with churches on all areas of stewardship and generosity. For more information or to connect with Kardia Consulting, visit www.kardiaconsult.com.