Frank Matera

Paul's Strange Instructions for Opening the Giving Lock

Paul's Strange Instructions for Opening the Giving Lock

I worked for a few years in development and was trained in best practices for raising money. I was blessed to work for a Christian organization who was committed to raising money in a godly way, but the broader development industry doesn’t have many scruples in doing what they do best: separating people from their money. How does a development professional unlock the giving vault?

Secular Generosity

The secular handbook on getting people to give reveals a lot. There are three universal rules in development:[i]

1)      Appeal to donors’ emotions, not their minds: tell a story that will move them;

2)      Inflate their sense of importance and appeal to their interests;

3)      Create urgency: donors need to feel as though the need is immediate and significant.

Christian Generosity

The Christian generosity handbook is very different. Having delivered his four strange reasons for giving. Paul is now going to five equally strange instructions for giving in his letter to the Corinthian church. Paul’s instructions contradict the development professional’s handbook at almost every turn. Paul tells us we should give this way:

1)      Thoughtfully

2)      Not reluctantly

3)      Not under compulsion

4)      Cheerfully

5)      Through the power of Christ