Chris Willard and Jim Sheppard
Contagious Generosity: Creating a Culture of Giving in Your Church is a treasure chest of congregational practices related to giving that really work. Written by Chris Willard and Jim Sheppard, it offers high-impact examples from top churches in The Leadership Network, arising out of their Generous Church Leadership Community.
The authors begin by defining generosity as “a lifestyle in which we share all that we have, are, and ever will become as a demonstration of God’s love and a response to God’s grace” (p. 18). Intentionally limiting their conversation to stewardship of money and finances, they explore learnings and practices at the intersection of church development— where the church’s culture provides the permission system for giving—and leadership development, including leveraging weekend worship experiences, embracing the ministry of asking, and working individually with high-capacity givers.
All of their examples come from large churches in The Leadership Network, but their experiences didn’t work because they were big: they worked because the leaders put generous living in the context of discipleship. Anchored in teaching generosity based on a generous God, the book advocates forming a team to cultivate a culture of generosity by developing a Generosity Plan and focusing on face-to-face interaction to build trust, cast and recast vision, shape the congregation’s culture, tell stories to demonstrate impact, enhance relationships, and highlight good stewardship of the money given to the church.
Each chapter includes a short list of key ideas and discussion questions for personal study or small-group use. This is a book well worth studying and using as a tool with your church leaders.