My Big Idea…
My big idea is why shouldn’t a church get someone to help them that specializes in all things generosity related? So today I am announcing the launch of my new ministry called Acts 17 Generosity!
My story and journey – Let me start by telling you my story. You know I tell you to tell stories, so here is mine…
I have a passion to help the local church. As a former pastor I know what it’s like to struggle making budget. I’ve had to tell staff we couldn’t pay them this period. So, I get the pressure of the ministry.
At the same time what pastor or staff member has time for one more thing? Especially if that one more thing is something they are uncomfortable in because they have had zero training in that area. That area, the thing you hate, is what I can make easy. My focus is different from my industry.
The stewardship firms have had it wrong. Our focus has been upon helping churches when they need to raise capital dollars not week to week dollars. But as one of the leaders in the field of church analytics, I discovered that campaign giving comes almost exclusively from top tiered donors. While we are busy collecting big bucks for your building we are short changing the discipling of the next generation of donors. What good have I been to you if I help you build the building but you can’t pay the electric bill?
We are operating out of the past, failing to fund the present with no regards to the future! Our systems scream 1980. It’s past time to restructure how we help churches raise not just capital dollars but budget dollars. THAT, is what started me thinking why shouldn’t a church get expert advice for BOTH?
How what I thought was a failure set the course for my future – In 2017 I sold the rights to The Charis Group, my capital campaign company and Giving365 my generosity coaching site. That sale didn’t work out the way I thought it would and frankly I thought I had failed. Since then I have bounced around a bit. During this time I have been thinking continually about what you, the local church, truly need in terms of helping you be fully funded. It’s been a journey of taking what I have learned over the last twenty plus years and applying them not only to the present but the future.
The Acts 17 naming story – The Culture around us has changed and we must meet that change. I have been asking myself how generosity will best work in this new Culture. What about the next generations? I have been studying this for the last few years and primarily that last two years.
In my research for my new book, “The Great Giving Shift,” I read “Meet Generation Z” by James Emery White. It’s a great book on this upcoming generation. In that book he talks about how the Apostle Peter on the day of Pentecost rose up in Acts 2 to explain what had just happened at Pentecost. He started with Scripture explaining what had happened.
Fast forward to Paul in Athens in Acts 17 who gets up to preach to heathens and he starts by talking about the statue to an unknown god. He starts with their culture and works towards introducing the one true God. One started with the Bible and the other started with culture and moved to the Bible.
White says, “We have to move from an Acts 2 cultural context to an Acts 17 cultural context. We are not speaking to God fearing Jews in Jerusalem. We are standing on Mars Hill and we need an Acts 17 mindset with an Acts 17 strategy.” Emphasis mine.
That was a like a bolt of lightning giving me my banner to march under! I firmly believe…
If churches are going to increase giving they have to move to an Acts 17 generosity mindset. If stewardship firms are going to help churches increase giving they must have an Acts 17 generosity mindset. We have to get better. The old designs are tired. It is not what you, the church, really wants or needs. You can download a program on the Internet. I’ve never sold a program. I “sell” my coaching. I am taking that to a new level!
The directed coaching model of consulting – I love coaching leaders in generosity. It’s my passion. I feel divinely called to help raise up the next generation of generosity leaders.
A few months ago when I was standing on my back deck praying I had an overwhelmingly sense of God’s presence. I didn’t hear a voice or anything like that. It was just a presence, you know, that sense that God is speaking.
Two things came to my spirit…
What if I used my years of experience God has given me and poured them into younger men? Then the thought came, what if I could raise up 100 churches committed to an Acts 17 generosity mindset?
After that, it just seemed like I had arrived on my journey. I knew what the rest of my life’s ministry was to be about. Looking back, I wasn’t ready for where God wanted me to be back in 2017. If I hadn’t sold The Charis Group and Giving365 I might not have taken this path. I might have missed God’s call for my future or at least took longer to arrive at this point. What I thought was a failure, what has caused me pain God used to forge me into a better coach.
20 plus year veteran – It took me about two years but I also realized that I don’t need to march under any other firms banner than my own. My past speaks for itself. You my clients speak for me. That is the result of nearly twenty one years in the generosity ministry.
Will I still do capital campaigns? Yes, for now. The need is still there and for a short period of time I think capital campaigns are needed and necessary. Yet, how you roll one out in an Acts 17 Culture is vastly different than in days gone by. Hey, I know someone who can help you with that!
Are you 1 of my 100 churches? I am ready to start coaching you.
So, that is the story of my journey. I have to tell you I am jazzed. I am also having more fun helping pastors and staff members than any time that I can remember. Thank you for giving me the honor of being an Aaron and Hur lifting up your hands.
Here’s to praying I get to coach you to the next level! I am and always shall be…
Mark Brooks – THE Stewardship Coach – For the Glory of God and His Church!