If you, like me, want a better understanding of ISIS–the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, read the New York Times article, “How ISIS works.” It provides a helpful overview of the organization, territory, financing, governing, military, and weapons.
Author Archives: wheelsms
Do you lean more towards a scarcity mentality or an abundance mentality? Truth be told, I’ve encountered more people in the church who seem to embrace a scarcity mentality. “There is only so much money, people, time, resources to go around. Once you spend it, it’s gone. We can’t do it because we just don’t have enough.” is the refrain sung by far too many.
I was challenged and encouraged by the sentiment expressed by Chris Willard & Jim Sheppard in their book, Contagious Generosity: Creating a culture of giving in your church.
When a church operates out of the belief that there are limited resources for the work of ministry, it operates at less than full capacity. It places limits on the dreams that are pursued. It restricts the ability of its people to think beyond what is currently believed to be possible. It minimizes ministry potential to the limits of available resources. This creates a “scarcity” mindset, rooted in a fear that one day we will run out of resources. Worse, when church leaders operate with this sense of scarcity, their behavior trickles down to the person in the pew. During recent times of recession, we heard many leaders talk about holding on to what they had. Sadly, we saw some congregations embrace their financial fears and stifle their faith. Instead of asking what God might do in the midst of challenging economic circumstances and dreaming up new opportunities to proclaim Christ, they limited their dreams by cutting budgets and scaling back ministry–and limited their potential for spiritual growth and community impact.
Churches that practice a contagious level of generosity don’t see or acknowledge limits. They begin with a foundational belief that we serve an all-powerful, all-knowing, and always-present God who creates resources when they don’t exist. Contagious giving is rooted in faith, and it remains open to the impossible. The paramount question is not, What do we need to cut to survive? It is, What is God calling us to do next? If the God we serve is not bound by our human limitations, then he certainly isn’t limited by our cash flow–or lack of it! We must remember that when God calls us to do something, he has already equipped us with the resources we need to do what he asks of us–even if that means depending on him and growing in our faith.
Scarcity or abundance is the difference between living in fear and living by faith. It goes back to the core of our theological convictions–what kind of a God do we believe in?
Last night began a new year for Awana at First Central Baptist Church in Chicopee, MA. We had over 80 students and teens involved in our Wednesday night ministries. We even began a new group – Puggles for 2-3 year olds. The place was hopping with energy, fun, learning, and growth. It was a great start. We’re encouraged and excited about what God has in store for us this year.