How generosity can bring unity and purpose to your family
“What defines us as a family?”
This question is at the forefront of Connie Hougland’s mind when she thinks about her family’s journey of generosity. When Connie, VP of Ministry Services, joined National Christian Foundation (NCF) 20 years ago, she didn’t have a heart for generosity. As she witnessed radical generosity from our givers, she became inspired to raise her young family with this same passion.
“I became captivated that God was after the heart behind my generosity, not the dollars,” remembers Connie. Connie and her husband, Blaine, embarked on their own family generosity journey and began to teach their four young kids that a $20 gift could have just as much impact from a heart level as someone else’s $2,000 gift. They talked as a family about how they could use their funds to serve others and gave each child their own money to decide who they wanted to give to and why.
“Oftentimes we don’t know what God’s plan is until He grows us,” says Connie. “Practicing generosity was a way to explore what He may have in store for us as individuals and as a family unit.”
Many families may have a financial strategy, but they don’t have a giving strategy. This can lead to missed opportunities, financially and spiritually. NCF helps givers understand the benefits of having an overall giving strategy so they can be wise stewards of all they have and experience the joy of greater generosity. One important component of a giving strategy is Family: parents, children, and relatives who are stewarding resources together.
Generosity is a beautiful force that can bind loved ones together with greater joy and a sense of purpose. When a family has a unified purpose for giving that also celebrates the uniqueness of each family member, spiritual capital is naturally transferred to the next generation.
Connie believes that “as parents, we should lead but not prescribe generosity. Just like we want our kids to own their own faith, we want them to have their own identity for generosity.” What’s beautiful is that by cultivating a spirit of generosity, every member gets to experience their own transformation, growth, and journey within the family. And sometimes in families of division, generosity can be a great uniter.
Connie and Blaine have watched their children grow into amazingly generous adults. “It is just part of who they are now,” says Connie. “I believe it’s because we talked openly about giving in our home, and we didn’t limit it to dollars. There’s great power in families serving together and discovering what each family member has to offer others now, and in the future.”
Uniting in generosity
Currently, Connie’s family is in a trying season as Blaine faces health challenges. “We are in awe of how our kids have supported and given back to us with such generosity,” Connie says. “It reminds me of an old family photo. We are all standing in a line with our arms linked. That’s who we are—a unit. We hold one another up, and as long as we’re connected, we can do anything. God’s design for generosity is that it changes us, and it can change the world. That’s the story that defines my family.”
God wants to unify your family through giving at every stage of life. It’s never too late to start having conversations with the people closest to you who currently, or will one day, share the privilege and responsibility of managing the resources that God has entrusted to you.
If you’re ready to learn how to design a Giving Strategy that can help you step into your story, including developing a family giving strategy, your NCF team is here to help.