Part 2: Taking Stock and Seeking Divine Guidance
One distinction between philanthropy and Biblical generosity is inviting God to guide your giving. As you read the guide below, prayerfully consider what God has entrusted to you for giving and seek His guidance through specific prayer questions about where He is leading you in your generosity.
The Importance of a Giving Plan.
The mission and vision of NCF North Texas is to see each family we serve use a written and saved family plan, created through prayer for what God wills for them, to drive their Biblical generosity. A useful, Biblically-based giving plan has three key ingredients:
- A plan for creating charitable resources;
- A plan for investing charitable resources when applicable; and
- A plan for giving charitable resources.
These 3 ingredients mix together with prayer to allow the Lord to direct us to the “good works”, which He prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10). Having a prayer-inspired plan for gifting charitable resources is essential. It (1) helps ensure that we are actively looking for giving opportunities that God is calling us to; and (2) it is a God-inspired tool that allows us to say no to opportunities that may be really good…but are not the good works that God desires us to walk in.
Before sitting down with the Lord in prayer, it is best for you as the steward to gather certain information that will help facilitate your time in prayer. Think of it as a steward’s “to do” list before you meet with the owner.
1. Assess your charitable storehouse. By “charitable storehouse” we mean your NCF Giving Fund or any other “account” that holds “charitable assets”—resources God may call you to use at different times for building His Kingdom through giving.
Charitable Storehouse Overall Starting Balance – $______________
2. Previous giving and commitments to your local church. Before COVID-19, was God calling on your family to support your local church with first fruits offerings? Before COVID-19, did God call your family to make anything charitable commitments to your local church or to any other church that are still outstanding?
Total outstanding giving goals and commitments to the local church before COVID-19 – $_____________________
Total outstanding giving goals and commitments to other churches before COVID-19 – $_____________________
3. Previous giving and commitments to para-church ministries and other non-profits. Before COVID-19, was God calling your family to support missionaries or any para-church or other non-profit organizations this year? If so, add up the annual amount for each and total them up.
Total outstanding giving goals and commitments to missionaries, para-church ministries and other non-profits before COVID-19 – $_____________________
4. Savings for future giving. Before COVID-19, how was God instructing your family to set aside some portion of your Charitable Storehouse holdings for future giving?
Future giving – $___________________
Seeking Divine Guidance
After you have done your stewardship assessment above, you are now ready for guided prayer. What follows are guided prayer points to help in your time with the Lord.
A note about prayer. Seeking God’s direction can be challenging under the best of circumstances, but we are promised that the Holy Spirit will help provide grace for our time in prayer. Here is some scripture that you might find helpful in preparing for this prayer meeting with the Lord: John 15:1-17; Romans 8:26; Hebrews 11:6; and James 1:5-8.
A. Contents of the Charitable Storehouse
“Lord, are there any assets that I manage outside of the Charitable Storehouse that you want me to contribute to the Charitable Storehouse so that we can increase our charitable giving?”
B. Future Giving to Our Local Church
The initial information that we are receiving is that local churches will be hit hard by this crisis financially. It is one thing for a church of any size to have a “snow day” Sunday like we experienced several years ago. But to not have Sunday community worship and the corresponding offering for several weeks in a row will be devastating unless church members continue to return the tithe even if they are not at church on Sunday.
“Lord, in light of our past giving to our local church, are you calling upon us to do anything other than maintain that level of giving going forward?”
“Lord, in light of COVID-19, are you calling upon us to give more to our local church: For the church’s unrestricted use? For the church’s use as it engages in local relief efforts?”
C. Future Giving to Our Favorite Charities
We expect that all faith-based non-profit organizations in our area serving Kingdom needs will come under enormous financial pressure. Like with your local church, one or more of your favorite ministries may already be serving directly in the relief effort. Consider visiting their websites or calling them to find out.
“Lord, in light of our past giving to our favorite charities, are you calling on us to do anything other than maintain that level of giving going forward?”
“Lord, in light of COVID-19, are you calling upon us to complete any annual gift sooner?”
“Lord, in light of COVID-19, are you calling us to give more to any of our favorite charities to help them in their relief efforts?”
D. Savings for Future Giving
“Lord, in light of COVID-19, are you calling on us to decrease what we planned to save for future giving so that we can increase current giving toward the relief effort?”
We would like the opportunity to pray with you as you seek God in your giving and help guide you through this spiritual process. Additionally, if you would like to know more about creating a giving strategy, we are here to connect with you and discuss this further.