Here is a list of 22 simple yet impactful ways you can encourage people in your church to practice generosity to those right around them.
1. Practice gratitude:
In other words, refuse to be a complainer. Instead, look for the positive and then share it with others. Rather than contacting the complaint department whenever something is wrong, commit to only contacting businesses when you receive good customer service or excellent product delivery. Memorize and practice Colossians 3:15.
2. Share your stuff:
Have extra of some things? Why not share with those who don’t? Right now, things like toilet paper, disinfectant, hand cleaner, etc. are in short supply. Donate them to neighbors, local shelters and nursing homes. Then make it a habit to share your stuff with others from now on.
3. Remember the homeless:
These folks are always at risk but especially now. Call your local homeless shelter and ask what they need, then deliver what you can.
4. Help the youth:
Older generations have a lot to share with younger people. If you’ve faced previous hardships, your experience can provide fresh perspective and comfort to kids who are struggling with their current situation.
5. Shop local:
Call first, then order delivery or carry out. Go ahead and buy some gift cards while you’re there! Choose to give some away or keep some for future use.
6. Give blood:
The American Red Cross has a huge shortage right now. Once the current situation has passed, you’ll already know how easy it is to donate regularly.
7. Support the service industry:
Prepay your barber, hair salon, the babysitter, etc. using Paypal, Venmo or Apple Pay. Send them a note letting them know you care.
8. Go senior shopping:
Perhaps you can run errands, pick up groceries (even medications with permission) for the elderly and those who are immuno-compromised.
9. Get some exercise:
The gym may be closed, but your neighbors need some yard work done. Call and ask if you can help out. Be the person who brings everyone’s trash bins back to the garage after the collection trucks have left your neighborhood. One Kansas City metro neighborhood had a person who did this every week for those on his street. After a while he was given the honorary title of “Mayor” for his subdivision because of this one simple but thoughtful act.
10. Order some flowers:
Have them delivered to a place of business that remains open or other “essential” organization. Include a note letting them know you’re praying for them.
11. Use technology:
Apps like Nextdoor let you see if any neighbors have asked for help. Reach out to them and be a blessing.
12. Help local food banks:
Call first to ask what they need. Things like funds, food, or volunteer help.
13. Stay connected:
Texting is fine. Email is okay. But picking up the phone and calling someone is even better. Consider using Zoom or FaceTime to stay in touch. This is good for both your friend and your own soul.
14. Reconsider your finances:
Now is the time to examine your spending, saving and especially your giving practices. Prayerfully consider what needs to change in the area of financial generosity. We’re not talking about tithing – we’re talking about living generously, being radical with the resources God has entrusted to you. Luke 6:38
15. Remember widows and orphans:
You can never go wrong being generous to those who are at risk and vulnerable. James 1:27
16. Order food:
Place the order and have it delivered…to someone else! Firefighters, EMTs, Paramedics, hospital staff, and many others would be delighted to have a box of fresh donuts, a couple of hot pizzas or some excellent Barbeque delivered to their workplace.
17. Remember your church:
Consider volunteering for an area of ministry you know is always lacking help. Contact the appropriate staff member now and let them know you’re “all in” when services resume. Then keep your promise. Also, remember to contribute faithfully. Malachi 3:10
18. Pray and fast:
We’re commanded to pray without ceasing. Now is a perfect time to practice the spiritual disciplines of prayer and fasting.
19. Write some notes:
Nothing beats a handwritten note. Sit down with pen and paper, jot a brief message of encouragement and drop it in the mail. Everyone loves getting personal mail. Remember the old saying regarding letters, “You have to write them to get them.”
20. Enjoy being quarantined:
Stay home and use the extra time to get some cleaning, organizing or simple projects done. Staying home helps protect those of you who have health risks and protects those around you too.
21. Be creative:
These are just a few ideas, but I bet you can come up with many others. Keep the current restrictions in mind, and make your ideas fit the context of your current situation.
22. Remember who you are:
Or better put, remember to Whom you belong. As Americans we have the right to free speech. As Christians we have the authority to speak truth. But we have to earn the right to be heard. When you speak, be positive, loving, caring, and gentle. Live out the Fruit of the Spirit. Call your neighbor to ask how you can help them. Ask if you can pray for them. Share a favorite passage of Scripture with them. Be generous in love!