NCF Research: Wise Stewardship and Generous Christians
Motivation for Giving
The landscape of Christian giving is changing. but in some ways, it is very much the same. A principle that has motivated generosity for decades (and centuries) continues to be a driving force behind giving today – a desire to please God.
Our friends from the National Christian Foundation (NCF) recently commissioned one of the largest research studies on Christian giving. They surveyed 1,287 U.S. Christians, recruited from a broad sample, to find out what motivates givers and what people hope to get from their giving.
They recently published their key findings and we’d like to highlight one that really encouraged us.
Easy to Implement
NCF worked with research organizations Barna Group and Heart and Mind Strategies to explore not only financial giving goals, but also motivations and ultimate aspirations of Christian givers. What do they hope to accomplish by giving? The researchers expected to see a wide range of responses. Various perspectives did emerge. Some givers value making an impact most (7%). Others prioritize sharing God’s love with the world (8%). And some just want to give more (4%).
But the most defining aspiration of Christian givers, the research discovered, is the desire to be good and wise stewards of what God has given them. This desire is the driving force for almost half the Christian givers (42%) who were surveyed and was selected by more than twice as many respondents as any other option.
The research dug deeper to find that one of the influencers driving that motivation is the core belief that God owns it all and that everything they have belongs to him. We see this in our own experience. Many generous givers we know tell us, “I own nothing. I am just a steward of what is his.”
With this insight, it became clear why being a good and wise steward of what God has given is the overwhelming driver for the majority of Christian givers. In the research, it didn’t matter the age, gender, or the amount they give. With few exceptions, generous Christians take a broad view of the financial resources they have, through the lens of good and wise stewardship. Despite differing perspectives on a variety of subjects, the desire to be good and faithful stewards unites almost all Christian givers.
Ultimately, what this research found is that Christian givers want to be good stewards who are faithful in the giving God has called them to do. Their biblical worldview informs their thinking and reaches their hearts. And that faithfulness leads to joy and gratitude. It stems from the longing to hear these words:
“Well done, good and faithful servant...enter into the joy of your Master.”
Jill Turner is a writer, editor, curriculum designer, and language teacher who serves as the Managing Editor for the National Christian Foundation.