Dennis Gorski: Casting a Vision of The Generous Church In Pursuit of The Great Commission
- Intyerview by Phil Miglioratti @ The Reimagine.Network
- Dynamis Ministries @ The Reimagine.Network Ministry Hub
- #Refocus Disciplship with Generosity by Phil Mgilioratti
"dy-na-mis: the state of that which is not yet fully realized: power, potentiality"
PHIL >>> What is it about this definition, this word, that has caused you to reimagine your life; professionally and personally?
DENNIS >>> I believe that when we are born and come in to this world that we have been perfectly created in the image of God and have been called to be part of the body of Christ and fulfill our holy purpose. And then we grow up in this fallen and sinful world and get distracted and confused by messages of secular culture and consumption and accumulation and performance. These aren’t all necessarily evil forces but they may obstruct our true God given and God ordained power and potential. And so at Dynamis we help individuals uncover, discover, and recover that true and impactful potential. I am on that daily journey…..and certainly don’t have it all figured out. And we at Dynamis strive to help others who are on that journey and who are interested in doing something about it.
"Generosity is giving something to someone from what we've been given."
PHIL >>> How does this description radically change our standard motivation for generosity?"
DENNIS >>> If we were to a play word association game, so often if I say ‘generous‘ the word ‘money’ is said in response. And while money is certainly something we have been given by God, to focus generosity on just worldly treasure is just so limiting. We have been given so so much by God. Everything good has been given to us by God. It is these talents, insights, holy attitudes, spiritual gifts, passions and hours in the day that have come from God that we are called to steward and leverage and use for the benefit of others and to further the Kingdom. When we approach it in this manner I believe we think of generosity in a whole different way. And hopefully positive action follows good thinking.
"Generosity is not just an act; it comes from the heart first...a spirit of generosity."
PHIL >>> Agree/Disagree and explain why: The Church has limited teachings about generosity to financial stewardship but there is a much greater potential when we integrate generosity into all areas of spiritual life.
DENNIS >>> I actually disagree. I come from a church tradition where the axiom of “time, talent, and treasure” was often bandied about. But I believe this broader and more wholistic teaching of generosity often was cursory in nature. And then under the pressure of self survival the church probably focused more on financial stewardship than other aspects of generosity. I’d rather not comment on how the church might or might not be coming up short..…..I just know if we call ourselves followers and imitators of Jesus and then examine how we operate in the spirit of generosity compared to Him we have so much more we can do. And the amazing secret is when we do it is freeing and life giving!
"Imagine what will happen to the world when a movement of people across the country multiply their God-given potential for generosity."
PHIL >>> Your vision is wider than financial planning for wealthy Christians. You want to harness the movmental potential of the Church; congregations expressing generosity as they pursue the Great Commission to make Jesus followers in their neighborhood and to the nations.
•How do we begin to express generosity in worship? >>> I believe to grow in our generosity we first must truly realize and appreciate all we have been given. Really bathe in and contemplate ALL we have been freely given. We didn’t earn or deserve any of it…..from material to salvation and everything in between. This is where our worship should begin. And it doesn’t just have to be in a church. It can be in solitude and prayer at home or while spending time with loved ones or experiencing nature. From this worshipful position of what we have been given we can grow and deepen our giving.
•What does generosity look like in fellowship >>>It is a posture and disposition. It is being fully present and listening and asking sincere questions. And then gently, often with permission or blessing it is responding in love.
•Where does generosity fit in discipleship? >>> I believe there are levels of discipleship. There is a basic level of following Jesus that includes regular worship, Scripture, prayer, and service. And then there are deepening layers where we give our lives away, as Jesus did. This is where a generous mindset, behaviors and actions really come in to play. Generosity is love and service which is discipleship.
•Expand our view of generosity beyond financial stewardship... >>> See the above answer.
•How can generosity fuel evangelism? >>> There is a childhood song “they will know we are Christians by our love”, you could exchange the word generosity for love. Or there is a famous phrase “preach the Gospel…..occasionally use words”. Both of these typify how generosity leads to evangelism. How do we differentiate ourselves? What would cause someone to come up to us and ask, “I can tell you are different, what is that, why is that?” Generosity can open those doors to introduce Jesus to someone.
"Connect with your heart for the world."
PHIL >>> Explain how these relate to generosity...
•Spiritual Gifts >>> Generosity is giving something to someone from which we first were given. Spiritual gifts are a perfect example. We’ve been given them and they should be used and developed and given. Many times people are unaware of their spiritual gifts or they need to be validated or nudged into use. We make their discovery part of our Generosity Plan process.
•Passions >>> Often people practice some level of generosity because they were simply asked. And they responded out of guilt or compulsion. We find when we tap in to their passions that generosity can be more meaningful, deeper and long lasting. These could be things like injustices, homelessness, children, evangelism. The list is endless. Our custom Generosity Plans use their passions as foundational to suggested action steps.
•Life Experiences >>> In the same way life teaches us things and inspires. An individual may have experienced or witnessed cancer or abuse or other negative items. On the other hand they may have experienced or witnessed tremendous generosity from someone and it has always inspired them. We are all on a journey, and understanding someone’s life story is foundational to us building their custom Generosity Plan.
•Financial Capacity >>> While I have downplayed money in this conversation, it still can be a very big component of generosity. There are a variety of tools and vehicles that can be utilized and leveraged along with someone’s passions and life experience to live out their generosity. These too are part of someone’s Generosity Plan as appropriate.
"A generosity plan is going to change your life and change your world."
PHIL >>> Share one more thing you have learned about generosity that will inspire or instruct us as we lead in ministry?
DENNIS >>> People, individuals and couples, have so much potential to further live out what God may be calling them to. They have this deep longing to be heard and understood. It is often covered up by defense mechanisms, but when they get a little vulnerable and transparent it is just amazing to learn their story and what gifts they have that they really want to use and give away to change the world. It just needs some listening and nudging. I believe it is our role as ministry leaders to be the ones that listen and nudge. That is what we try to do at Dynamis and what I believe more of us as ministry leaders can do.
"Welcome God's work in your generosity life."
PHIL >>> Dennis, please write a prayer leaders can make their own as they begin to incorporate a spirit of generosity in their own life and into the lives of those they serve in ministry...
Heavenly Father, Creator of all good, I praise and worship you for all the love and generosity you pour down on me, especially your Son Jesus, and His saving grace.
Help me to fully comprehend your gifts to me. Help me to receive them.
And help me to give them away.
And Lord, help me to use my position and platform to model this to others.
Let them know we are Yours by the way we love. Amen.
Feedback from Dwight Burchett ~
“This re-framing our thoughts about our stewardship is a good way to accomplish far more in our short lifetime in the Lord’s work.”