Using the Trump Card of Vision to Unlock Generosity

Using the Trump Card of Vision to Unlock Generosity

The trump card to unlocking generosity in your church depends upon the connecting power of your vision. The Free Dictionary defines a trump card as a designated card that ranks above all others or a resource used to gain an advantage over others, often by being held and then used at an opportune time.1. If you have ever played Spades, you know that a spade of any kind trumps the highest card of any other suit in the deck. The key to winning in Spades is to play your trump cards at an opportune time.

When it comes to increasing generosity, your trump card is your vision. This Coach is entitled Using the Trump Card of Vision to Unlock Generosity. As I continue my training camp series to begin our year, I want to end my writing on the basics by talking about the importance of your vision when it comes to increasing generosity. The last two posts have dealt with the importance of the offering. However, you can never reach your offering potential without a vision.

Remember what I wrote in my opening post of the year: “Here is one of my core principles: It is not that we ask for money that people hate. It is how we ask for money that matters. I’m going to show you how to create a desire within people to want to give to your church.” One key way to do this is by using the connecting power of vision.

How can we engage the next generation of churchgoers in generosity? I was asked that question a few weeks ago on a podcast. I pulled out a quote from a young pastor in Missouri that I interviewed in 2021. Pastor Jon Nelsonsaid,We need to assume younger generations know nothing and start by answering the question, “Why do we give?” It is not enough to say the Bible says to give. We must tell them why it says that. I find this is especially important to younger generations. When they grasp the why of giving and see what giving can accomplish, they are all in.” I find that nothing helps people grasp the why of giving like a compelling vision.

We must recognize that people give to that which matters. Your members have multiple options of where to give their gifts. This means you have competition. Thus, you must answer this question for your donors: What difference does giving to your church make? I have found that the best way to get people started on the generosity journey is by casting a vision for every appeal.

What is the driver of your appeal? Every “ask” needs to have what I call a driver attached to it. The driver is the appeal or story behind the “ask.” Every appeal, from your offering time to social media appeals to direct mail, needs a driver. By driver, I mean what you want people to do. I know you want them to give, but why, to what, for what? Each appeal needs a message that drives the need to give into my heart.

People give to specific things, not simply to help the church make the budget. For instance, if you are writing a letter to keep summer giving strong, make the appeal about supporting the ministries you are doing this summer. Don’t simply write and say we are behind. Please give more to help us catch up. Why is catching up important? So, what if we don’t make the budget? Show them in the appeal why giving is important. Drive your message into their heart so that it will penetrate into their wallet.

Nonprofits always lead with their vision. I learned this formula for making appeals from a non-profit fundraiser many years ago. They taught that every appeal should contain a…

Crisis – I want my donors to know about…
Need – We can help by…
Ask – Your gift NOW will help us meet this need!

What is the driver in your appeals that will connect your members’ hearts with your need for dollars?

In the fall of 2008, I started writing my first book, Recession Proof Your Offerings. One of the chapters of that book was entitled “Vision: The Reason People Give.” If you remember, we were in the midst of what became known as The Great Recession. Scores of churches ceased to exist due to the financial pressure the economy created upon giving. I contend they did not have a giving problem. They had a vision problem. Here is what I wrote in 2008:

“Vision, when it comes to stewardship, is the main driver of why people give. Vision is what keeps me giving even when the economy is down. Never will vision be more important than in stressful economic times. Several years ago, I coined this truth: Good Vision Trumps Bad Economy!”

The churches that had a compelling vision and communicated that effectively are the churches that weathered COVID-19 better than those whose appeal was to save the institution. A good vision trumped the virus and the economic downturn resulting from the ensuing Lockdown. As our economy continues to struggle, good vision will trump that as well.

“Because I said so!” Did you ever blurt that out after continually having one of your children ask why? How did that work out for you? In my house, it never went over well. I learned to stop saying that and stop and give my kids time to explain the why of my request. We need to take the same tack when it comes to our children in the faith.

I don’t believe that stewardship is an option for Christians. Giving is not an option; it’s a command. Yet, at the same time, I recognize that to get many started on the road of stewardship, they need motivation. I find a better tack to take is by using the connecting power of your vision.

In my opening post of the year, I shared the importance of church leaders having the right attitude regarding stewardship and generosity. I summed up that section with my attitude statement that said,

Our mission, to impact our world for Jesus, is given to us by God. We are changing the world one life at a time. Since all this is true, why would a Christian not want to give money to support our mission?

If you want to improve giving, improve how you communicate your vision. In my next post, I will start sharing how. Check out my Bonus Section for thoughts on making a case for your vision.

Mark Brooks – The Stewardship Coach, the leading online giving processor in America, sponsors my writing. OG is owned and operated by committed Christians active in their local church. Find out more about their services at You can also read the blog post I wrote for them at


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