Unlocking four different reasons to give

Do different kinds of personalities prefer to give to different kinds of causes?


All Christians are to give – we know that, and as pastors we find ourselves in the difficult position of teaching people the joy of giving, and also needing them to act on that teaching without manipulating them.

But what if there are different reasons to give, some which resonate more with some people than others, and some of which fit our leadership style and our church’s stage of life?

Bear with me – I’m trying this idea out for size.

I recently read ‘Built for Growth: How Builder personality shapes your business, your team, and your ability to win’ by Chris Kuenne and John Danner (Boston: Harvard Business Review Press, 2017)

It’s a secular business book on start-ups and entrepreneurship, but it makes interesting parallel reading for what they might argue would be the four main personality types of potential planters, their strengths, blind spots, and ways to be complemented as their churches grow.


And as a side issue, how they will attract funding (in their terms, venture capital and investors) from particular kinds of people, as their plants take on different styles.  Knowing that, therefore, how they can attract funding from other people, appealing to different reasons to give.

We aren’t all wired to be planters (aka entrepreneurs), and so the book is doubly distant from the rest of us: secular and focussed on a different ministry, but how about thinking about the financial giving of people in your church like this:

Type 1 is attracted to a driven, focussed leader, and they are drawn to give in order to support a risky passion, with high stakes. They’ll back a plant in a tough part of town. They’ll give more to your church if you don’t play it safe. They need a challenge.

Type 2 is attracted to a crusading, altruistic leader, and they are drawn to support a big cause which will make a long-term difference. They’ll support a campaign to lift young girls out of the sex trade. They’ll give more to your church if you aim to change lives and circumstances in a focussed way. They need a story.

Type 3 is attracted to a curious, systematic leader, and they are drawn to give to find a solution to a particular problem. They’ll back bible translation in Mongolia. They’ll give more to your church if you identify projects. They need a need.

Type 4 is attracted to a relational, collaborative leader, and they are drawn to give to support an experienced team with a known track record. They’ll back an established parachurch ministry.  They’ll give more to your church if you aim at solid, rounded disciple-making for the long haul. They need a plan.

Now the good news is, that all four types (I don’t have flashy names for them) give for good reasons, and to good gospel causes.  Even better, core ministry at church (eg preaching), has all four elements within it, so everyone has a reason to support it. And the best news is, the more of the different kinds of reasons we can give for giving, the more different kinds of generosity will be unlocked.

The more of the different kinds of reasons we can give for giving, the more different kinds of generosity will be unlocked.

This is first draft thinking, so do pile in – are there other types? Other reasons? Other needs?

And which type are you?  Which type do you need to become?

Want to be in the loop? You know the drill.

Success! You're on the list.

2 comments on “Unlocking four different reasons to give”

  1. Thanks, Chris, really thought-provoking. But it begs a prior question: how much of a Christian’s responsibility to give, can and should be delegated to his or her church? Is it the Jerusalem model in Acts, where property was sold and the money brought to the church leaders? Or is it the Corinthian model, where each individual is to set aside their contribution [for the Jerusalem church!]? Perhaps it depends on the culture/situation?

    1. Good question – I reckon a Christian has 100% responsibility over who to give to – local church and elsewhere. Acts seems clear that such generosity was spontaneous, not mandatory. Once given to the church, the responsible people (deacons, or equivalent) should have the discretion; they know more about individual circumstances.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s