Countercultural Church Generosity in Today’s Culture - Read and Watch

August 7, 2019

Question: When people think of the church today, what often comes to mind?

Watch Tim Keller speak about the countercultural nature of the early church in Acts 2 and 4.

Tim Keller says that the announcement of Jesus’ resurrection resulted in the early church becoming “a city within a city—of love and service, not power and exploitation.”

Question: How might love and service be countercultural in your context?


The great American novelist Flannery O’ Connor was purported to have once quoted John 8:32 as follows:

“You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you odd.” [Tweet This]

For those looking in from the outside, the early Christians in Jerusalem would have appeared very odd. Why?

While the 1st century world did not practice possessive individualism (like our contemporary context), it did reflect an imperial pyramid of rank and status. Those whose rank was at the top of the social pyramid (the emperor, Roman senators, local aristocrats, those of free-born status) had access to social power and wealth. All others lacked the currencies of rank and status.

The Early Church Contrast

In contrast to this paradigm was the early church’s communal practice of shared life (“...they had all things in common” - Acts 2:44). This shared life in Christ found expression in a lifestyle fully dependent on God (see Acts 2:45). This in turn was radically countercultural.

This generosity flowed from the resurrected life of Christ (Acts 2:32-36). The power of this new life with Jesus was visibly seen in the generosity practiced by these Christ-followers. It’s worth noting that this power was expressed in the mundane, daily, normal routines of life: worshipping together and sharing common meals in homes (Acts 2:46). It also moved outside the shared life of the Christ-followers, resulting in their “having favor with all the people” (Acts 2:47).

Generosity Applied

Generosity is about using anything and everything that might draw people away from death and into the life of God and into the shared life of the people of God, bringing flourishing to the world by ending the reign of isolation, loneliness, poverty, hunger and despair. Applying this countercultural practice will be a signpost to the world that Jesus is Lord and that God’s kingdom is present.

“Christianity always flourishes most as a life-giving minority, not as a powerful majority. It is through subversive, countercultural acts of love, justice, and service for the common good that Christianity has always gained the most ground.” – Scott Sauls [Tweet This]

Reflect and Respond

Many people in our society associate generosity with the spectacular: for example, the mission of The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to eliminate global malaria.

Where might generosity be expressed in the ordinary routines of life within your home? Within your neighborhood? Within your church community?

Please post your thoughts and answers below. 

Build Your Countercultural Church

"I have never been in a meeting, even in this church with people who have known each other for decades, where people became so real and transparent with each other as they did during this time.” - Rodney Schell, Executive Pastor, Park Cities Baptist

As a next step in building your countercultural church, we recommend the Overflow Experience -- a casual, interactive retreat experience with no lectures, break-outs or brainstorming sessions. Our retreats are discussion-based around inspiring real-life stories and Scripture. Staff or trained volunteers from GenerousChurch facilitate each Overflow Experience. 

And thanks to the generosity of our ministry partners, the retreat is affordable and accessible. 

Learn More about hosting your own local event.

Contact Us with any questions.  

Print and Share:
Add a comment
Explore and share
Signup for digests of our blog, videos, news, and library (sample)
Find us on Facebook

© 2020 GenerousChurch | Privacy

Print this page

The box below displays a preview of how the page will print.

Print now  |  No thanks

Thank you!

We're excited you've decided to subscribe to GenerousChurch's weekly email digest of our blog, videos, news, and library posts. Look for the next edition in your inbox soon!

Return to the site

eNewsletter Sample