Malcolm Webber, the founder of LeaderSource ‒ a global leader development organization ‒ and Patrick Johnson, the founder of GenerousChurch, connected by Zoom for an introductory call.
As Patrick described the vision for unleashing generous disciples through transformational training, Malcolm stopped him and made a statement that would alter the direction of GenerousChurch.
“Patrick, you need to think beyond the Western church. The world needs the message of generosity,” Malcolm said. “I know global church leaders who have the faith to pray for people to rise from the dead who fear talking about money and giving.”
A meeting in Cambodia
This led to a gathering in Cambodia with teams from both ministries to brainstorm on how to best spread generosity in the 40+ countries where LeaderSource trains church and ministry leaders.
“GenerousChurch spent one day with our LeaderSource family from around the world,” said Malcolm. “As we unpacked the vision and passion for the biblical truth of generosity, our hearts were further stirred with the importance of this message. Moreover, we saw how whole-life generosity is a critical component of the life of the Christian leader and in the life of the Healthy Church.”
What became clear over the course of that day was that the models of generosity created by GenerousChurch (see ReThink Generosity) intersected with LeaderSource’s models of leader development. There was synergy.
The development of LeaderSource generosity training
Over the next two months, LeaderSource developed a training course using their leader development models with GenerousChurch’s generosity content. There were back and forth conversations between the ministries to sharpen the training. The “Shaping a Culture of Generosity” course emerged from this work.
“It was such a joy working with Malcolm and his team to design the generosity training,” says Patrick. “They are skilled training designers so we simply helped catalyze the development through the 16+ years of generosity content and expertise that we’ve gained in serving church leaders.”
The launch and impact
The following month, Malcolm and Patrick delivered the “Shaping a Culture of Generosity” course to the global LeaderSource network through Zoom. There was deep engagement by the LeaderSource team and excitement at how this generosity training would be another tool to strengthen leaders and churches.
Impact didn’t take long. Within 60 days, generosity training had been held by LeaderSource in Northern India and Nigeria. Stories began to emerge of leaders feeding the poor, a leader buying land to build an orphanage, and one leader who even gave the shoes off her own feet to someone in need.
One of the most powerful stories of impact was a generosity training led by LeaderSource in Southeast Asia. During three half-day sessions, close to 2,000 pastors and leaders were led through the generosity training.
“It was a fantastic training,” says the LeaderSource staff member who led the training. “I think it was totally new for everybody. It was mind-blowing for everybody. People kept sharing their amazement at God’s generosity throughout our time together. We are already hearing stories of these pastors taking the training back to train their churches.”
Over the last 18 months the LeaderSource team has trained over 5,000 leaders on biblical generosity using the Shaping a Culture of Generosity course.
An effective model
There are typically three ways that the West brings training to the rest of the world. The first is the “expert model.” A Western speaker will travel oversees to deliver content. The second is the “train the trainer model.” A product will be created in the West and then people will be trained oversees to deliver the product.
The third model which LeaderSource has pioneered is the “design model” ‒ people working together to design training that fits their culture and context. This is what LeaderSource and GenerousChurch partnered together to do with their Shaping a Culture of Generosity Training!
What would it look like to recapture the energy and impact of the Acts 2 and 4 church through Biblical generosity? What if global leaders could unleash generous disciples who obeyed the teachings of Jesus on generosity? We believe that models like partnerships like LeaderSource and GenerousChurch are a step closer to this vision.
GenerousChurch has launched the Generosity Design Lab, a process to catalyze the development of generosity training for church and ministry networks. LeaderSource has been both the inspiration and a mentor along the way.