Generosity is a character trait that is praised and encouraged throughout the Bible. Christians should be generous, churches should be generous, and healthy small groups should be generous. A while back, I threw together in my mind a list for evaluating the generosity of a group. Here it is:
- Are the needs of members met? A generous group does not have members who are homeless, starving, or destitute. (that initially feels like a strong statement, but I'm gonna stick with it)
- Are the needs of the community met? The manner in which a group stewards its resources (money, talents, time, energy, etc.), particularly in regards to the external community, says a lot about its generosity level.
- What's the EQ? - Every group has an "entitlement quotient" that mirrors the generosity level of the individuals. One way to gauge EQ is to measure how often "I", "my", and "mine" appear in conversations.
- In most churches, the pastors are making regular investments in the small groups. Are the needs of the pastors met? Sure, this feels self-serving; but I'll bet most pastors could tell you pretty easily (if they were willing to be honest) whether or not they feel that the groups in their church invest in their well-being.
- Are the needs of outsiders met? A generous group is a welcoming and giving group to visitors. How people feel after they visit a your group for the first time is a super indicator of the group's generosity level.