Since this blog is all about Transformational Giving, and since Transformational Giving is all about being comprehensively formed in the image of Christ through what God commends in scripture, and since scripture commends the practice of gleaning (i.e., giving the poor and the alien the opportunity to harvest leftover crop portions), we were excited to see a story about a young gleaner named Corinne Almquist on ABC News.
The story doesn’t quite hit the biblical bullseye in that Corinne Almquist is not herself poor but rather a surrogate who gleans the food herself and then provides it to the poor:
Ideally, people who take free food from a food shelf would help with gleaning. But “that’s really a time issue,” she says. “Many of the people using the food shelf are working multiple jobs and are already struggling to find time to cook and feed their families. They don’t necessarily have time to come out and help pick.”
In an economy with a 10% unemployment rate it seems like there’s room for some further thought on that one, but we’ll leave it alone for now.
What is worth ruminating about for now, however, is that the article says Corrine received a one year fellowship (from Compton Foundation Inc. in Redwood City, California) to practice gleaning and spread the practice within her sphere of influence, namely, Northwestern Vermont.
Almquist’s quest to introduce gleaning is “quite inspiring,” says Ms. Snow, who is acting as her mentor for the fellowship. “She has tremendous energy and drive and sees her potential to make an impact.”
So my question is this:
What could happen if churches began to see themselves as Transformational Giving foundations, granting fellowships to champions in their congregation with tremendous energy and drive to spread certain practices of biblical giving within their sphere of influence?
At present, churches see themselves as recipients of donations and tend to hire giving consultants (for example, capital campaign consultants) for the purpose of getting congregation members to give more donations.
But imagine a church providing a one-year fellowship to an individual within the congregation who has been faithful to practice a particular kind of Transformational Giving (say, for example, Corinne and her gleaning), for the purpose of enabling that individual to devote themselves full time to growing even deeper in that practice–and to spreading that Transformational Giving practice within the church and the community? (And don’t miss the mentorship component in all of that, by the way.)
Corinne, interestingly, does not appear to have started a nonprofit gleaning organization; instead, she works directly with farmers and food banks, individuals and idealogues, to glean and to encourage others to glean, to offer gleaned food and to encourage others to eat it.
She even includes recipes with the turnips she gleans so that people will know what to use them for.
Once churches overcome their institutional survival instincts (which, while completely sensible, are not completely biblical), they will be set free to set others free through Transformational Giving fellowships. And when they do that, who do you suppose will benefit the most from that practice?
The church, of course.
As TG Principle 7 notes:
In a church-based TG fellowship program, the congregational Corinnes would influence, mentor, and grow the other members of the congregation, with the pastor and other leaders influencing, mentoring, and growing the congregational Corinnes. After all, wouldn’t it make sense for the pastor and other leaders, instead of spreading their time out to try to teach giving to the whole congregation who may or may not be ready, to teach the Corinnes who can then reach many in the whole congregation who can then reach many in the whole congregation–a far more effective progression?
That’s 2 Timothy 2:2 in action…and that’s the basis for the (yet largely untested in modern times) practice of Transformational Giving training and transmission in the New Testament.