Be Generous. Even at Work.

Brad M. Griffin | Jun 16, 2011

Last week I read this Harvard Business Review post by Jodi Glickman about the importance of generosity in the workplace. The proposition, early on, is that generosity can make your career. While the end in mind in this piece is advancing yourself through being generous to others, there are some great principles and ideas for becoming a generous person toward multiple ends, including honoring Christ in the way you serve your colleagues.

In ministry environments, this can be tough. Too often churches and nonprofits operate out of a scarcity mentality: we dont have enough resources (money, people, time, etc.) to get the work done. So if I give away any of those resources (the ones under my control) to serve someone elses goals, my own goals might go unmet.

Heres the basic gist of Glickmans proposition:

Generous people share information readily, share credit often, and give of their time and expertise easily. What comes across is a strong work ethic, great communication skills, and a willingness and ability to collaborate. Leaders and managers who are generous engender trust, respect and goodwill from their colleagues and employees.

When we show a strong work ethic, become better communicators, and make collaboration part of our DNA, we strengthen the people around us to do their jobs better. I think part of the secret here is viewing resources in abundance rather than scarcity, including the resources we tend to be stingy with (our own time, skills, and stuff). Could it be possible that we have enough, right now, to do what God has called us to do right now? If so, how could that free us to give generously of ourselves to fulfill that collective calling?

Or to say it another way, what if ministry workplaces became the model of living and working generously with others?

Brad M. Griffin

Brad M. Griffin is the Senior Director of Content for the Fuller Youth Institute, where he develops research-based training for youth workers and parents. A speaker, writer, and volunteer youth pastor, Brad is the coauthor of over a dozen books, including 3 Big Questions That Change Every Teenager, Faith in an Anxious World, Growing Young, several Sticky Faith books, Every Parent’s Guide to Navigating Our Digital World, and Can I Ask That? Brad and his family live in Southern California, where he serves as Pastor of Youth and Family Ministries at Mountainside Communion.


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