Brady Boyd, senior pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, has recently released his seventh book, titled Extravagant: Discovering a Life of Dangerous Generosity. Using the parable of the Good Samaritan as the backdrop for the book, Boyd shows us that, by constantly offering our time, talents, and hearts, we can live life with genuine generosity.
I had a chance to sit down with Boyd to unpack the nuances of the book.
How can generosity bring healing?
There is not one ill in our society today that could not be healed, if people were compassionate, hospitable, and generous. If we would just get back to those 3 things, then the political, racial, and economic divisions in our country could be healed. I know that sounds simplistic, but it’s actually very radical.
There are not many people that are crossing over those boundaries anymore. We’ve become increasingly tribalistic in our thinking, in our politics, and even in our churches. Because of that, we only hang around people who agree with us. We tend to live in suburbs where people vote like us, make the same amount of money as us, and enjoy the same hobbies we do. It is becoming less and less common in our culture for us to get outside of our comfort and safety and cross over those boundaries into places that make us uncomfortable.
If we don’t get out of our comfort zone, we are going to look up one day, and the Great Commission will no longer be fulfilled in our churches.
I love that Jesus said, “Go into all the world”—not just go into the parts of the world where you feel comfortable (Mark 16:15). He also said in Acts, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). We have to cross over boundaries. We have to become uncomfortable, and we have to show hospitality to people that are not like us.
What is so radical about the story of the Good Samaritan?
The Good Samaritan had money. Jesus explains in extravagant detail that he had money. He also had time, so he was willing to be interrupted, to be inconvenienced. Jesus said he had 2 silver coins, which was a lot of money for a Samaritan to have. Jesus did not mince words here. The details of this parable are important for us to catch. Jesus is saying, “Listen, if you want to be my disciple, if you want to love your neighbor, these are the radical things I’m asking you to do. Spend money that you’ve saved on people that you don’t know, so they can be helped.”
How can pastors cultivate generosity in their churches?
Generous churches are led by generous pastors. If the senior leadership of a church is not modeling generosity, then the church will never be generous. That starts with private generosity. I know a lot of pastors who stand and talk about what the church did, but they are not doing anything in their personal lives to model generosity. It starts from the inside out.
It also involves storytelling. A lot of pastors are doing some great things, but the church doesn’t know about it. There’s a delicate balance between telling people what you’ve done because you want to impart something, and keeping your generosity private because the Scriptures command us to. It’s all based on motive. One is a testimony, and one is bragging. It is biblical to share testimonies. It is not biblical to brag. It is important that we make sure our motives for telling the stories are to share the goodness of God, to tell people what God has done among us. “Come and see what the Lord has done,” versus “Come and see what I have done.”
You talk about cutting back in the chapter “Enough is Enough.” I’ve seen church leaders talk about lifestyle in this way during times of capital fundraising. It’s bold, yet necessary. How did we get to the place of spending so much on extras?
My goal in 25 years of ministry has been to help my congregation catch the spirit of generosity for themselves. I believe it will set them free from a bondage that most of us are under right now—the bondage of debt, the bondage of unrealistic expectations. I read an article recently that recounted the familiar quote, “We spend money that we don’t have to buy things we don’t need to impress people we don’t like.” We can call that out. We can say, “Listen, there’s a more joyful way to live. There’s a way of living that brings freedom and is going to release you from this bondage that you are under right now.”
1 John 3:17 says, “If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?” Does this mean Christians must stop and give to anyone who is asking or panhandling?
The best way to help the homeless is to support the local rescue missions that are doing the hard work of restoration in our communities. There are 2 types of homeless people in our communities. There are those who are down on their luck. Something bad happened, and they are suddenly homeless. Then there are the chronic homeless. These are the people that are wrestling with mental illness or drug addiction and are choosing to live that lifestyle. We need to be on the lookout for those who are suddenly homeless—those who were working hard at their jobs and something cataclysmic happened in their lives. Suddenly they are on the streets or living in a car with their families.
The Bible categorizes who should receive our generosity. It starts with our own household. We take care of our immediate family. That is an important responsibility for us. The second sphere is the household of faith. If you know people in your church that are struggling, we have a responsibility to meet those needs. Inside our home, inside our church, and then in our community—those are the three concentric circles that we look at when we are giving.
Hear more from Brady Boyd in his new book Extravagant: Discovering a Life of Dangerous Generosity.