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Scarcity. Generosity. Most—if not all—of us have experienced both during the global pandemic. ​​​​​​​ There was a scarcity of toilet paper in the U.S., a scarcity of time spent with elderly loved ones, a scarcity of money for many whose jobs were affected, a scarcity of normalcy. You might not expect to have an abundance mindset in this context. Yet there has also been generosity: of time spent with those we live with, of time and effort given by medical staff and frontline workers, of people helping others financially, of God’s grace and comfort when we’re at the end of our rope.

Perhaps you’ve noticed how in times of anxiety, it’s easy to revert to a scarcity mindset and not want to be generous. God invites us to take an abundance mindset in John 10:10b, where Jesus declares, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

Here’s five inspiring stories about how people lived into that abundance mindset.

Lori Longino

As a girl, Lori Longino went to church with her grandma, and when the offering plate was passed she thought the church was charging admission. As an adult at Christ’s Community Church in Glendale, Arizona, she eventually came to see things differently. Watch Lori’s story to find out how.

Vanessa Pollock

Vanessa Pollock built creative generosity into her marketplace leadership as realtor. Listen to her story on the Lavish Hope podcast.

Pam Otten and Jeff Heerspink

When COVID-19 hit in 2020, everybody struggled, including church plants. RCA Church Multiplication and the RCA Church Growth Fund offered grants to church planters and churches that has started in the previous five years. In the end, Church Multiplication and the Church Growth Fund ended up generously giving away $65,000 in grant money. Here, two planters tell how they used the grant money.

From January 2019 until March 2020, the Sunday morning worship of Renew Church was in the Wasserman Apartment building (low-income housing in Sheboygan, Wisconsin). Due to the pandemic and extensive renovations happening on the building, we were not able to be there. We began worship online via Zoom, and in the summer when the weather was cooperative, we worshiped outdoors in a park. In God’s perfect timing for the colder weather, Sunday mornings opened up in September at The Upper Room Christian Community (ecumenical Christian hangout downtown) for Renew to worship there. This has allowed us to have an open door policy for worship, which we could not do in the locked apartment building.

We are using the Greatest Need grant money towards a monthly donation to the Upper Room for use of their facility. Our ministry budget is small, and we very much appreciate receiving these funds to be able to bless the Upper Room for their generosity.

Pastor Pam OttenRenew Sheboygan

At F Street Neighborhood Church in Lincoln, Nebraska, we were able to use the funds with other money to expand our outdoor worship space. This was a hit over the summer both for some of our regular attendees as well as our homeless friends, as it kept them safe but allowing them to still attend church. We had more people outside than inside on many days over the summer. We have an outdoor large-screen TV, speakers, and a tent that we put up each Sunday, and now even heaters [for fall worship] so that people can listen and stay warm. We had done this in a more limited form prior to the pandemic for our homeless friends and neighbors who have mental illness or other reasons to fear entering the building. Thanks for the help and support to allow us to thrive during the pandemic.

Jeff HeerspinkF Street Neighborhood Church

The Community Church

Maybe you’ve heard of tithing to a church. But The Community Church in Ada, Michigan, did a reverse tithe, giving members—including kids—$242 to bless others. And bless others they did.

Jennifer Knott is a writer and editor for the Reformed Church in America’s communication team.