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‘Generosity Challenge’: Stewardship partnership spans the globe

'‘Generosity Challenge’: Stewardship partnership spans the globeThe impact of a resource on stewardship for churches and small groups has continued to grow and see ministries strengthened around the globe.

And Mission Eurasia is among those seeing the benefits of this resource and Christ-centered generosity in its ministry in 13 post-Soviet countries and Israel.

In 2018, MB Foundation released a resource to inspire faithful giving among the Mennonite Brethren family as part of its Championing Biblical Stewardship efforts. The Seven-Day Generosity Challenge was developed for churches and small groups to encourage a life of faithful generosity. This resource was first compiled by The Global Generosity Network that subsequently gave permission to MB Foundation to customize the resource for its use.

Unexpected partnership

An unexpected development happened when MB Foundation partnered with Mission Eurasia, which trains and equips Christian leaders throughout Eurasia. Sergey Rakhuba, Mission Eurasia’s president, agreed to help translate the devotional into Russian and recognized the value of its teachings in their ministry.

Mission Eurasia soon began using it in 65 training locations throughout the 14 countries they serve.

Michael Cherenkov, Mission Eurasia’ executive field director, noted that when MB Foundation released The Seven-Day Generosity Challenge as a resource for friends and partners, their president and CEO Jon Wiebe didn’t realize how popular the resource would become in Eurasia. And now people read it in Russian, Ukrainian, and even Georgian.

“This book has already been reprinted three times in Eurasia with a total of 10,000 copies,” Cherenkov said.

‘Simple, clear and inspiring’

Mission Eurasia eventually became a partner in distributing this resource.

“We had been thinking about the importance of this topic in the churches of Eurasia for a long time,” Cherenkov said. “When I read this book in 2018, I knew right then that we had to translate it and publish for our partner churches in Ukraine. The book was a simple, clear, and inspiring invitation to be generous and I wanted to pass on that message as far as possible.”

The first recipients of this manual were 11 MB churches in Ukraine who affirmed that the material was like a breath of fresh air to them. These churches are young and small and continually face a lack of resources. They also are actively involved in many ministries and are open to new ministry strategies. They were excited to implement the idea of generosity and make it a foundation for their ministry practices.

More resources

Roman Rakhuba, leader of MB churches in Ukraine, teaches at Mission Eurasia’s School Without Walls (SWW) program, which is specifically designed to train and equip young leaders for ministry. He began sharing this resource with others and the Seven-Day Generosity Challenge became part of SWW curriculum throughout Eurasia. Thousands of young leaders can read the book, download electronic versions, and even see these lessons in video format. As Mission Eurasia built on the idea of the “generosity challenge,” they started an online video program called, Time to Be Generous.

Seventy years of the Soviet regime taught many people to hold tightly to food, money, and other possessions. This mentality also affected the church. Today, the topic of generosity – and the legacy and experience of MB churches – helps unlock the potential of other sister churches for a more active and effective ministry in Eurasia.

Mission Eurasia has developed different resources to complement the devotional and is nearing the completion on related videos and audiobooks:

 Digital devotional books

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Ukrainian -
EDITOR’S NOTE: Mission Eurasia has received the following testimonies on The Seven-Day Generosity Challenge’s impact on individual studies, home groups, and churches:

Denis Gorenkov, Mission Eurasia, Ukraine

“I believe that the Seven-Day Generosity Challenge is an amazingly holistic material whereas it was written by people from different cultures and different Christian communities. They managed to create a deep yet quite simple-for-perceiving material with a universal message. I have witnessed how this message was received by young leaders in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Caucasus, and Russia… They live and serve in different countries and contexts and that is why, the strong side of this book being universal and holistic, helped our leaders grasp it and live it out.”

Aleksei Yuditsenko, pastor of Heart for Christ MB Church, Berdyansk, Ukraine

“I found Seven-Day Generosity Challenge very compelling and encouraging. I loved the biblical view on finances and generosity in general. I feel like I was already living that life of generosity, but when you serve people all the time and give, you need to receive as well. And I received an encouraging message from the book. God spoke to me and helped me understand the depth of why I serve others. Ultimately, it’s all from Him and for Him.

I have used the material of the book in my sermons and was planning to study it in our home groups, but that was when our country announced a lockdown. As soon as we are able to meet in groups, we’ll go through the Seven-Day Generosity Challenge as a church in our small groups. This book is a great tool to study in groups!”

Sergei Ryadnov, Light to the World MB Church, Novomoskovsk, Ukraine

“To me personally the book has been a great resource. It helped me to have a broader and better understanding of generosity and live it out in my personal life and ministry. Also, there were many helpful ideas there that I now teach in my church.”

Igor Syrbu, church pastor, Chisinau, Moldova

“When I heard about Seven-Day Generosity Challenge at one of the meetings that was organized by Mission Eurasia I was very impressed and thought, 'This is exactly what people in our church need to hear!' I am a church pastor and also a home group leader. So, I always look for useful and interesting material to share with people. And the Seven-Day Generosity Challenge was an answer to that quest. We started studying the material in our home groups and preaching on generosity at our church. The material resonated with my heart and helped me personally to be more deliberate and disciplined with generosity. I have always admired the people who were generous and served others with whatever opportunities they had. So, I tried to convey that message to the people in my home group. People in our Church without Walls have always been generous in supporting local ministries as well as missionaries in Central Asia. The Seven-Day Generosity Challenge course helped us cultivate that mindset and conscious culture of generosity. As a family, apart from tithing, we also started to set aside a certain fixed amount of money for people in need. Recently, I started to think about how I can financially support a project, especially now, in time of crisis and pandemic. Our journey of cultivating the culture of generosity continues, and I see how God blesses us and invites us to grow in this discipline.”

Sergei Semenov, Zaporozhye, Ukraine

“I was part of a webinar recently that was led by Jon Wiebe where we talked about generosity and how we can be giving people in the modern world. I was so impressed by the webinar that I read the book Seven-Day Generosity Challenge right away. I was very inspired by some ideas and now do my best to live them out. Here are some of the messages from the book that were a big revelation for me and inspired me to live a more generous life: generosity is an outcome of a deep relationship with God; when we don’t walk closely with the Lord, we lose the ability to be sensitive and live a generous life; generosity is a reflection of God’s nature in us; every person is not an owner of all they possess, rather, a steward. I am a youth leader at my church and want to share these ideas with young people who come to our church. I believe the Lord will give us strength to live out these ideas and we can glorify Him through our generosity.”

Pavel Tokarchuk, Mission Eurasia, Russia

“The initiative to talk about generosity, sacrifice, and a biblical view on stewardship is very timely and is now discussed at seminars, presentations, and printed resources. We are grateful to our partners for making this resource available for our evangelical churches, pastors, and leaders. We hope that as we promote this course and its ideas it will help Christians to look at generosity in a new way and help for spreading the gospel and for the churches to grow different ministries. Our hope is that as we distribute these books it will be helpful to many churches in taking care of financial needs of the church and missions and grow in other ways of giving. Some leaders use this material in their small groups, in seminars at Christian conferences and meetings with Christian businessmen.”

Mariana Vakula, Kharkiv, Ukraine

“The Seven-Day Generosity Challenge is an unusual book. It’s not the type of book that you read and quickly forget. This book inspires, challenges and changes you. God’s Word accompanied by the writers’ life stories is not dry theory. Because of the challenges at the end of each chapter, the biblical principles of generosity get implemented in our everyday lives. I am grateful to God and everyone who participated in making this valuable book possible. I am planning to use it in our ladies’ groups.”