Resource Library

Faithful Generosity Story Shelf

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The following stories are part of Lake Institute’s story collection, The Faithful Generosity Story Shelf, which highlights congregations and other religious organizations who have sought to use their assets and resources in creative—and sometimes surprising—ways as an expression of faithful giving.

Each entry in our Story Shelf is short enough to be read and discussed during a committee meeting or other group gathering. Our hope is that these accessible vignettes will spark new questions, conversation, and imagination among clergy and laity about what might be possible with the funds, buildings, land, and other resources in their care. Learn about Ways to Use the Story Shelf. If you know a story that should be included in the Story Shelf, submit it here.

Read stories about:

Investing for Impact

  • From Discernment to Epiphany

    Atlanta’s First Presbyterian Church launched a social entrepreneurship program to recognize how God was already moving in their city and to provide business mentorship and financial assistance to aspiring social entrepreneurs.

  • Church sees its money in a new way

    A story about what happened when a church learned to see its money in a new way.

  • Micro-loans in East Baltimore

    Two Lutheran churches in Baltimore partnered to provide no interest loans up to $2,000 to community members.

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Innovative Giving

  • The Path to Reparations

    Beyond the first step of acknowledgment, some faith communities are taking up concrete reparations as a way of demonstrating authentic repentance for their role in systemic oppression.

  • Building Something Big with Tiny Homes

    Cass Community United Methodist Church plans to build a village of 25 tiny houses that the working poor or formerly homeless can rent to own.

  • Called to Provide Education

    A monthlong fast led a church to donate $150,000 to students at HBCUs who needed financial assistance in order to graduate.

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Selling/Donating Property

  • Time for Return

    Rather than sell one of its properties for substantial profit, the Rocky Mountain Synod of the ELCA transferred ownership to Four Winds American Indian Council in a small but meaningful act of decolonization.

  • Out of One Home, Many

    Struggling with the financial realities of a small and aging congregation, Altama Presbyterian Church sold their property at a reduced cost to a local nonprofit because its mission aligned with their own.

  • Creatively Letting Go

    St. Paul’s United Methodist Church used their extra church building to support a nonprofit focused on one of the most urgent and challenging social problems in their community.

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Sharing Property

  • Jews and Muslims Share Space and Life Together

    When a Muslim group needed a place for youth religious education, it began meeting at a synagogue. This arrangement led to mutual curiosity and real friendship.

  • Moving in with the Neighbors

    A Lutheran church, UCC church, and Disciples of Christ church in Minneapolis renovated a church building to fit the worship space needs of the three churches simultaneously.

  • Chili, Beer & the Church Parking Lot

    The Community Church in Ada, Michigan combines their natural tendency for hospitality and fun with intentional community engagement to host an annual event that draws thousands of people each December to their church parking lot.

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