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What is #GivingTuesday? That’s a good question that more and more people are able to answer as the years have gone by.
#GivingTuesday has grown from an urban legend to a global effort since its inception in 2012. With its origin tied loosely to our Thanksgiving holiday and the shopping phenomena of Black Friday and Cyber Monday that follows, the short but exciting history of #GivingTuesday is quite interesting.
Originated by a group of people at the 92nd Street YMCA in Manhattan's Upper East Side, the movement is intended to shift attention away from the aforementioned shopping phenomena to a more philanthropic perspective on giving of one’s time, resources and talents to help the local community. The concept was initially focused on the New York communities surrounding the YMCA, but it quickly grew to a worldwide movement that includes organizations such as the United Nations Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, PayPal and thousands of others. The aggressive use of social media as well as traditional news such as Washington Post and ABC News have now made #GivingTuesday a common term that people associate with a generous heart and the holiday season. Even the White House blog promoted #GivingTuesday.
Essentially, the #GivingTuesday effort operates by raising awareness about needs that exist and giving publicity to the efforts and opportunities that are available for people to do something about those needs. Although the Tuesday after Thanksgiving is targeted as a catalyst, this effort does desire for this mindset to continue every day of the year.
But how can we reasonably carry out this mindset in a practical way on a regular basis?
In our church, we continually try to focus on our local communities through a wide range of outreach efforts, and partnerships with other local organizations striving to make a difference for Christ. Through one of our earlier iterations of our Beyond These Walls efforts, we offered an opportunity for our congregation to come up with and implement what we called Compassion Projects, which were similar in many ways to the projects promoted through #GivingTuesday. One such project started with a group of Jr. High girls who decided to fill some backpacks with school supplies and provide them to other young people who were struggling to afford these education necessities. Today, this simple, unselfish act of generosity is a major outreach initiative that provides thousands of children in Western Pennsylvania with backpacks and supplies each year!
So, let’s ask ourselves a simple question: How can we use #GivingTuesday as a catalyst for the giving of our time, resources and talents to serve others throughout the entire year?
We can start by taking a look at the following Scripture to see what God has to say about the heart and motivation to give to others:
"The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work."
-2 Corinthians 9:6-8 ESV
If you are interested in using your time, talents, or resources for God’s kingdom work, please contact us at , and we will be glad to help you take your first steps!