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Training the next generation for generosity

I had the privilege of attending the first FoundationWiseSM conference at Focus on the Family the week before last.

FoundationWiseSM is meant to help people who “own” and operate private foundations to do a better job.

As I looked at the various workshops available for participants, it seemed to me that there were to primary tracks: one having to do with succession planning–passing on the vision and purpose to the next generation, and one having to do, more, with success on the “business” end of things–keeping good corporate records, ensuring your within the bounds of the law, investing successfully, and so forth. I followed the “succession planning” track.

One of the key questions I hoped to answer had to do with passing responsibility to the next generation: How can I know that they will carry on pursuing a vision that I would want them to pursue? Put another way: if I’m leaving them significant funds for charitable purposes, how can I ensure that they won’t take those funds and potentially turn them to uses possibly diametrically opposed to those for which I would have given them?

I mean, it is so common for nonprofits to wind up doing things very differently than their founders intended!

Intermixed in this larger question: How do we encourage our children in the ways of generosity?I thought some of the answers were very insightful. Here are some of the things that people suggested (not necessarily in order): Read the rest of this entry »

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Tithing: replaced by grace?

The following is not exactly a rehash of what I covered in Tithing, Law, Grace and Teaching, a post I wrote nine months ago in direct response to a “challenge” laid down by our legacy planner at the time. But when I ran into this on Saturday, I realized I wanted–and needed–to re-post it, with slight modification, here. This was the first article that caught my eye on Saturday, but, if you saw my post yesterday, you will realize it is the second among my rediscoveries that I am posting.

(Originally posted, in slightly different form, at Tithing: replaced by grace?

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Tithing, Law, Grace and Teaching

I’ve gotten into some fairly philosophical discussions with our professional legacy planner. As a result, several months ago–I didn’t know at the time whether he was seeking merely to be provocative or whether he was really serious, but–he said he is opposed to ministers who teach the concept of tithing. He said he thinks such teaching holds too many wealthy Christians back from giving more.

Since then, I have come to realize he is actually very serious in the matter. And a month or two ago he sent me a note in which he said he believes “the concept of tithing as taught in the Old Testament does not apply to New Testament Christians in any way and is nowhere endorsed in the New Testament as a basis for giving.”

For some initial food for thought, he said, he thought I would enjoy reading some “very scholarly papers on the subject”: “Will a Man Rob God?” (Malachi 3:8): A Study of Tithing in the Old and New Testaments, Part I and Part II by Andreas Köstenberger and David Croteau.

“I’ll enjoy the dialog with you after you get a chance to digest all this material,” he wrote.

Just what I need–more “material” to digest! I’ve got thousands of books sitting on shelves in front of me still needing to be read!

But this guy impacts a lot of people, and he’s trying to influence me, so I thought I’d better read up on the subject. I finally completed the assignment while on vacation the last couple of weeks, and I wrote back.

I, too, have some severe concerns about tithing, but of a very different nature, I expect, from his. Read the rest of this entry »

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Legacy Planning: Questions, Part 1–Childhood Reflections

So Sarita and I are working through this legacy planning process.

G____, our advisor, gave us a 20-page booklet full of questions for us to answer. Some are relatively easy. But many are thought-provoking, and some cause me consternation.

I’d like to share some of the questions with you. I hope they inspire you as they have me. . . .

The questionnaire begins with “Childhood Reflections”: Read the rest of this entry »

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