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What is Transformational Generosity?

4 months ago By The Signatry

What does generosity mean, really? It is often equated with financial giving, but it clearly goes beyond the number of dollars given away. In Scripture, we read how God intends generosity to be transformational. Biblical generosity means changing the way we think about all of our resources, not just money, in order to uplift others, strengthen relationships, and glorify God. So how can we embrace this transformational definition of generosity and shift how we give? It begins by unpacking a few major characteristics of generosity in Scripture.

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Generosity that Lasts for Generations

5 months ago By Vyne Legacy

We all want our families to carry out our values and spirit of generosity, but how can you translate the desire for a strong family legacy into something truly attainable? At Vyne Legacy, an educational ministry of The Signatry, we are focused on equipping families to bear fruit for generations, so today we want to share a few steps that we teach to build lasting family values and generosity. Over the years while working with families, we noticed a common theme. Families who are sure of their values tend to be more connected and to live more generously. When a family knows what it stands for and has its circle to stand with, that clarity and community usually leads to impactful, meaningful action. That’s it—one of the simplest keys to generosity that will last and transform your family: Communicate your values. If you want to begin developing your family values and growing your family’s generosity, you can start with a few steps: 1. Invest your time and behaviors in what you care about. You must be the first one to exemplify the values you want your family to share. Whether you have young children or are an empty nester, how you act and where you put your time and energy speaks clearly about your values. Your financial giving can’t be disconnected from the way you live or the attitudes you hold. Children, even from a young age, will pick up on those behaviors. Remember, your actions are a form of communication. 2. Connect the dots between actions and family values. One common mistake we see families make is to assume their values are clear. While your actions or the charities you support might be evident, have you truly connected the dots to articulate exactly what the driving value is? Do you continue to repeat that theme? True, lasting, transformational generosity starts when your family is clear on why they give. We encourage families to identify 3-5 values and create short statements to describe these. Your family can’t practice what they haven’t been taught; family values statements give you a tool to solidify and reinforce what and why you support these causes. (If you want to learn more about how to develop your own values, vision, and mission as a family, click here for more about our course for families.) 3. Open up family leadership opportunities. As you live with intentionality, repeating your core values and engaging with your family, look for ways to pass the baton. Create opportunities for other family members to lead during each step of the giving process. Being able to take the practice from start to finish—identifying the value, choosing a cause and organization, and deciding how to engage in generosity—teaches each family member how to engage in a generous life as they grow. Even for young kids, early chances to learn to make decisions will help reinforce values and teach them exactly how to engage in the process. Sharing these responsibilities will also look different in different seasons of life, so giving everyone the opportunity to participate will deepen connection even through the various seasons. Family values lead to family legacy. We always say that generosity is the great equalizer because, even with differing opinions in the family or in conversations about wealth, generosity becomes a place of equal participation. You all have a common goal to work toward together—to create meaningful, positive change in the world—and there are few things which can so easily unify a family. We hope this is an encouraging way to think about the basics of your family generosity. No giving plan or list of charities will fully connect with your family until you all are clear on your purpose and values together. That’s where it gets good! Solidifying your family’s values opens up the door to clarity on what matters, to deep connections, and to exciting, transformational generosity. Better yet, those clearly articulated and embodied values provide a simple pathway for future generations to understand and follow themselves. Let’s live generously for generations just as God intended.

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Five Principles of Inheritance in the Bible

5 months ago By Bill High

What does the Bible say about leaving an inheritance? Although the Bible is clear that a good man leaves an inheritance to his grandchildren (Proverbs 13:22), the Bible doesn’t prescribe what that inheritance should be or how much the inheritance should be. It’s one of the most common questions I get asked: “How much should I leave my children?”  There are at least 5 principles of inheritance in the Bible that deserve attention.  Principle One: It’s Your Responsibility to Provide Order. Sometimes in a planning conversation, I will hear a parent say, “Well, what do I care? I’ll be gone. My kids can figure it out.” When King David was nearing his last days, his kingdom was not in order. His successor to the throne was not clearly in place, and in absence of that clarity, his son Adonijah seized the throne. His wife Bathsheba was forced to go to King David and make clear that Solomon was to be king. She stated boldly, “And now, my lord the king, the eyes of all Israel are on you, to tell them who shall sit on the throne of my lord the king after him” (I Kings 1:20). As a parent, it was David’s role to designate who would come after him. Similarly, it’s our responsibility to provide a clear plan for our children’s inheritance based on these biblical principles.  Principle Two: God Desires Generations. Our western culture has taught us to raise our children to independence—for our children to go on and live their own lives. That notion of independence has sometimes led to separation, and even encouraged a departure from values. But God desires for families and their values to continue for generations. Consider God’s command to Abraham as a guideline for inheritance in the Bible: “And God said to Abraham, ‘As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations’” (Genesis 17:9). As we consider leaving an inheritance, it should be with the notion that we want our family to continue for generations in an ongoing covenant.  Principle Three: Pass on Values Through Your Family Story. One of the most powerful forms of biblical inheritance is the family story. Can your children and even grandchildren tell how you met, your struggles, your growth—the stories that make your family unique? In the Old Testament as part of the annual Passover celebration, God prescribed that the celebration should always start with the youngest child asking a question: What do you mean by this service? (Exodus 12:25-27). This question was the impetus to start the storytelling, the remembrance of what God had done for them.  Principle Four: Love Equally but Treat According to Responsibility. While we should endeavor to love our children equally, it doesn’t mean that we should give them an equal inheritance. We see biblical inheritance played out when Israel blessed his 12 sons in Genesis 49. The oldest son, Reuben, should have received a double inheritance, but he was unfaithful, so he didn’t get the share. Similarly, sons 2 & 3, Simeon and Levi, had fierce anger, so they were disqualified. It was the fourth son, Judah, who got the double portion. As a practical matter, the larger the estate and the larger the responsibility, the more likely that there may be a need for unequal inheritance.  Principle Five: Inheritance as Mission. While there’s little doubt that leaving an inheritance is a great gift, in Giving It All Away and Getting It All Back Again: The Way of Living Generously, David Green states that the first inheritance should be a set of values, virtues and work ethic. When it comes to financial wealth—particularly when larger amounts are involved—David points out that he would rather not have wealth if it meant losing one of his children or grandchildren for eternity. The more a family is aligned around a vision, a mission and a set of values, there’s a greater reason to keep family wealth together as biblical inheritances teaches.  There’s little doubt that I’ve only skimmed the surface on the biblical principles of inheritance. More of these thoughts and ideas can be found in David Green’s book noted above. However, I invite your thoughts and views. Email me at [email protected] 

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Stewarding Your Family in the Business Sale Process

4 years ago By The Signatry

Selling a business involves careful planning, but we often don’t take into consideration how it will impact our family. What does it look like to steward your family through this process in a way that will not only protect but allow them to thrive generations from now? When faced with these issues, there are a few important questions to consider: What should I give to my children? 70% of wealthy families lose their fortune by the second generation, and by the third generation, 90% have squandered their money. Clearly, passing on money is not enough to solve problems in our families. We often forget that there is more than financial capital to pass on; we need to consider the intangible aspects of wealth- social, spiritual, intellectual, and emotional capital. Your children will be more equipped to handle financial wealth when it is preceded with the knowledge and family values imparted. How are my children equipped to handle wealth? How do you ensure your children are ready to steward the wealth you plan to pass on to them? Thriving individuals are more likely to handle inheritance properly. Are they responsible with their finances? Do they have a good work ethic? Considering whether the inheritance is most likely to contribute or cripple their life, is important.  Sometimes the most loving action is saying “no” and setting boundaries that encourage your children to grow. By passing on biblical values and placing a priority on the intangible assets, we cultivate healthy families and provide a means for long term success. What is God calling me to do in the next season? Transitioning out of your business can be an exciting time to pursue God’s calling for the next season of your life. Consider how you can use this next season to continue to cultivate family relationships and build upon your legacy. Think about the causes you and your family are passionate about. You can make memories with younger generations by giving back, supporting, and volunteering with ministries as a multigenerational family. The heart of generosity goes far beyond the money we are willing to give. It permeates everyday decisions and determines the legacy we will leave. Cultivating a lasting family through the sale process will require honest communication. A healthy family will practice transparency. If the challenges seem too great, it is ok to invite outside help. In the same way, a business sale requires advisors, you may want to invite someone you trust to help advise your family as you deal with difficult topics and proactive planning. Wealth does not have to break apart our families. By bringing a better balance to our families as we learn to pass on intangible capital as well—emotional, spiritual, mental—we set the stage for long term success.

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