The Bible tells us in 1 Timothy that believers should provide for those who preach the Gospel. Some of the first disciples to obey that directive were women. Today, Sharon Epps joins Rob West to discuss the generosity of women in the church. Sharon Epps is Chief Operating Officer at Kingdom Advisors. Scripture records that women were among the first supporters of Jesus’ ministry. Let’s look at the beginning passage of the Parable of the Sower in Luke 8. It reads: After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means. From Mary Magdalene, a first patron of the early church, to Lydia, an industrious entrepreneur who strategically funded early missions, women historically have been generous wealth creators and stewards. Year after year, research conducted for the Women’s Philanthropy Institute (WPI) reveals that households headed by women at all levels of income and wealth are more likely to give. Sharon Epps co-founded an organization called Women Doing Well, which commissioned a very revealing study. More than 7000 women of faith participated in the research, which provided the following insights: KEY INSIGHTS FROM STUDY OF RELIGION RESEARCH: ●Christian Women are Generous with Their Time and Money: They are 300% more generous than the average population with their money and 400% more generous with their time. ●Discipleship Plays the Major Role in Shaping Generosity Among Christian Women. Research revealed that women with a strong understanding of Biblical teaching on stewardship gave higher percentages of their income away. ●94% of women we surveyed wanted to give more than they currently give. ●There are 3 common challenges that hindered women’s desire to give more: ○the lack of financial planning ○the lack of clarity of their purpose/passion for giving ○and lack of accountability partners ●The study also revealed that most women felt they could give more and that they desired to give more. ●Women with a Strong Sense of Calling/Purpose Are More Generous Than Those Without. Women with the highest score on personal sense of calling gave on average 13.7 percent of their income to charity while women with the lowest scores on this scale gave 9 percent on average. Now, let’s define what a giving passion is. It’s a need that we care about so deeply that we are willing to sacrifice to address it. ●While purpose is permanent, passions often change over time and season of life ●As our relationship with God grows deeper, our passions align more with God’s passions ●We learn what God is passionate about as we read the Bible ●Authors Greg Baumer and John Cortines in their book True Riches, say it this way: "Throughout Scripture, God reveals three top priorities, three big things He’s up to in the world. He invites us to help with each of these, and we get to join our eternal dad in doing his work. As we take on these tasks, God grows our capacity to love, breaking us free from indifference." ●Understanding what God cares about certainly gives us better direction for our areas of passion ●These three big things from scripture are: ○serving the poor ○saving the lost ○strengthening believers QUESTIONS TO HELP IGNITE PASSIONS Answering these questions may help women (and men) ignite their passions: ●What would I do if I knew I could not fail? ●My friends would say my soapbox is ●What brings me to tears, breaks my heart, pierces my soul? ●I always dreamed I would impact the world by ... LISTENER QUESTIONS: On today’s program, Rob also answers listener questions: ●Where should you give your tithe if you’re between churches? ●What can you do to improve your credit score? ●When is it wise to refinance a mortgage? RESOURCES MENTIONED DURING THIS PROGRAM: ●True Riches (book) Remember, you can call in to ask your questions most days at (800) 525-7000 or email them to [email protected] Also, visit our website at MoneyWise.org where you can connect with a MoneyWise Coach, join the MoneyWise Community, and even download the free MoneyWise app. Like and Follow us on Facebook at MoneyWise Media for videos and the very latest discussion! Remember that it’s your prayerful and financial support that keeps MoneyWise on the air. Help us continue this outreach by clicking the Donate tab on our website or in our app.