The Generosity Movement has arrived in Madison and the City Reaching Gospel Movement may not be far behind. These two movements are spreading across the country, according to Linda Maris, president of the National Christian Foundation Wisconsin, who spoke at the Launch Celebration of the Madison Christian Giving Fund which was held this evening at the Upper House on the UW-Madison campus.
The Madison Christian Giving Fund is a way for Christians in the Madison area to pool their resources so that collectively they can have more of a positive impact on the Madison community. “Think of it as a new way of giving,” Maris said. “We can accomplish more together than individually. That is the spirit of the fund.”
About 150 men and women from the Madison area attended the celebration. Already in the last several years the fund has given away $100,000, according to Scott Haumersen, the fund president. He hopes to collect and then give away $200,000 in the next year. “As of this evening we have $85,000 already,” he said.
Haumersen credited Madison attorney Tom Hoffner and his wife Barbara for initiating the work that brought the fund to Madison. The fund now has 20 local residents serving on its board.
The National Christian Foundation Wisconsin, based in Milwaukee, is one of 29 affiliates of the National Christian Foundation. Maris said the NCF is the 15th largest foundation in the country and is on track to disburse $1 billion in grants this year. She called that the Generosity Movement, which is not well known but is having a major impact across the country.
It’s tied to the City Reaching Gospel Movement, where churches are working together to meet the critical needs of their community, and sharing the witness of the gospel at the same time.
A video showing the impact of the City Reaching Gospel Movement in Portland, Oregon, was shown. In the video, Kevin Palau, the son of evangelist Luis Palau, said, “The greatest way to soften hearts to the gospel is to be in relationship with people.” Pastors featured in the video talked about “Living out Good News in a wholistic way,” and “People receiving Jesus because we just wanted to serve.”
Each school in Portland, a city possibly more secular than Madison, is matched with a local church. Volunteers from that church work with the school, helping to meet the needs of the school and its students. The video closed with the statement, “When the church is mobilized it really is an unstoppable force.”
Following the video, Madison businessman Tim Metcalfe talked about the spiritual renewal he had experienced in his own life, that led to, among other things, the Christian festival Lifest having its own stage at Metcalfe’s Brat Fest the last two years. “Lifest was the most attended stage at Brat Fest,” Metcalfe said. The Christian music at Madison’s Brat Fest outdrew the other acts on the other stages.
Fred Grossenbach, a retired IBM executive, said that in the 37 years he’s lived in Madison there has never been this much excitement about what is happening and the potential of what could happen in the Christian community. “God is doing something huge in Madison,” he said. “God is on the move here in Madison and it’s good to be a part of it.”