With abundance, it’s de ja vu all over again

Back in the early 2000s when Growing Givers’ Hearts: Treating Fundraising as Ministry hit the bookshelves, Thom Jeavons and I were chided for under-selling the all too real limitations faced by nonprofits large and small, secular and faith-based.

But what a difference 15 plus years has made. These days, abundance thinking is touted as good for individuals and organizations alike.


To be sure, abundance is taking blows in the 2016 presidential race, what with all the doom and gloom talk from the Republican candidate. But optimism is impossible to beat. Winners know, as research shows, that scarcity thinking doesn’t get you far. Grab hold of abundance, however, and you/we soar.

Or so suggest the authors of a Harvard Business Review article titled “Both/And Leadership.”

“Traditional leadership approaches assume that resources – time, money, people, and so on – are limited. . . But assuming that resources are constrained necessarily results in zero-sum thinking: Allocating resource to one goal means that they are no longer available for another. This fuels conflict between managers with different agendas.

In contrast, leaders who embrace paradox realize that resources, viewed in a different light, can be abundant and often generative. Rather than seeking to slice the pie thinner, people with this value-creating [or in Thom’s and my words, “faith-enhancing”] mindset pursue strategies to grow the pie, such as exploring collaborations with new partners, using alternative technologies, or adopting more flexible time frames for shifting resources for better use.”

My first response when encountering yet another paean to abundance thinking is a muttered “I already said that.” But then I smile, delighted with the street cred lavished on the foundational concept of Growing Givers’ Heart.

As the saying goes, there’s nothing new under the sun — or as people of faith affirm, the Son. Our God whose every promise is “yes in Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:20) is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, always and forever enough.

For more on God’s abundance, see:

Re-gifting abundance

Cadence, the 20 Mile March, and God’s abundance

Four benefits of turning tough times into teachable moments



  1. Arli Klassen says:

    Hi Rebekah. When I first saw your title I thought you were going to talk about the name change for Mennonite Foundation of Canada to “Abundance Canada”. But then I thought maybe you haven’t heard about it on that side of the border. Nice to see this concept being spread around. http://www.mennofoundation.ca/a-big-change/

    • Arli, I had heard there was going to be a name change for Mennonite Foundation of Canada, but hadn’t heard to what. No surprise — I love the new name. Thanks for pointing me to the story explaining the choice. It’s great to hear from you.

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