Living Generously: Our Open-Handedness and God’s Faithfulness  |  POD 022

Living Generously: Our Open-Handedness and God’s Faithfulness | POD 022




Kevin Harlan – Guest

Tom Nelson – Guest

Paul Brandes – Host



Show Notes

Living Generously: Our Open-Handedness and God’s Faithfulness

Join us as we delve into stories of divine provision and the transformative power of generosity within the church community. Get ready to be inspired by the impact of open-handedness and stewardship as we journey through the remarkable experiences of Christ Community Church. In this episode of theFormed.life podcast we explore the “Financial Generosity” theme with special guests Kevin Harlan and Tom Nelson.

  • The impact of financial generosity and open-handedness within Christ Community has been instrumental in shaping the church’s growth, sustainability, and impact, demonstrating the power of generosity in the local church.
  • The importance of faith, trust in God’s provision, and acknowledging divine providence in overcoming financial challenges and achieving a flourishing life with others through generosity.
  • Encouragement for listeners to embrace a generous posture, commitment to the mission, and stewardship for God’s glory and kingdom, highlighting the transformative power of collective engagement and generosity within the congregation.

#FinancialGenerosity #ChurchImpact #DivineProvidence #GenerousGiving #StewardshipJourney #GodsProvision #CultivatingGenerosity #GenerosityStories #TrustInGod #ImpactOfGenerosity



Kevin Harlan serves as the vice president of philanthropy at Made to Flourish. He works to build a broad base of philanthropic support and guide philanthropic endeavors to invest financially in pastors and churches.Kevin played a role in the formation of Made to Flourish and served on the senior pastoral team at Christ Community Church in Kansas City for 15 years. He and his wife, Sharon, have been involved at Christ Community in many leadership capacities since 1994. Prior to his work with Christ Community, Kevin served with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) for 19 years.

Tom Nelson is the founder and Lead Senior Pastor of Christ Community Church. Tom also serves as president of Made to Flourish, a network that seeks to empower pastors to lead churches that produce human flourishing for the common good. Tom is the author of Work Matters: Connecting Sunday Worship to Monday Work, Economics of Neighborly Love: Investing in Your Community’s Compassion and Capacity, and The Flourishing Pastor: Recovering the Lost Art of Shepherd Leadership. Tom speaks regularly on faith, work, and economics around the country. Tom has served on the board of regents of Trinity International University and is also a council member of The Gospel Coalition. Tom graduated with a master’s of theology degree from Dallas Theological Seminary and received his doctorate of ministry degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.



“Our loaves and fishes in our life may not be that cool or exciting or the best, but God can take Even little crusty loaves and fishes and multiply to multitude, and we’re seeing that.” — Tom Nelson


“It’s the generosity of our congregation, everyone. They are deeply committed to forming the new pastors in generation.” — Tom Nelson


“It’s the generosity of our congregation, everyone. They are deeply committed to forming the new pastors in generation.” — Kevin Harlan





The Economics Of Neighborly Love – Tom Nelson

The Flourishing Pastor: Recovering the Lost Art of Shepherd Leadership – Tom Nelson



05:57 Discussion on human experience, generosity and acknowledgment.
08:33 Sensitivity to institutional practices, emphasizing generosity, gratitude.
10:20 Elder team considering loan, then church in Romania.
14:46 Left Dallas in 24 foot truck.
16:59 God spurs generosity, stories inspire others.
20:21 Teamwork, stewardship, financial difficulty
26:02 Church building refurbished.
29:35 Importance of funded residency program.
32:10 Excited about church leaders forming work programs.
36:03 Generosity and church planting.
39:09 Encouraging generosity and investments for shaping the future church.
42:59 Organizing life, trusting God for provision, memories.
46:05 Memories from pastor, staff, congregants.
46:51 Kevin’s other dream job.

Tune In

By: Jason Heppner

“He reminded me that I am His child and even though I might not be enough for people on earth, I am everything to Him.” High School Student

Remember the days of old when you went to a far distant land to retreat away from your normal life-rhythm, away from your parents, away from homework, and away from distractions? Remember the sounds of walking on gravel paths…laughing, sharing stories, talking about God, and singing songs of praise to God?

Well, those days still happen. For our High School Fall Retreat we loaded buses full of eager students and adult leaders and traveled 2.5 hours down to Westminster Woods Camp for what would be a weekend packed full of worship, jumping around, laughing, sharing stories, an epic Lip Sync Battle,  reading Scripture in stillness, hearing God’s voice, hiking, and encountering the living God.

It was a different kind of retreat. It was our first time at Westminster Woods Camp, and we were excited to experience a retreat at a new place just for high school students. We had meaningful conversations, dug deep into God’s Word, and engaged in small groups with authenticity. Even the cold didn’t keep us from walking the trails, playing  basketball, gaga ball, and archery tag, or walking down to the lake to skip rocks and fish. 

Our theme was Tune In and our speaker, Steve Weatherford, helped focus our attention on listening to God’s voice of truth and tuning into the gospel, rather than listening to all the noisy distractions that so easily grab our attention. Steve challenged us to consider:

“If you want to hear from God, you have to spend time with God, you have to listen, and you have to have a relationship with God.”

Powerful words of truth.

It was a device-free weekend with the goal for students to have meaningful face-to-face conversations. That was exactly what some of our students needed to reorient their lives back to God. For other students, it was the first time they heard the voice of God or were awakened to God’s relentless love through the person of Jesus Christ.

Living in a culture that has a problem with silence, do we take time to enter into silence to hear God’s voice? Are we afraid of silence? We fill up the silence with distraction and doubt when we should be intentional in getting to know God. Students discovered that God is not a distant God and that He desires to be in an intimate relationship with each of us. They realized they have real access to God through His written Word and that we can be even more in tune to what He’s doing and saying if we take intentional steps to pause and spend time with God. 

Kate, an 11th Grader, shared this about her experience while at Fall Retreat,

God is your cheerleader…you should just go to Him because He’s always there for you and you don’t have to fear anything with Him.” 

What do you need to tune out in order to tune in to God’s voice? How are you pausing to seek and listen for God’s voice in your life? What are you hoping to hear from God? How can you enter into silence to be with God?