Generosity Through Innovation
A Q&A With Jim Wilkes
Jim Wilkes is co-lead pastor and founder of Journey Church (Assemblies of God) in Fairview Park, Ohio. He is the developer of The Hope App, a microdonation tool designed specifically for churches.
INFLUENCE: What is the link between hope and compassion?
WILKES: Compassion is our ability to offer hope to somebody, whatever circumstance they are in. Since faith is the substance of things hoped for, faith comes out of hope. Some people don’t have faith because they’ve lost hope. Compassion allows us to give hope to people, and that clears the way for faith in their lives.
And your church was planted on those principles?
Absolutely. We started with a Bible study every other week while I was working another job. That Bible study started growing, and we launched as a church with about 160 people. We’ve had consistent, week-by-week growth, and that’s because we offer them hope.
You can have all the programs you want, but without the Spirit and presence of God we aren’t going to change anybody. Here in Cleveland, there are 1.9 million people with no church affiliation. These people are really hungry for what is authentic and real.
“Compassion allows us to give hope to people, and that clears the way for faith in their lives.”
— Jim Wilkes
How did you come up with the idea for The Hope App?
Three years ago, our church was in a campaign to raise money for church planting and missions. We really wanted to make a big investment. God said He would give us an idea that, if we stewarded, would enable us to give even more than we had hoped for.
The Hope App is that idea. Each individual who downloads the app registers their credit or debit card. Then, whenever that card is used at the grocery store, the mall or anywhere else, the software automatically rounds up that transaction to the nearest dollar, and the change is donated to their church. Each church can decide where those microdonations are directed. You can find more information about The Hope App at www.thehopeapp.com.
Compassion really directs those decisions. Your church or organization may have a cause it is passionate about. When people who are passionate about that cause search for it in The Hope App, their donations are connected with your cause.
How does The Hope App help your church multiply?
I found out that 55 percent of Journey Church attenders were giving less than $3 a week. I asked them to believe God and give all their spare change to the Kingdom. That’s how the pathway to generosity opened up for them. Giving something — anything — opens the channel for generosity in their heart.
What we’re doing is moving them toward tithing, but first we need to awaken generosity in their hearts. They want to give, but they don’t know how to give. By giving them a cause to spark that generosity, and a simple way to give, we can get them moving.
It’s easier to guide a moving vehicle than a parked car. What if we could just get them out of park by asking them to give their spare change? Tithing is part of living fully surrendered, and The Hope App helps us do that.
This article originally appeared in the March/April 2019 edition of Influence magazine.