When Jerry Laverman began his career as a Christian school teacher, his annual salary was $4,000. “My wife, Karen, and I had our first son,” recalls Jerry, “and we had to live off that.”
Even with Jerry working side and summer jobs, the Lavermans weren’t able to achieve their goals when it came to giving. “Just tithing to our church was how we gave,” remarks Jerry. “Now and then we gave a special gift, if the Spirit led, but we didn’t have any larger resources.”
But where there’s a will there’s a way. Committed to managing all their God-given resources well, Jerry and Karen found creative ways to give that increased both their joy and Kingdom impact.
Upon the passing of each of their parents, Jerry and Karen used a portion of their estates to open a Stewards Fund (a donor-advised fund) through Barnabas Foundation. The Stewards Fund provides them a streamlined way to support all the ministries close to their heart.
Later, Karen’s uncle gave a generous gift to their son Kevin, who is a missionary in Japan. Using this gift, the Lavermans opened a third Stewards Fund and made contributions in support of Kevin’s ministry.
The Lavermans don’t hesitate to tell their friends about the Stewards Fund through Barnabas Foundation. “It’s a great way to give cheerfully – to receive a blessing and be a blessing,” notes Jerry. “We tell them, ‘You’ve got to do this. This is great. Don’t miss it!’”
The Stewards Fund isn’t the only way the Lavermans seek to have an impact through generosity. They also encourage retired teachers to donate to a new scholarship fund for future teachers at the Christian high school where Jerry taught industrial arts.
The Lavermans are passionate about promoting this scholarship as a way to use generosity to reach into the future. “Isn’t that exciting?” asks Jerry. “We’re just thrilled about it.”
Jerry and Karen love the surprises that result from giving generously. “Karen’s uncle had no clue how his estate would be used,” remarks Jerry. “But there’s a piece of his gift there in Japan.”
“You might not know what those things are when you first put in a larger gift,” adds Karen. “But over time, the Spirit leads. Things come your way, and you think about what you could do with it. If there’s some money there, you say, ‘Let’s use it.’”
More than anything else, Jerry and Karen find there’s tremendous joy in generosity. “The Lord tells us to be cheerful givers,” reminds Jerry.
And as long as the Lavermans find the will to give, they will find a way.