Join us

Are you up for the 40acts challenge?

Stewardship’s generosity challenge is back, and the charity wants you to get on board

Now in its ninth year, Stewardship’s popular 40acts campaign is back again, as the charity remains committed to helping Christians become even more generous.

In an interview with Naomi Osinnowo, the Evangelical Alliance’s editorial content manager, Kezia Owusu-Yianoma, social media and digital content executive at Stewardship, shares why the drive continues to attract thousands of participants each year, and urges others to get on board.

For those who haven’t heard of 40acts, if you could sum it up in a few sentences, what would they be?

40acts is a 40-day generosity challenge that’s designed to provide an alternative to giving up things for Lent and expand the limits of our generosity. Launching on Wednesday, 6 March this year, as in previous years the daily challenge will encourage participants to get better at making generosity an integral part of their lives. 

Sponsored

One of the fundamental messages of the campaign is that generosity is demonstrated through acts of giving of your skills and time, not just money. We would like to see generosity become a central part of every aspect of every Christian’s life, and 40acts provides the opportunity to be generous in every one of these areas. 

The campaign is now in its ninth year and has sustained its momentum. Why do you think this is? 

40acts as a concept is simple and profound, which is why it has resonated with people year after year. In addition to this, generosity, which in itself is timeless, is a quality in which everyone can keep on growing. Come Lent each year, there will be an aspect of their giving that participants can revamp or a character trait that they can take to the next level. Then there’s the community aspect of the challenge: those who take part learn from, and are inspired by, each other, which also drives growth.

What is Stewardship doing to keep the drive fresh and people engaged?

Campaigns that are popular can eventually run out of steam; there can be a surge of popularity and then it dies out. Even though 40acts has attracted participants in the tens of thousands, we know we’re not immune this. But, we believe the sustainability of 40acts is in keeping the vision simple and keeping those who take part at the heart of the challenge.

The challenge is about each and every participant. Stewardship didn’t launch 40acts almost a decade ago just so that people would love us more; we really believe in encouraging people in their generosity. Participants are our focus, so we create the challenge as a resource for them. 

Why focus on generosity and not another Christian characteristic?

Generosity and giving is the foundation of Stewardship as a charity, so a campaign centred around generosity is an obvious fit. Of course, other characteristics are equally important, but this particular trait is what we as a charity are all about building up. 

In addition, 40acts and generosity is a palatable concept. Our vision is to impact culture where it is now and speak into the future, to see culture changed by generosity, understanding how it plays its part in culture today and adapting ourselves to be ready for challenges that may arise.

Is it just me, or is the challenge a little like a personal development course?

40acts helps people to engage with generosity in their lives holistically and not just through giving money. Imagine waking up each day, for 40 days, and thinking about generosity. Forty days is a very long time, so the challenge is bound to change behaviours.

Many people give up, say, chocolate for Lent. During the first and second week, it’s bearable, but as the days pass, it gets more difficult. The experience of remembering to incorporate generosity into your everyday life for that period of time becomes challenging too. 

You have this act of generosity to think about. You have to look out for an opportunity to give. You have to prepare. So, participants begin to prioritise generosity. I guess this is what 40acts is indirectly teaching people.

Do you come across any individuals or groups who come back for more each year?

There are lots of repeat participants. We spot familiar faces’ on social media and in our emails, and we hear from people who we remember from the previous year. It’s great to come back together with our 40acts family.

40acts would like to engage more 18 to 35 year olds. Why is it important that 40acts reaches this demographic? 

There is a big trend of 40acts participants who are 35+. We’re keen to see the success, joy, impact and community that we’ve witnessed in that group of people filter down, so we would love to see more 18 to 35 year olds getting involved. 

Additionally, within this demographic, we have seen the power of social action and what happens when people get behind something they care about. We truly believe that if 18 to 35 year olds live biblically generous lives (in church, business and everyday life) communities and industries will be transformed. So, we want to break into circles of that demographic and let them know that we’re here.

You have probably got numerous success stories of people whose way of life has been changed by 40acts. Do you have a personal favourite?

Each story is genuinely encouraging. We hear about how both the giver and the receiver benefit from acts of generosity. My favourite will be featured in this year’s challenge, so I can’t give anything away. But, I am encouraged even until now by the acts of generosity that this person did and is still doing. They’re altering his whole life.

Why should Evangelical Alliance members get behind 40acts and encourage Christians they know to do so too?

As the church in the west, a part of the world where many people are driven by individualism and consumerism, we’re called to be different and live differently. Jesus lived a truly sacrificial life, and He called us to do the same. This is why we encourage Christians to prioritise generosity. 

40acts is an opportunity to see what it would look like to make generosity a priority. It’s deeper than giving money to a cause over 40 days. It’s designed to expand your capacity to be generous. We produce the resource for people, free of charge, as we believe in the discipline of being generous, a blessing to those around us, as we live out our faith. So, challenge yourself and be part of it. 

To find out more about 40acts and sign up for this year’s challenge, visit 40acts​.org​.uk, where you can register by completing a simple form, or Twitter and Facebook, using the handle 40acts.

About the author

Naomi joined the Evangelical Alliance in 2018 as editorial content manager. Positions with publishers and within the marketing and communications faculty of a higher education institution, plus stints as a reporter, have enabled the media and cultural studies graduate, who has an NCTJ diploma in newspaper journalism, to hone the necessary skills and qualities to serve members well.

See more from Naomi Osinnowo

You are already subscribed to our mailing list.

Please confirm your subscription in the email we have sent you.

By signing up you agree to our Data Protection Statement