The Product that Generosity could be (1/7) — Stewardship Is…

A Speculative Product Roadmap for Generosity — Conceptual Framework

Phil Pawlett Jackson
16 min readAug 29, 2019

I would hugely enjoy to develop these ideas further. I’d love to be stretched in a Product/UX team, and ultimately I hope to facilitate far-reaching social change through super-charged generosity. Friends in fintech, faith, philanthropy or other, do be in touch if we could work together.

I am otherwise looking to nurture a group of beta-testers, anyone who’d like to experiment in generosity-games, or for updates generally, leave your details here and I’ll be in touch.

001 — Fundraising is Stewardship

Fundraising is Stewardship. Getting the money from them to us, from the haves to the have-nots via a professional mediator. The Giving Industry is Stewardship. The specialised, sub-contracted, gamified giving of ulterior altruism is Stewardship. Prizes for philanthropic beneficence is Stewardship. Giving a goat, twinning a toilet, sponsoring a child, sponsoring a skydive is Stewardship. Chugging is Stewardship. Donor Relations is Stewardship. Corporate fundraising dinners is Stewardship. Giving Talks is Stewardship. Generosity journeys is Stewardship.

There must be more to Stewardship.
And, is there an app for that?

002 — My Giving is Stewardship

My Giving is my Stewardship. Stewardship isn’t Stewardship unless you give it away. I keep my Stewardship money in a separate Stewardship Giving Account. The transactional transfer of capital from me to thee is Stewardship. The conversion of a man’s purse is Stewardship. Tithing is Stewardship. Payroll giving is Stewardship. Leaving a legacy is Stewardship. Doing the above generously is Stewardship. The above given ‘easily’ and with tax-effective financial savvy is Stewardship. Further, the above extracted under duress isn’t not Stewardship.

There must be more to Stewardship.
And, is there an app for that?

003 — Effective Altruism is Stewardship

Effective Altruism is Stewardship. Optimisation is Stewardship. Neutral evidence-based distribution of resource to maximise the quality of life on Earth is Stewardship. Giving a lot more to those who have first proved faithful with a little is Stewardship. Those causes that don’t work shan’t eat is Stewardship. Bang for your buck is Stewardship. What is bang? Bang is subject to preference and prophecy, but typically it’s social impact, lives saved.. Giving is the means to an end, that end is impact, and that impact is Stewardship. A giving campaign will seek to maximise the cash income but effective Stewardship will seek equally to maximise the social impact outcome. So, similarly, the mutual financial returns and cooperative social gain that comes from impact investing is Stewardship. Dignifying receivers with the economic responsibility to reciprocate Stewardship with Stewardship, is Stewardship.

Effective Altruist Pledging is Stewardship. Committing, covenanting, contracting, promising is Stewardship. Over against RSVP-Maybe, Stewardship lets its ‘yes’ be ‘yes’. All its promises are yes, yes, and Amen. What Stewardship binds on earth, it binds in heaven. Stewardship is each one giving as he has decided in his heart. On pain of death, Ananias and Sapphira making a public declaration of intent to give is Stewardship.

Is there an app for that?

004 — Wealth Redistribution is Stewardship

Wealth Redistribution is Stewardship. Equality is Stewardship. Equity is Stewardship. Justice is Stewardship. Ensuring that the poor that you always have with you, have no needs among them is Stewardship. Jubilee is Stewardship. Debt cancellation is Stewardship. A mindset of abundance applied to global resources is Stewardship. Out-giving the myth of scarcity is Stewardship. Knowing what you have, knowing what they don’t have, knowing what an exchange could effect, knowing what that would cost, is Stewardship.

Is there an app for that?

005 — The Big Society is Stewardship

The Big Society is Stewardship. “Integrating the free market with a theory of social solidarity based on hierarchy and voluntarism..” is Stewardship. “A mix of conservative communitarianism and libertarian paternalism..” is Stewardship. The former formal Welfare State and the de-facto make-shift welfare state presume on a durable, organised, relational, generous commons ~ the difference between exploiting that commons and nurturing that commons is Stewardship.

I say the “Big Society” is Stewardship to highlight the opportunity and desperate need for properly proportionally infrastructural Christianity. Volunteers can mop up the mess of austerity, only if they are administratively super-powered ~ that central nervous system of needs and responses is Stewardship. The tool needed at the heart of the intermediate scale is Stewardship. The church should be a city within the city, a comprehensive counter-culture, systemic and granular, equipped to think global and act local. The devolution and decentralisation of churching towards transparent coproduction in semi-autonomous groups is Stewardship. The subsidiarity of resource management is Stewardship. The local church is the hope for the world is Stewardship ~ but we are not local enough, we need more eyeballs on street, to tailor more micro-payments to micro-tragedies. Breaking the bottleneck of the lead pastor’s bandwidth is Stewardship. Bypassing committees is Stewardship. Re-enfranchising household oikos koinania ecclesia economies of redistributive agency is Stewardship.

Is there an app for that?

006 — Mutual Financial Aid is Stewardship.

What we do, with what we have, in the context where we are, to achieve the good that we discern is needed, over against the perils we face, together, is Stewardship. Knowing who we are and knowing who-is-our-neighbour is Stewardship. The body-of-many-parts more-than-the-sum-of-its-parts, the wisdom-of-crowds, the unity-of-believers is Stewardship. Ubuntu is Stewardship. One-anothering is Stewardship. Relational proximity is Stewardship. Rainy day risk management is Stewardship. Subverting the insurance industry is Stewardship. A life-ring life-raft lift-saver of life savings is Stewardship. And, who holds your pension is Stewardship. Being heirs together, being stewards together, being in this together is Stewardship.

And, is there an app for us to do that?

007 — Money Management is Stewardship

Money Management is Stewardship. All your money viewable in one place is Stewardship. All of you, all your assets, time, relational capital, intangible qualities, property, promises, hopes, dreams in one place to steward them all according to your calling is Stewardship.

Starting with financial data aggregation, seeing your giving in the context of all your spending, and seeing your spending in the context of your professed convictions, and seeing your convictions in the context of templates for temperance and in the context of the strategies of saints past is Stewardship.

The single-minded crazy-love pursuit of budgetary goals like the Financial-Independence-Retire-Early crew, but for altruism, is Stewardship. Comparing my present financial self to my past self and potential future self is Stewardship. Financial modelling and modelling myself, in imitation of those who have gone before is Stewardship.

Beyond crisis management, and debt management, and damage limitation, and retrospectively ruing runway already run out ~ there is an informed strategic sense of the fearless future possible — which is Stewardship.

11:FS ’s PFM/DMM report details some of the shape of a gap in the market for someone to build a generosity oriented money-management app. Let’s.

008 — Church financial transparency is Stewardship.

Church financial transparency is Stewardship. Radical, granular, properly vulnerable, shameless sharing of warts-and-all finances is Stewardship. Having all the data in the commons is Stewardship. Making that data usefully, dynamically and easily interrogable by the audit of all believers is Stewardship.

Creating governance structures for informed and prophetic budgetary consensus decisions is Stewardship. Coding the church budget KPIs and OKRs, the diocese roadmap, the parish handbook, the long-term gospel strategy in a change-trackable, blame-visible, fork-able, open-source git repository is Stewardship (~ forming a giturgical community, if you will). Creating world class tools for exemplary efficient church resource management is Stewardship.

Righteousness exceeding that of the Pharisees, transparency exceeding the regulators’ demand, the church ruthlessly prioritising culture-forming best-in-class demonstrations of radical corporate accountability is Stewardship. The sort of properly infrastructural civtech needed to be a city on a hill beacon of social transformation is Stewardship. No black boxes is Stewardship. Being above reproach is Stewardship. Going beyond mere transparency to true trust is Stewardship.

And, is there an app for that?

009 — A trusted intermediary is Stewardship

A trusted intermediary is Stewardship. A recognised brand, a hundred year evangelical history, considerable goodwill, a pre-eminent trustworthiness to carry value between parties, to mitigate risk, to provide a seamless support service in the most sensitive situations is Stewardship. A Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance Certified, Cage-Free, Kosher, Kite-marked, tried-and-tested, rubber-stamped, Which?-rated, safe-pair-of-hands is Stewardship. A blockchain of trustless trust without the blockchain carbon emissions is Stewardship. An MVP POC for church-as-DAO is Stewardship. A peer-to-peer Patreon for the humble and discrete, giver and receiver is Stewardship. Scaleable bottom-up church-tech solved intimately and effectively for the one-to-one relationship is Stewardship.

[It begins to sound like I’m playing with words, but the remarkable way that the actual Stewardshipˢ UK already solves for robust peer-to-peer giving has no equal that I can find, in church-tech, or outside of it. Appropriately de-risked trust for transactions at that intimate level is the hardest to build and the most transformative to both giver and receiver.]

Now, can any of you scale an app for that?

010 — Maturity is Stewardship

Maturity is Stewardship. Stewardship is done by stewards — person-centred stewarding is Stewardship. Sagacious character formation is Stewardship. A discipline that is repeatedly done is Stewardship. A rhythm of life that is discipled/mentored, by public example, is Stewardship. Numbering one’s days for a heart of wisdom is Stewardship. She that laughs at what is to come is Stewardship.

God doesn’t need your money, he needs your Stewardship. Worldly sorrow is not Stewardship. Sentimental giving is not Stewardship. Virtue signalling is not Stewardship. Guilt offerings is not Stewardship. Emotional manipulation is not Stewardship. God needs you. He desires your whole heart to be generously orientated — in all things, to all causes, as a first response, in season and out of season.

Let’s give Sage a run for their moniker. Let’s build an app that makes us each and all deeper.

011 — Anonymity is Stewardship

Anonymity is Stewardship. The left hand not knowing what right is giving is Stewardship. If you live for the likes, if you give for the plaudits, if you post for the retweets, you have received your reward in full. Ninja-giving is Stewardship. Giving with no strings, no trace, no clues ~ stealth that asks nothing in return, is Stewardship. But.

But, anarchy is not Stewardship. Blindfolded blind guides leading the impressionable to stumble in the dark is not Stewardship. The naive and ignorant taboos of basic British prudishness about money is not Stewardship. The pious mute blank page of non-disclosure debars confessing our wealth, the silence is a smoke screen for privilege, it is sanitised money laundering, it is the embezzlement of God’s gifts to you ~ non-disclosure is not humility, and it is not Stewardship. In order to give to whoever has need, the need needs to be known. To hold Ananias and Sapphira’s commitments to account, the commitment needs to be known. To commend or critique the widow or the pharisee, to call disciples to imitate, to live at all before a watching world, the transaction’s clinking in the offering plate cannot only happen in an artic data centre, but must happen within a sufficiently teachable common arena. Living in the light presumes disclosure, but not nudism — encrypted ephemeral messaging with variable privacy settings is possible and such disclosure is Stewardship.

Building an app for this requires no tech that doesn’t already exist. Let’s.

012 — Sharing is Stewardship

Sharing is Stewardship. Mi casa, su casa ~ but it’s all a sublet of the Lord’s house in Stewardship. Stewardship is fundamentally different from ownership, it’s a different problem to solve for, it’s a different use-case for all matter in the universe.

~ You do not give to God, it is all already his.
~ You do not give to church, you are church.

By contrast with a giving campaign, a sharing campaign is Stewardship. No giving campaign will end up at “..and they had everything in common” because such giving campaigns start in the wrong place. Multi-personal coordinating of the management of that resource which we have been leant is Stewardship. That difficult DTR is Stewardship. It’s not the exploit mechanism of Airbnb’s “sharing” economy, it’s not the unstable abolition of all ownership found in Communism, but rather, prophetic personalist circles of purposive delegated co-ownership is Stewardship. The bible presumes, equips and enforces multi-personal conversations as the basis for plausible hard conversations about sharing the prophetic mutual task of Stewardship ~ thus church is wherever two or three are gathered, thus they are sent in pairs, thus they prophesy in twos and threes, and correct one another in twos and threes.

[I don’t mean this to be semantic, giving vs giving.. But, I think it would be profitable to starkly distinguish [1] contributing to a reciprocal common pot from [2] casting off possessions to the blue yonder. Both are legitimate, and indeed hugely valuable. Solving for the problem of stewarding a common good poses very different questions, involves very different motives, creates very different solutions than solving for the problem of export — while the mechanics of financial transfer may look similar on the surface. Non-reciprocable distributing of wealth to enemies and feeding of the poor who cannot repay seems the more urgent and the more noble, and the more attractively simple to solve for ~ you just give, and then the money is someone else’s problem.]

[Giving to church is popularly everywhere framed as a [2] blue yonder sort of giving-away; giving to missionaries is likewise thought of as a [2] giving to a them, so they can do the holy work on the other side of a sacred secular dichotomy. No? No. We are we as a body to the ultimate degree of that metaphor, we do not outsource liquidity for our limbs, we are not a franken-montage of divorcing European states negotiating trade deals, you feed your limbs as the wife-groom-Christ-church is an extension of your you in a divine unity.]

[Furthermore, the rails for charitable distribution and disaster relief, are being energetically solved by specialised aid agencies. Whereas, that [1] which is not strictly charity but rather a variable openness to co-ownership and co-stewardship of personal finance which is needed in order to create resilient structures of personal financial authenticity and root-cause poverty prevention, is utterly under-developed, unfashionable, unprofitable, but key to solving for Stewardship.]

Apps exist for the mass of individual individuals to give efficiently into a vast charitable corporate singularity, but what apps are there for the prophetic and difficult sharing of needs and opportunities at the intermediate scale? Where should we start?

013 — Teaching Stewardship is Stewardship.

Teaching Stewardship is Stewardship. Strengthening Christian causers is Stewardship. You-feed-my-sheep is Stewardship. Chaistically, Teaching-a-man-to-fish-for-fishers-of-men-who-can-teach is Stewardship. Trainers training trainers is Stewardship. Viral person-to-person dominoes of life-on-life influencing an exponential army of disciple-makers is Stewardship. Taught caught bought oughts is Stewardship. Discipling in financial literacy is no PDF library, no scheduled webinar, no book on a shelf, rather, preaching by practising by learning by doing by playing is Stewardship. Discipling in financial literacy thusly: I budget, you watch; I budget, you help; you budget, I help; you budget, i watch ~ is Stewardship.

And is there an app for this? Yes and no.

Beyond the machine-learnt behaviour-modification nudges of Plum Fintech; beyond the gamble-blocking mental-health self-care switches of Monzo, beyond the benign edu-paternalism of GoHenry et al ~ teaching patterns, instilling behaviours, forming habits of authentic utter generosity is still Stewardship’s to own if they want to. An app that deeply teaches you to be fundamentally generous, with a pedagogical intentionality, provoking the learner with perpetually elective, steadily incremental learning tools for designing novel frictions to your own selfishness is Stewardship. An app that tools you up to check your privilege and teaches you to accurately interpret the data of your own self-deception via calibrated analytics on your effective actual generosity. An app to action those convictions of the Spirit in a timely fashion. An app to document generosity learnings through a candid growth-mindset journal of struggle and of failure and of success. An app to export your learnings through a broadcast function. An app to mentor mentees in a chat function. An app for financial guidance, and if we can legally solve for is, an app for financial advice. An app to simulate shared spending developments together in an open-source sandbox.. An app that aggregates a library of experimental learning by a cloud of life-time learners. That app is Stewardship.

What I taught to you, hand on to other faithfulMentoring needs relationships in stable intergenerational community. Every upstanding Boomer currently filing their generosity through Stewardship’s Giving App is a mentor waiting to happen. Every Monzonaut Millennial discussing their alcohol expenses with Cleo’s AI is a mentee waiting to happen.

Let’s build an app for that.

014 — Sacrifice is Stewardship

Sacrifice is Stewardship. Go-and-sell-everything is Stewardship. She-has-given-all-she-has is Stewardship. As Selena Gomez understands from Francia Raisa, adrenally kenotic incarnation is Stewardship. As the fingers-in-his-side testimony required spear-in-his-side surgery ~ Jesus’ body broken is Stewardship. Offering-your-bodies-as-living-sacrifices is Stewardship. Life played to the pain is Stewardship. The vulnerability of baring all, the inconvenient truth of radical candour, is Stewardship. Downward social mobility, self-negation, self-emptying, becoming less is Stewardship.

All this talk of Christian organ donation is metaphorical, no?
Let’s minimally make a metaphorical app for that then.

015 — Testimonies of Provision is Stewardship.

Testimonies of provision is Stewardship. Which is to say, tracking provenance is Stewardship. #whomademyclothes? is Stewardship. Who spun the cotton? Who harvested the crop? Who planted the seed? Who made it rain? ~ answering all of these is Stewardship. Who you are thankful to, and how, is Stewardship. Solving for the problem of credit-where-credit-is-due is Stewardship. Indexing supply-chain transparency back to the source is Stewardship ~ and that sourcing is worship. All giving is on-gifting. No one is self-made. Spending another’s money is Stewardship, or it is embezzlement. Disclosing the provenance of the widow’s mite to the cloud of witnesses is Stewardship. Telling testimonies for evangelism, testimonies for accountability, testimonies for teaching and reproof, testimonies that everything comes from God — stewarding the knowledge of Provenance is Stewardship.

Good news travels fast. And today, data is frictionless. From Discourse to Discord, I can send a Telegram through my Periscope, I can let you know WhatsApp? when WeChat, ~ if there is no-news, you can’t shoot the Messenger as if it’s their fault ~ there is no news to read because you’ve generated no news worth reading. Unless. Unless we can blame our tools? Unless the Medium is the Message? Is it? Are the tools we use tinted beyond repair by the Silicon Valley worldview that formed them? Are they only presuppositionally narcissistic, undoxological by default, and tilted towards the exponential vanity of imitating self-made influencers? Or are they neutral, redeemable and critically gameable for the Kingdom? Imagine a YesHeIs export straight from your bank account. You could touch-a-billion with the story of your own Muller’s million-and-a-half in answer to prayer.

Let’s build an app to seamlessly facilitate that.
Let’s build an app to incent that.

016 — Entrepreneurship is Stewardship

Entrepreneurship is Stewardship. ROI is Stewardship. Sowing a seed is Stewardship. Good soil giving thirtyfold, sixtyfold and a hundredfold returns is Stewardship. Crushing it in crypto with exponential gains, 10Xing it, #hodling for #whenmoon ~ it’s all Stewardship. Rewarding risk is Stewardship. Innovating futures is Stewardship. Young men seeing visions, old men dreaming dreams is Stewardship. Seeking the good of the Square Mile is Stewardship. Planting vineyards and eating its fruit is Stewardship. 5% Philanthropy, microloans, B Corporations, impact investing, all investing ~ it is all Stewardship. Wealthify is Stewardship. From the bootstrapped hustle to the VC-backed unicorn, from the old money of family offices to the new money of crowdraised ICOs, from a gamified lemonade stand to angel investors in a Dragons’ Dens, it is all Stewardship.

The cultural mandate is multiplication, where’s the Christian app for that kind of Stewardship?

017 — Your first fruits is Stewardship.

Your first fruits is Stewardship. The chronology of Christian charity is Stewardship. That preeminent scandal of particularity which addresses the Jew first, then the Gentile, is Stewardship. Paying it forward is Stewardship. Giving to get is Stewardship. Charity beginning at home is Stewardship.

Your first fruits is Stewardship. The hierarchy of value in not-all-fruits-are-equal demands Stewardship. The existence of first fruit presumes a differentiation in your fruit and the ability to distinguish as such is Stewardship. The comparative cream of the crop is Stewardship. This is the opposite of round-up giving apps ~ rather, giving away the whole hog and keeping the change is Stewardship. Declaring your gross position is Stewardship.

Christ is a first fruit. The Spirit is a first fruit. We are a first fruit. It is an enduring fruity metaphor, lacking in present practical applications in church. It is risky Stewardship to give the first away, while the later harvest might fail. It’s expensive Stewardship to give the best away. It is a beautiful thing and an imitation of God to give away the first class first.

Can you distinguish your first fruits from your general fund? Let’s build an app for that.

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Phil Pawlett Jackson

Illustration, Copywriting, & PM for Digital Product and Architecture for Social Good. Keen to learn & collaborate on projects & mischief