Given the choice, every one of us wants to be more generous, but fear holds us back. Kevin White’s new book, Audacious Generosity, shows you how to exchange any sense of pressure and regret about giving for genuine confidence and satisfaction. Gone are the days where you feel pressured to be the giver. Instead, audacious generosity will empower you to give limitlessly.
In the book, Kevin speaks about God being fueled by courage, characterized by freedom, and overflowing with audacious generosity. As the courage and freedom combine in your life, you’ll experience, receive, and give more than you ever thought possible.
Drew Applebaum: Hey listeners, my name is Drew Applebaum and I’m excited to be here today with Kevin White, author of Audacious Generosity. Kevin, thank you for joining us and welcome to the Author Hour podcast.
Kevin White: Drew, the pleasure is all mine, thank you so much for having me on the show.
Drew Applebaum: No problem, really happy you’re here. Can we kick this off and you give us a little run down of your background?
Kevin White: Sure, I was born in western North Carolina. I grew up in a very poor, dysfunctional broken family, it was a Christian family, my parents ended up divorcing when I was 12. I did come to know Christ when I was 10 and that was a saving refuge. There were a lot of turbulent times in my childhood. I committed my life to the full-time ministry, the call of God, when I was 17.
I had never traveled outside of North and South Carolina until I went to college, and my parents never held a passport but, by the grace of God, I’ve now flown over a million miles. I’ve been to India 51 times, I’ve been to 27 different countries, I’ve taken a thousand people over to India with me on short term mission trips.
I’m sure we’ll get into it during the show, but God really used India in a pivotal moment in my life when I was 30, to really change my life. I would go over there on a mission trip, hoping that maybe we can do some good for others, but I really am indebted big time to the country of India because God really used India to change my life.
I’m married–we just celebrated our 33rd anniversary last Saturday. We have three adult children, a son and two daughters, and we welcomed our very first granddaughter to our family in January of 2020. I know it has been rough for a lot of people, but I have a granddaughter, I have a brand new book, and I’m very grateful that so far, our family is healthy and safe and really haven’t been faced with a lot of the suffering that I know a lot of families have during 2020.
That’s Kevin White, that’s who I am.
Now Is the Time
Drew Applebaum: Now, why was now the time to write this book?
Kevin White: Well, I really felt personally that it was an assignment from God. I have been four to five months a year in India for the last eight years. I really felt, before I even had COVID-19 in my vocabulary, that God was really impressing upon me to write in the first quarter of 2020. I came back from India on January the 8th, I went into a workshop with a communications coach, January the 27th and 28th, right after our granddaughter was born and outlined the book and began to write.
The more things shut down, the more I squirreled in to really pound out the book. I was done by May. Normally I’m in India in April, and then I’m in India in June and July but obviously, because of the pandemic, all international travel has been suspended. It just really focused me on a level that I have not had the opportunity over the last eight years to do.
It was by assignment, it was time to really flesh out this message, as I share in the book, I really feel like God has been preparing me for over the last 20 years for the things that I wrote about in the book. The value, you know, the book title, Audacious Generosity, the value of generosity, and how it really does open doors for ministry and the purposes of God in our lives.
I’m grateful that I will very soon be a published author and feel that is a gift from God, it’s a high honor, and I’m grateful to share the book with the world.
Drew Applebaum: You know, I think a lot of people wanted this time to conquer some long-term goals and not many people did. Major kudos for actually sitting down and really finishing this book and who is this book for?
Kevin White: The book is really for anyone. My context is Christian, so it’s going to probably resonate quickest with people that would consider themselves part of the Christian community, but it was not written for it to be exclusive or to make anyone of any particular religion feel intimidated or lost as they’re reading. Because obviously, there’s a lot of kindness that can be seen, no matter a person’s religion.
The quick answer is going to be that I really expect that the Christian community is going to feel very comfortable with the book, but it has been written with sensitivity so that anyone that is really looking for meaning and satisfaction in life is going to resonate with the message of Audacious Generosity.
Drew Applebaum: Let’s start with a real easy ask. Can you define audacious generosity for us?
Kevin White: Sure, audacious is a willingness to take risks, and generosity is an action of being kind and plentiful. When you put the two together, it really is being generous on a level of willingness to take risks.
The book is in three sections, setting God free, setting yourself free, and setting others free. Audacious is really that form of generosity where you let go of your own personal needs in order to fulfill needs in the lives of other people. There is risk involved in that because what if they abuse your generosity? Or what if you have to go without something in order for them to have their needs met?
It is, in my perspective, the best description of what we see demonstrated in John 3:16, for God so loved that he gave. That gift of his son is available to everyone whether they accept it or whether they reject it, he gave and, in my perspective, that’s audacious generosity. That’s who I follow as a Christian, and so that is what we can and should be expecting to happen through us as God continues to give with audacious generosity through us.
Drew Applebaum: Now, what is audacious generosity not?
Kevin White: It’s not bossing God around, it’s not entitlement to get God to do things for us as far as material blessings. It’s not for ulterior motives such as I’m going to give to really meet someone’s needs and then God is going to give me jet planes and BMWs. It really is being pure-hearted and giving without strings attached.
God Is the Giver
Drew Applebaum: Why do you think people avoid the subject of giving?
Kevin White: Well, from my own personal experience, I really believe that most of us avoid the subject of giving because we’ve been made to feel like we are the giver, and that giving depends on what’s in my bank account. That giving depends on what’s in my hands. When you really dissect generosity down, we love to see people give things away. We watch Ellen DeGeneres’s night of giving, we love Oprah’s giving shows, and probably most Americans will remember Ty Pennington say, “Move that bus,” and seeing this very deserving family blessed with a complete makeover of their home.
The problem is when we start feeling like we’re being asked to give of our resources and the pressure to become the giver really scares us, it can even offend us to a point where we just avoid it. We don’t want people to talk to us about our giving, to ask us to give out of our resources.
An open guitar case on the subway while someone is providing a very world-renowned talent is not offensive.
When we are given an opportunity to express our decision is not a big deal. Whether it’s the church or whether it’s charity or whether it’s a charitable campaign in our company, we don’t like being pressured to give. One of the primary things that I make clear in audacious generosity is that God is the giver, according to the Bible, he owns all and he has come forth, demonstrating audacious generosity to us, John 3:16 again, for God so loved that he gave.
When we understand that he is the giver, it takes the pressure off of us. When we understand that giving doesn’t depend upon what’s in my hands, or in my bank account, but it depends upon him, it again takes the pressure off of us. We avoid it until we understand that fundamental truth that God is the giver, and that giving depends upon what he puts into our hands, not in what we can produce.
Drew Applebaum: Now, you mentioned some interesting research in the book that shows younger generations consider themselves more generous than previous generations, but they actually give substantially less. Can you tell us about that?
Kevin White: Yeah. Drew, you’ve done a good bit of homework. I really appreciate the time you’ve taken to prepare for this interview. Thank you for reading Audacious Generosity.
Yes, in the third section, one of the last chapters, I really lay out my own research of what I did look through and I wanted current statistics, I didn’t want something that was 15 or 20 years old. Research is showing that millennials are very quick to really feel satisfied with their level of generosity but they’re giving substantially less than baby boomers did.
Baby boomers, it’s sort of ironic, felt as if they could do more in the area of generosity that they weren’t doing enough but yet, they were giving substantially more than current generations. It’s just interesting how the attitude has come that younger generations feel very good about their level of generosity but, statistics show, they’re actually giving less. They’re really not as generous as their parents or their grandparents.
Drew Applebaum: Now, there’s an incredibly uplifting story at the beginning of the book, that I’d love for you to tell us. Can you talk about how in the early days, you were struggling to find food for your family, and then suddenly, you had more food than you knew what to do with?
Kevin White: Yeah, it’s really that moment when I began to understand that God was capable of doing through us way more than we could do on our own. Put it in the context of being in full-time ministry as a pastor, and really seeking to be a part of the mission of God. We had our young children, all three, and a foster son at that time, the six of us were living in Cary, North Carolina, which is a very affluent, highly educated area with a pretty high cost of living.
This was 20 years ago and at that time, we had a mortgage, we had a car payment, we had the American dream if you will.
I was serving in the ministry and the counseling ministry to pastors and through our church were helping to underwrite our support, and one of those men left the church. That month, that giving through that particular group of men stopped, and all of a sudden, we found ourselves living on less than $500 a month.
Our mortgage payment was over a thousand a month, so you can see, very quickly, the dilemma. Our car payment was nearly $500 a month and groceries, you know, would quickly be several hundred dollars a month. Here we are, we have less than $500, and so it didn’t take very long until there wasn’t food in the cabinets, and the refrigerator was empty. I did what anyone would do, I started looking for work, I certainly was praying, and I just began to experience something with God that I had never really experienced before.
I would have time in the word, reading the Bible, I would pray, and I would have so much peace with God, and then I would go to what my human logic would say I needed to be doing, and I would start looking for work.
I would really have the strong sense of the peace of God just leaving and I kept looking for work, and I’d go back to more time and prayer, just really seeking God’s face and his will for us in that moment. You know, the scarcity of money was becoming more and more a reality. As I was in the word, the Bible story of the feeding of the multitude really was a predominant story in front of me and I just began getting the sense of God, speaking to my spirit, “You can feed your family but only I can feed the multitude.” I give him my life to full-time ministry and so I was really sensitive to that, and I all of a sudden came to a prayer I’d never prayed before in my life.
It was, “Father, give us food that others might eat,” and that was really one of the first tender moments of audacious generosity in my life. Because here is my family of six at that moment, needing food, and yet, I am being called by my God to forego my needs in trusting him that he has covered my needs and has promised that we are secure and he will take care of us. But to let that go and to take that risk, audaciously take that risk of actually praying, “Give us food that others might eat.”
My heart was just breaking at that moment because we were without food, but yet we knew the comfort of God. What about all those that had no food, and they didn’t know that they could put their hope in God as an ever-present help in time of need? I began genuinely praying, “Father, give us food that others might eat,” and I remember going to Kroger in our area, a big supermarket chain, and I had about $4 in my pocket. I was looking for some hotdogs or something that we could eat that day, and I’d picked up a few things, and I was going up to the self-checkout aisle.
I noticed a Kroger employee coming toward me. I had no prior thought but all of a sudden, I found myself in what I would describe as a divine appointment and I just said, “Excuse me, do you work here?” And she identified herself as the manager of the deli and I said, “What do you do with your expired product?” I had no business plan in mind to ask her this. It just really came as a spontaneous conversation that lasted less than one minute.
She said, “We throw it away,” and I said, “Would you be open to a ministry coming in and taking that to families in need?” She said, “Come back tomorrow. I will ask the store manager.” I said, “Thank you and I will see you in the morning,” and I left.
I didn’t think a whole lot about it, and I went back the next day. She said, “Take it,” and pointed to three grocery carts full of rotisserie chickens, pizza, pasta, cakes, breads, everything that the deli and bakery sold, and I was blown away.
I was driving a small Toyota sedan and I said, “How do I take it?” And she said, “I have cleared it with the manager, just roll it right out the front door of the store and take it to families in need.”
It barely left me enough room to drive home. It was stacked all the way up the backseat, the trunk, the passenger seat stacked full. I grabbed some bags as I was loading all of this up, and I went back to the house, and I remember the kids coming and running around the car just rejoicing that there was all of this food and cakes and different things there.
I was having to assure my wife Shelly that I hadn’t just robbed a Kroger. We put it up as fast as we could–the refrigerated items into the refrigerator and the different items onto our shelves, and it happened again the next day, and then the next day. We soon began to realize while this food was expired, it was perfectly edible. There was nothing wrong with eating it, but it wasn’t going to last forever, and it needed to be given away very quickly.
Within a few days, we began to find the needy areas in our community, and we would literally put rotisserie chicken in a bag, and some side items, and some bread, and a cake on top, and fill up a standard brown bag of groceries, and we would start going house to house and just tapping on the door, greeting them and saying, “Could you be blessed with a free bag of groceries?” And they would say yes, and we would say, “Here, please receive this with love from Jesus.”
We would turn around and walk off and the next day, it would happen again. So we’d go to more doors and then we started going back to the same doors that we had gone to the week earlier and two weeks earlier and it just, over the next year, we literally went from a family needing food to, one year later, sharing food with over 500 families a month with the help of 25 volunteer families. Needless to say, our family of six never missed a meal. It was really a modern-day miracle like what we read in John 6 of the feeding of the multitude.
With this $4 going into Kroger, this very tiny amount that I could produce was trusted to God and a miracle happened that is still going on. You could Google withlovefromjesus.org, it is still happening in Raleigh, North Carolina to this day. Millions of dollars in food, and clothing, and household items, cars, and galore, people are giving that who have extra and companies are giving that who have extra, and then families in need come in, and it is all free With Love from Jesus. It is a great outreach of the gospel to these families.
Living Recklessly for God
Drew Applebaum: It is such an amazing story just from one small connection to how it all started. Now, you talk in the book a lot about living recklessly for God. Can you explain this?
Kevin White: Yeah, I have already described some of it and even the response of our family needing food and needing to give ear to the voice of God in that moment and go against logic. Logic says, “Go flip burgers, do janitorial work, whatever you have to do, go and do it. You need to provide for your family,” and that is absolutely true, but for the Christ follower, we have been given the Spirit of God through the Holy Spirit and he speaks to us. We should follow his guidance.
We should be sensitive to what he wants to say in prayer. Often it goes against human logic, but it is always for blessing. It is not to bring harm. You know, we have all been exposed to people who jumped off bridges and they were told by God to jump off bridges, or they hurt people, and that is not biblical. You are not going to find that aligned with the word of God, but to say that we shouldn’t be listening to the voice of God because of some of the bad examples would be a major disappointment.
We should get beyond those bad examples and really understand that there are way more good examples of blessings that come as a result of listening to God, but it is going to feel absolutely reckless at times. Reckless is a word that basically says inconsideration to yourself in order to have a blessing to others. Really, letting go of the fear of racism is very reckless. It is just living with an inconsideration of yourself, trusting your needs over to God, so that you can be a blessing to others.
God told Abraham in the old testament, “I will bless you and I will make you a blessing.” We all want the blessings of God, but allowing God to then make us a blessing is going to be very reckless. I say in the book, going back to that feeding of the multitude, feeding my family is safe, but being a part of a miracle, that’s messy. That’s reckless. That is an adventure that really takes courage. So, I have dedicated two whole chapters to courage because it takes that.
In writing the book, it really began to show forth in my understanding that I had not really paid attention to before, nowhere in the Bible are we ever instructed to ask God for courage. Everywhere, and I list a big list of scriptures for people in the book, to just go check it out for themselves, we are told over and over and over to take courage. We don’t even have to ask for it, but the point is it is going to take a lifetime of courage to live recklessly for God.
To really go against the grain of logic, human logic, and to go to the higher ways, the Bible says that God’s ways are higher than our ways, it is going to seem reckless at times.
Drew Applebaum: Now can you tell us about your time in India, how did you end up there and what does your work there look like?
Kevin White: Yeah, so I was in a place of transition in 1998, and all of a sudden I had an opportunity to go to India with one of the men in our church. Until that moment I never had a passport, I never traveled outside of the US, and so it was a major trip for me to go 8,000 miles away over to India. As I shared earlier, it was a really life-changing experience. I will always be indebted to the people of India for how God used this country to change my life.
It was really in that trip to India that I saw the value of God’s presence in a way that I had not seen in the US, and that I had not personally practiced in my own life, even as a minister of the gospel. On that plane ride back, I remember drawing out two crosses and on one I wrote things that I had been pursuing, success and influence and all of the good things, even worthy things for the Lord, but on the second cross, I wrote across it, “The presence of God.”
It was really that moment in my life where I determined that I was going to spend the rest of my life pursuing His presence. It’s been in that, and I hear about this in the book, about asking God for more and realizing that God’s more is always going to be more of Himself. It is not about asking Him for more followers on social media, and more cars, and more houses for me, unless I am asking for those things for Him, then I am really going to be disappointed.
Pursuing His presence has been a major turning point in my life, and it has been in His presence that I have seen all of these miracles happen. I prayed the prayer on that first trip that I look back. It was a very monumental prayer. I prayed, “God, let me bring all three of my kids to see your work here in India,” because I had seen orphans my kid’s age without a pair of sandals, without a toothbrush, but if they knew Jesus, and had the presence of God in their life, they exhibited true joy and true peace.
I was coming back to my own children who I was seeking to raise without all of the pressure of materialism and they would be challenged to have that kind of joy and that kind of peace. I wanted them to see the difference in that. I went back three years later with our 11-year-old son and some friends from church, and then I went three years after that with our 11-year-old daughter. Then the church that we were attending at the time had never taken a trip to India, and I’d been three times, and so in the first 10 years, I only went three times.
I talked to our church, Hope Community Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, about leading a team over to India. They said, “Let’s give it a try,” and eight people went. It was a life-changing experience for them. The next year, another team formed, and then two teams a year, or three teams a year, and it just began to blow up at that point.
I had been at that time on staff with this church as one of the staff pastors. I really felt that God was making this hobby called Global Hope India. We had a bank account and a 501(c)3 to help facilitate these projects over in India with some of these teams going. It was just a hobby, but I really felt that God would call me to a full-time focus of that. That was 10 years ago.
I left the church, started raising supporters of missionary, and now have been 51 times. So in the last 10 years, I have gone 48 times to India and have taken a thousand people with me on short term mission trips, raise millions of dollars for His work there, and really been blessed to get to be a part of Global Hope India, and the work that we do there.
Drew Applebaum: That’s amazing and there is so much more in the book I’d like to talk about but what is really great is that at the end of the book, you actually issue a simple call to action so you could start living with audacious generosity right away. Can you tell us about that and really how to get started?
Kevin White: Yeah, I love how God led me to close out the book because it is really something that’s practical on every level, for anyone, no matter their economic status, their educational degrees, or their gender, their race, you name it. It can transcend for every single human on the planet, and that is just in the book with three words, open your hands. If we are in a place where we can open up our hands to God, that is the call. The whole book is just preparing us to live open handedly.
You know we can either close our fist and really focus our entire lives on ourselves, and, “Give me, give me, give me, what can I do for me, me, me?” Jesus has promised that it’s more blessed to give than to receive. The whole grieving cry of audacious generosity is that we have not because we don’t ask God, and when we do ask God, we ask with ill motives so that we can spend it on ourselves but if we will open up our hands for the great commission, for the mission of God, and we say, “Father, whatever you put into my hands I will use for your mission,” there is no limit to what God can get to us if He can get it through us.
So, that doesn’t necessarily happen overnight. It took decades for me to come to a place of really understanding that but I really believe, as a result of reading Audacious Generosity, it can happen a lot faster for the readers to come to a place of surrender, of opening up their hands, and committing before God that whatever you put into my hands, I will use to fulfill the great commission.
You know, statistically, right now there are seven billion people alive on planet earth. Four billion have access to hear about Jesus, three billion are in what is called the 1040 window, from Africa into Asia, and have limited to no access to know about Jesus, and one of those billion in India. For 20 years, I have been staring at the beautiful people of India with a broken heart, that they would be able to hear the love of Jesus in their life. I’ve come to this place of realizing God’s mission is Jesus and His strategy is audacious generosity, and that really comes down to three words–open your hands.
Drew Applebaum: Wow. Kevin, writing a book, especially like this one, which is going to help empower so many people is no small feat, so congratulations.
Kevin White: Thank you so much, Drew.
Drew Applebaum: This has been a pleasure. I am so excited for people to check out this book. Everyone, the book is called Audacious Generosity, and you can find it on Amazon. Kevin, besides checking out the book, where can people find you?
Kevin White: I have a personal website, kevinwhite.us and that links you to all of the resources and podcasts, the charities that I have mentioned, especially Global Hope India, and a brand new project that has come as a result of the book called The Generosity Award. I have given away an annual award of $25,000 to an unsung hero that’s getting the job done, demonstrating generosity, demonstrating a miraculous proportion, and demonstrating impact for the great commission, and that is also linked on that website, kevinwhite.us.
Drew Applebaum: Amazing. Kevin, thank you so much for coming on the show today.
Kevin White: Thank you, Drew.