Monthly Archives: January 2016

How snow diminishes ministry……

2016-02-09 13.47.34.jpgMinistry suffers when finances dwindle. How does snow hurt church finances? Simple. No church service – no offering.

Does that mean you can save money by not going to church? If your answer is ‘yes’ you may want to consider why you give in the first place.

  1. Why do we give?

We read these verses to prepare for giving and receiving His tithes and our offerings.

Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name. “But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you. (1 Chronicles 29:12-14 ESV)

Gratitude

He owns it ALL! We are simply stewards or caretakers of HIS stuff. We model our giving after “first fruits” offerings from the Old Testament which Jesus commends in the New (Matt 23:23). In Acts 2 and 4 the church contributed all they had to share with those who had need. Like David and God’s people of the Old Testament they recognized that all they had belonged to God. They were grateful for who God is and all that He had done for them. They attributed their blessings all to Him so they gave generously simply because they were thankful.

Through the cross we are confronted with the ultimate goodness of Christ on behalf of undeserving sinners. Having received grace and His righteousness we will want to give.

Growth

Giving of our time and our money helps us grow in our self denial and our reliance upon God.  “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21 ESV). As we give our hearts will follow. We release what is important to us and trust God will aid us to meet our needs. Our faith grows as a result of trusting Him with our finances.

Worship

The words above are King David’s as he led the people of God in worship as they contributed to the materials to build the temple. Giving is part of our worship. As often as people are offended at churches asking for money, I’m never embarrassed to present the opportunity. It is a way for us to ascribe to the Lord that He is ruler over all, even our finances.  “Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts!” (Psalm 96:8 ESV). It is a prescriptive element in our worship laid out in Scripture.

 2. How much do we give?

The New Testament examples are 100%. Jesus seems to affirm the tithe (10%) cited above in Matt 23:23 of the “first fruits” offering. It may take some adjusting or growth of one’s faith and finances to become a tither. The discipline of giving regularly helps develop a disciple of Jesus as listed above. So, one should give as he has set in his heart. Develop the discipline with a percentage of your gross income and trust God to help you discern your needs and wants until which time you want to give more. Systematically build to 10% to your local church (Mic 3:10).

If there is a desire to give beyond the tithe to other worthwhile ministries we refer to that as your offerings. At the offertory we frequently say, “His tithes and our offerings” to note the different categories.

3. How frequently should we give and how?

In our electronic age I know “there’s an app for that” now. I hate to write checks these days. If I can’t pay online or electronically that makes it tough on me. I’ve heard of ATM/Debit card machines positioned in the entrance of churches. I’d rather see a baptismal font there instead. If it wasn’t for my wife I would probably set up an auto pay through our online banking. Idealy we want to give as an act of worship each Sunday. My wife can still write checks and between the two of us we can remember the checkbook most Sundays. We want to participate in this act of worship weekly.

Since this is a first fruits offering most tithers arrange their giving in concert with their pay coming in or divide their total by 52 weeks. If we go on vacation we don’t “save” money by not being in our church to write a check. If we forget our checkbook (which happens a lot) we don’t “save” money by not writing a check. If it snows and we cancel church it has no bearing on us “saving” money. Tithers tithe. You give what you’ve set in your heart to give whether it snows or not. Your church continues to have expenses and commitments that need to be met. Staff salaries continue, missionaries, church plants, connected church ministries and ministry partners all are still relying on your involvement regardless of the weather in your hometown.

I’m a church planter in Parkersburg, West Virginia. Most of our people give as I’ve suggested above. Our needs are small and snow will not adversely affect our giving at this time. Your church may be supporting pastors like me. Don’t let snow diminish the ministry of the gospel going forth in your hometown or in towns far away which your church supports.

Only encouraging not chastising.

Bridging your story with God’s, I’m Jim Sallie from Redeemer.