As our deacons pointed out in their financial report, we do not have much, but we have the Lord. He has always provided for us our daily bread. We can say with confidence that Grace has brought safe thus far and Grace will leads us on.
We are so thankful for the Lord’s gracious provision and for the generous gifts, tithes, and offerings we receive from you and others weekly, monthly, annually. The Lord keeps supplying just what we need when we need it — neither poverty nor riches, but godliness with contentment (Proverbs 30:7-9; Matthew 6:33; 1 Timothy 6:6-7).
Historically, when we enter into the Summer months, attendance and giving tend to fluctuate. Please be mindful of our congregational needs even as you make vacation and travel plans this Summer.
One of the questions asked to prospective members of Christ Covenant Church is this: “Do you promise to support the church in its worship and work to the best of your ability?”
Supporting the worship and mission of the church to the best of your ability is one of the membership vows. While this certainly includes much more than money, it does not include less.
God is sovereign over all things, yet he works through ordinary means to accomplish extraordinary ends. Like other institutions, churches need resources, including money, to carry out their ministry and mission in the world. A glad, generous, grace-giving church is able to do many more things for the glory of God and the good of others than a grumpy, greedy church.
God alone is Lord of the conscience, so we will not require any members to give beyond what they decide to give according to their faith and good conscience. However, we would like to see our members grow in the grace of giving – to make a commitment to give joyfully, intentionally, regularly, and generously as an act of worship.
Statistics show us that most Christians only give 3% or so. Yet we have received much more under the Gospel than our forefathers received under the Law. So we want to urge our members to make every effort to give at least 10% of their income to the Lord. As grace enables, they may freely give above and beyond that in due season. (Acts 11:29; 2 Corinthians 8:3, 8-9; 1 Timothy 6:17-18; Hebrews 13:5-8)
We want you to think and pray about ways you can faithfully steward what God has given you. Pay your bills and debts. Invest wisely. Meet needs around you generously as you see needs. Give to specific ministry projects as they arise. But, give the first-fruits of your money to the Lord first. As Scripture says,
Proverbs 3:9-10 “Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the first-fruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.”
Malachi 3:10 “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house, and test me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven, and pour out for you a blessing until there is no more need.”
2 Corinthians 9:7 “Each one must give as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
When we give in this way, we are trusting and obeying God’s word. We are also reminding ourselves that the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. Finally, we are demonstrating that we possess our wealth, but it does not possess us.
A Giving Plan:
- Evaluate your own heart and life with regard to money. What do you most enjoy spending money on? What percentage of your income is going 1) to God’s Kingdom (your church, other Christian ministries), and 2) to help those in need (outside your family)? How close is it to 10% of your income? Read Matthew 6:19-34, 1 Timothy 6:6-10, 2 Corinthians 8:1-5; 9:6-15. How might you need to adjust your giving in light of gospel virtues, in terms of eternal investments?Many of us have made poor decisions with our money. Perhaps this is a good time to admit that, and get help to get out of debt, start saving for the future and doing whatever possible to live within your means. There are people in our church who would love to help you on this issue. Doing this helps you live in much more freedom. And just think of all the money that you could give to the cause of Christ and the church instead of to credit card companies.
- Do you have a regular plan for giving? First, decide what percentage of your income you will give to the Lord’s work this year. Then, ask yourself if this is sacrificial and, on the other hand, if this is responsible. Last, whenever money comes in, set aside the Lord’s portion first, with the understanding that it is his, not yours.
- Prayerfully distribute the money among Christian causes. We hope your church is your primary avenue of spiritual growth, and giving to your home church will be a first priority. But there are other churches, missionaries, and ministries that are worthy of support as well.
- Evaluate your use of “non-liquid” resources. For example, are you using your car for God’s glory by giving people rides? Are you using your house to God’s glory by inviting people in? Do you have special resources that God has blessed you with? If so, are you generous with those?
A Giving Worksheet
Your income and giving is between you and the Lord. This exercise is intended to help you prioritize and set goals according to God’s word.
My annual income is $__________________ A tithe of that take-home income (10%) is $__________________ My offering beyond the tithe will be $ _______________
You can give weekly or monthly. You can give at church or online.
How can an individual church member support the worship and work of the whole church? One of the most important ways is by attending its services faithfully (Hebrews 10:25). He can share in the work of the church by doing willingly whatever he is asked to do (Colossians 3:23). Church members support the work of the church by their gifts and abilities. We believe that every Christian ought to tithe – give a tenth of his income – to the work of the Lord (Malachi 3:10), according to the grace given to each one. But the most important way a church can support his church is to pray for her. This is something which every member can do (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
Like so many poor saints who have gone before us, let’s give according to our means, and beyond our means, willingly, by giving ourselves first to the Lord, and then by the will of God, to one another. (2 Corinthians 8:3-5)
Note: Portions of the New Members Orientation come from membership packets that PCA friends shared with us.