Can you remember what it was like before the days of online banking? Back then, you had one option for giving to a church ministry: putting some cash or a check into the offering plate when it came by you on Sunday.
In today’s digital world, most people (and I’m one of them) have grown used to the convenience of handling all their financial transactions online and seldom carry around cash or much less a check book. So to facilitate church giving for a new generation, we have provided this option of online giving. Keep one thing in mind however—giving is all about worship!
The danger in all forms of giving (whether in the offering box or through an auto draft) is that we become mindless in it, and do it out of habit, not out of love for God’s Kingdom. So as you give (however the transaction is made), make it an expression of gratitude for God’s grace and allegiance to God’s mission.
Here are some scriptures to meditate upon as you go through the worshipful act of giving: Malachi 3:8-10; II Corinthians 8,9; Matthew 6:1-4,19-21,24; Luke 6:38; Luke 21:1-4; Psalm 112:9; Proverbs 19:17, 22:9.
In addition to the authenticity of the act of worship, at the Church in the Center we have three other priorities for our giving:
In our financial structure, there is clear accountability on every level. We have an internal system of checks and balances which ensures that all gifts to CitC are handled with integrity. Contribution reports will be given annually, and budgets will be made available periodically for public review.
In a new church environment, the primary goal is to become financially self-supporting as soon as possible. A new church cannot make long-term plans to serve the community without also making plans to become financially healthy. Regular tithes and offerings given to CitC will help up move closer to achieving a level of sustainability for our local ministries.
We believe in practicing what you preach, so we don’t just ask people to give to our church, our church gives to other ministries as well. From day one, we will be giving at least 10% of our income off the top to support mission’s efforts around the world. We will also take up periodic offerings to raise extra money for specific humanitarian and evangelistic causes both locally and globally.
Suggestions for intentional giving:
1. The Tithe
Historically, based upon the biblical model, Christians have set aside the first 10% of their income to give through their local church. Today, this continues to be the most practical, effective, and biblically faithful means of financing God’s mission. The tithe is the primary source of income for churches, and without faithful tithers, churches would be extremely limited in their capacities to serve the community.
2. Missions Giving
We encourage church members to make it a habit to save money on a regular basis to be given to special missions offerings throughout the year. There are currently thousands of missionaries around the world that count on believers to practice this means of giving in order to sustain their humanitarian and evangelistic efforts.
3. Sacrificial Giving
This type of offering is a great way to express a heart of worship in giving. A sacrificial offering is something that you give up in order to give more away. For example, one might sacrifice drinking coffee for a month and save the corresponding sum of money to give away to a water well project in a third world country.