Posts Tagged ‘giving’

I have heard that most pastors hate giving talks on tithing. I guess it makes since because they are basically talking about their own salaries and they probably assume that most people hate to hear about giving to the church because they know they are not giving as much as they could. I am sure that it is always a big Guilt Fest and the pastor feels like he is trying to pad his pocket. But…

If people could see what we are seeing I think it would change the way we all give. God is moving in this city and people are being drawn into his family. I think if people could see the impact of their dollars given they would be more apt to give, although part of giving is doing it sacrificially on faith, and part of that is not knowing for sure what God is doing with it and then trusting that God has the right servants in the right place to use the gifts appropriately.

I saw a study today that stated that Christians gave more during the Great Depression, out of their poverty, than they do now, out of their wealth. The Christian income average, adjusted to the 2008 dollar, has grown almost 600% but our giving has dropped from 3.3% (1933) to 2.5% (2004). Should we be excited there is economic collapse on the horizon?

My question is, “What if all Christians gave at least 10%?” Well according to this study that would be about $164 Billion dollars per year, which would by all standards wipe out poverty on the globe, send thousands of missionaries worldwide and keep $32 billion for ministry in the States. Wow.

I dream of a church in North Seattle that sees, men and women with eyes who can see, what God does when his people give. But then factor in verses like Malachi 3:10,

“Bring the entire tithe into the storehouse so that there may be food in my temple. Test me in this matter,” says the Lord who rules over all, “to see if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until there is no room for it all.”

Not would we be able to wipe out hunger throughout the world but God would bless us even more. Which, by the way, would only add to the amount we could give and the ministry that could take place.

But no, we settle with 2.5% that we “sacrifice” for God and then we wonder why our store houses aren’t overflowing and we whine to God that we don’t have enough to live on and we get scared when our house falls apart and we don’t have the money for repairs or we get sick and the financial bill is over whelming.

If we sacrificed as a Body of Christ we would see God’s glory poured out. As for me and my house, we want to see that and will tithe accordingly.

When we first started thinking about raising money to cover a three year budget, I thought,  “No big deal.”  Then I found out how much it will cost to do ministry in Seattle, Wa.  A place where a modest three bedroom house costs a mere $650,000. Yeah that’s right. Pretty crazy.  Then stack the slight burden I am starting to feel about bringing ten other ministers with us into that atmosphere. Whoa. And then start thinking about ministry costs. Whoa.

Some have asked, “Why would you go somewhere that costs so much to live?” “Why not use all that money to help people in Africa?” “Why go to a city that is wealthy looking.” Valid questions, I guess, but when thought through they should answer themselves. We are going because God called us.  It doesn’t matter if the cost of living is a dollar a day or 1,000 big ones a day, the fact is the people in Seattle need a transforming relationship with Jesus, period, and since my God is a big God the money issue will be a non-issue when we need it.  If a place like Seattle is transformed it could change our entire nation. We are being called into something that’s big, and if we follow close to the one who called us we will be successful. And “Successful” can only be understood from His perspective. 

The finances that it will take to start a church? Well, I am back to “No big deal.” It all belongs to him anyway, what’s a couple hundred thousand to Him? Anyway, we haven’t even started asking people to commit to helping with the funding, but they have started asking us how they can give and they have started giving above, no, way above the amount that we are planning on asking people to give. That’s my God! The God of abundance. The God of big. The God of, “just test me and see if I will throw open the flood gates of heaven…”