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Gospel Giving

1.

What motivates truly biblical generosity?  We believe generosity and giving is a fruit of believing in and responding to the promises of the Gospel in Christ (2 Cor. 8:9).  It is not a measure of spirituality or righteousness.  Nor does generosity determine God's favor or blessings but is itself one of His graces toward us (2 Cor. 8:1, 2, 7; 9:8, 10).  Giving should be the faith response of a heart overwhelmed by the generosity of God's grace to us in Christ, confident in His promises to mature us (2 Cor. 9:8).  The love of God generates generosity.

2.

 What does Grace believe about tithing (giving at least 10% of one’s income)?  Although the N.T. does not explicitly affirm or deny tithing (Lev. 27:30; Dt. 12:17: Mal. 3:8), we believe it was likely assumed to be a general goal for generosity (eg., Lk. 11:42) and should be commended to all believers.  We do not believe falling below that or any percentage is necessarily disobedient and in fact may be wise (such as in certain cases of severe poverty or debt).

Nor do we believe generosity and giving is solely a matter of finances and money but applies also to goods, services, time and talents.  We affirm that becoming more generous people is commanded and promotes personal spiritual progress (2 Cor. 8:7; 9:6).

We do not believe that meeting the goal of tithing or any percentage is necessarily an indication of a generous heart or generous giving but depends on the person's attitude and spirit and their available resources (2 Cor. 8:12: 9:7).  For those with greater wealth, giving may need to be at a much higher rate to be sacrificial.

3.

Is God more generous to us when we are more generous to Him? We affirm the general biblical principle of sowing and reaping, that God sometimes chooses to give greater responsibility in accord with our maturing trustworthiness (Mt. 25:14ff), and that we often bear the natural and spiritual consequences of following or refusing to follow His wise counsel (2 Cor. 9:6).

We deny that God motivates us to give by appealing to our greed in any form or to our bent toward self-gratification, but rather that His interest is in helping us overcome such vices partly through generosity.  We deny that there are universal or mechanical promises that we will become more wealthy or more comfortable or that we will avoid calamity and suffering by tithing or by giving offerings (2 Cor. 8:1-4; Lk. 21:2; Phil. 4:12). 

4.

How does God use generosity in our lives? We believe generosity is about our becoming like our Father and our Lord and is an aspect of our being freed from the enslaving power of selfishness within us (Eph. 5:1,2; 2 Cor. 8:9).

We also believe that God blesses our generosity and multiplies it in the lives of people beyond what is natural or commensurate with the amount given (2 Cor. 9:6, 10, 11; 8:2).

5.

 What priority should the local church have in our giving? We do not believe the principle of storehouse tithing (Mal. 3:10 -- which taught that giving should be centered in the Temple) is proper to apply to the church today.  In other words, we do not think believers must give only to or through the local church.  We affirm that believers are called to support the church, its work, and its ministers as a priority (Num. 18:21; 1 Tim. 5:17, 18).  We also affirm supporting the poor, widows and orphans, relief, and missions as approved priorities from God for giving. (Lk. 11:42; Jas. 1:27; 2 Cor. 8-9).

We further believe that we are called to submit ourselves to the joint or corporate wisdom of the body and its leaders, and that God uses such submission to help heal our individualism and control issues (2 Cor. 8:13-15; 1 Cor. 16:2; 2 Cor. 8:19-21).  However, we do not believe it is necessarily wrong or unwise to support activities outside the local church.

6.

 What is the role of leadership in giving and fund raising?  We believe the local church and its leaders have as their primary calling the proclamation and guarding of the Gospel of Grace (2 Tim. 1:14; Titus 2:15).  Giving must be consciously and carefully connected to the Gospel, especially as to motivation and practical application (2 Cor. 2 Cor. 8:9).  It must be humbly recognized that the Gospel has always moved forward through the partnership of financial support (2 Cor. 9:12-14).  In light of the church's modern history of fund raising abuse and materialistic aspirations, we must also be particularly sensitive to the wounds and offenses believers and unbelievers have witnessed and suffered (2 Cor. 8:8a, 10a).

We affirm that giving can and should be addressed regularly and should be taught from a very positive, hopeful, grace-centered perspective (2 Cor. 8:1).  We believe church leaders are accountable before God for being good stewards of the gifts given to His church (2 Cor. 8:19-21).

We believe it is God who provides and that prayer must genuinely envelope and empower the local church's approach to finances and giving (2 Cor. 9:14).  The goal of generosity must not be for the self-promotion of a particular ministry or leaders but ultimately for the worship, glory and praise of God within and outside the church (2 Cor. 9:12-15).

7.

 Why is an offering not taken during the worship service?  It has been our practice since our inception to encourage believers to worship by giving as they enter or leave the service.  We believe the New Testament offers us a good deal of freedom about the method of taking offerings.  Many of the common practices used by churches are traditions and customs that we decided were unhelpful to our particular mission.  We found that choosing not to use a typical approach allowed many people to lay aside suspicions or fears they might have about how churches use money and enabled them to focus more on the hope of the Gospel.

Offering boxes are available in various locations throughout the main floor.  You can also explore options for giving through the web site or by contacting Becky Phillips (891-2006).  Another web site that you may find helpful regarding giving is: http://www.generousgiving.org