By Pastor Brian Wipf
We are beginning to put together the 2019 budget for your approval at the annual meeting in January. As we normally do, we will do our best to implement both wisdom and faith. With so much new this year, allow me to run through a host of factors that, I believe, God would all have us think about as we implement this spiritual practice from the most important to (maybe) the most practical.
Why give? It should always start here. We need to know why we’re doing something. God makes it clear in his word:
Giving all of ourselves to God is the essence of our worship (Rom 12:1). We are to hold nothing back for ourselves as our own. Since money has a particular way of becoming our desire and affection (Mt 6:24-25; 1 Tim 6:9-10), giving the money which God has entrusted to us is a particularly important way we honor God and give our allegiance to him.
How should we give? Three principles from scripture come to mind.
- Joyfully – God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9:7). When we give joyfully it’s an expression of delight and worship to God. Joyful giving may be the clearest indication that our giving is an act of worship.
- Generously – Paul used the Macedonian church as an example for the Corinthians and they gave “according to their means” and “beyond…” (2 Cor. 8:3). In fact, in the very next verse Paul says the Macedonians begged to give more. What an inspiring example! Honestly, I use that example myself as I process my giving: I wonder to myself, “Could I give more?” and I make that my aim.
- Consistently – In 1 Cor. 16, Paul instructs the Corinthians to lay aside their gifts on a weekly basis. More importantly than the weekly example is their consistency in giving. Regularly giving is a way we can be regularly reminded of our commitment to God. Another way of thinking about that is planning or preparing to give. In 2 Corinthians, Paul even suggests that the planned gift is the willing gift (2 Cor 9:5). Sometimes we think the spontaneous gift is the most “worshipful.” Not so. Do you know why? Because the planned gift is carefully vetted and analyzed to be right; the hasty gift is motivated by the emotions in the moment and there’s much more potential for regret (i.e. not joyful).
Why give to church? There are a lot of good causes and organizations to give to. I believe God is pleased when we give our best to the local church for a couple of reasons. First of all, belonging to a church family is essentially a familial partnership. The brothers and sisters you worship with week after week are the people God has called you into to share the passion and calling of gospel ministry. We are in this together. To give to your local church along with your brothers and sisters fulfills and expresses these family ties in Christ.
Secondly, God primarily accomplishes his work through local churches. The church is the very bride of Christ; Jesus Christ’s very own appointed missions agency. And he has placed us, FBC, in Taylor County… to reach Taylor County. If we don’t do it (along with other Gospel-preaching, Bible believing churches), who else will? Giving our best (money, time, talents, resources) to FBC primarily for the sake of Gospel ministry to Taylor County is our primary calling. When we give our best to our local church we are giving our best to reach Taylor County.
Giving Envelopes – Every year, we pass out giving envelopes to those who regularly give to FBC or to those who ask for them. This year will be no different. To save money, we purchased different envelopes this year; we hope they serve you well. We pass out giving envelopes in your church mailboxes or the church office; you should find them in the next few weeks. Make sure you pick some up if you’d like them.
Why do we use giving envelopes? From the churches perspective, giving envelopes helps our bookkeeping. You don’t have to use them, but using them helps our bookkeepers process the info more easily so they can provide you with your giving history at the end of the year.
Automatic Withdrawals – Some give automatically to FBC. We can make that possible for you. If you’d like information on how to give automatically, please contact the church office. We are putting together information on a single sheet of paper that will help you take the appropriate steps.
RB+1 – We are about half way through our 4th year of our Reaching Beyond campaign, which is our attempt to give specifically to the cost of our new facility. Be amazed once again, FBC! God provided through us approximately $4M of a near $5M campaign not counting the cost of the land, which was generously donated to us. Isn’t it amazing that we only borrowed $1M? We were able to honor our biblical convictions of not going into substantial debt while aiming to pay for this new facility ourselves and not passing on debt to the next generation. If you gave to RB, thank you and I praise God for you. If you are giving to RB+1 (the 4th year), thank you and I praise God for you, too. If you’d like to give because you believe in what’s happening, let us know and we’ll be happy to assist you.
Conclusion – As you may have noticed, we are a little behind again this year. We’d love to finish the year in the black; that would be a great way to honor God as we close out 2018. As you prayerfully consider how God is calling you to worship him through giving, I hope these words can be of some help to you.
Want to hear more? Listen to Pastor Brian’s sermon – Wisdom to Live By: Money