I’ve talked to plenty of people who felt that the church talks too much about money. I know most pastors avoid the subject because it’s uncomfortable. And I know other people who wish the church would challenge them and give them more opportunities in the area of giving. It all depends on your perspective on the role of generosity in the life of a Jesus follower.
I believe that generosity is the natural byproduct of having experienced the saving, life-changing grace of God first hand. Wherever God’s grace has been at work, generosity will grow out of it.
Let me start with three disclaimers…
First, if you’re not a follower of Jesus, you’re off the hook! You’re not under any obligation to give anything back to God if you don’t currently recognize God as the Creator and Provider of all of your resources. So I’m not writing this to non-Christians or those who don’t yet have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Second, if you’re a Christian but you’re not committed to Grace Hills Church, then we don’t want you to feel any expectation whatsoever to give to Grace Hills. You should give to the church where you worship, unless God has led you to give above and beyond that amount elsewhere in the kingdom. A Christian without a church is an orphan. If that’s you, we would love to adopt you! But as a follower of Jesus, find one of his truth-teaching, grace-filled churches and go “all in.”
And third, if you follow Jesus AND you are committed to Grace Hills, you’re still off the hook. By that, I mean, we don’t take pledges. We don’t bill people. We don’t come to collect anything from anyone. We want you to want to give for the right reasons, not the wrong reasons.
In other words, we care about you, not your money and we don’t want things from you, we want blessings and a growing faith for you! And as I often say, God doesn’t need your money, but he knows you need to grow in generosity.
What We Believe About Giving
We believe and teach some things about giving that might be refreshing, especially if you’ve thought of giving only as a subject that involves emotional pressure. For example:
- We believe you should NOT give out of guilt.
- We believe you should NOT give under pressure.
- We believe you should NOT give because of what others think.
- We believe you should NOT give to get rich in return (financially, that is).
- We believe you should give freely, because you can give and not because you have to give.
- We believe you should recognize that ALL that you have is a gift and that it’s really just “on loan” while you manage it for God during this earthly life.
- We believe you should plan your giving in advance rather than giving spontaneously, unless you know God is prompting you to do so.
- We believe you should give as an act of worship to God, not to please other people, knowing that we become more generous as we give, not as we receive.
- We believe you should give in proportion to your income and wealth, not in comparison to other givers.
- We believe you should give to produce fruit, knowing that you’re supporting ministry and missions and that lives are being changed by the gospel as a result. (See our annual report here, by the way.)
- We believe you should give as an investment in eternity, knowing that the souls of people who are saved and changed will last forever. Where your treasure is, there your heart – your attention and affection – will be as well.
- We believe you should give wisely and live within your means using the 10-10-80 principle: give 10% away, save 10%, and live on less than 80%.
- We believe you should increase your giving incrementally. The tithe (literally, “tenth”) is a biblical standard that gives us a good starting point, but some people start at 1%, 5%, or 10% and then increase by another percent per year.
- We believe you should give in faith, trusting that God is going to provide for your needs, so that your faith stretches and grows even bigger than before.
And we also believe there may be seasons when, through no fault of your own, you’re unable to give what you wish you could give and that God knows exactly where you are and shows you grace. That’s not an excuse to manage money poorly. Rather, it’s an encouragement that God loves you just as much whether you can give anything financially to him right now or not.
Your worth to God is never based on your net worth in financial terms. Jesus made it clear that the penny offered by the poor widow was far more precious and sacrificial than the millions donated by the wealthy.
How to Grow In the Grace of Giving
You might be a Christian who hasn’t really given much thought to financially giving to your local church, or maybe you’re giving some, but not as much as you’d like. How do you grow in the grace of giving? Here are some tips:
- Get healthy financially. Work on a plan to get out of debt, to take control of your budget, and to get started giving. Dave Ramsey can definitely help!
- Plan to tithe to the church you attend. Figure up what 10% of your income is and determine a plan to work toward it, increasing a percent or two at a time and watch your giving, your faith, and your generosity grow.
- Practice generosity with more than just your money, and more often than just on Sunday. Find ways to bless other people daily in your family, your workplace, and wherever life takes you.
- Give some of your time and talent, too. The world needs what God has given you!
Again, let me remind you, if you aren’t a follower of Jesus, you’re off the hook. If you’re a Christian, you should practice giving wherever you worship. And if you’re part of Grace Hills – you worship with us regularly and consider us your church home – we’ve made it as easy and secure as possible for you to give.