Church and money unfortunately have not always had a good history, many times because of how the church has handled money. We believe generosity is an attribute of the Christian life and something the Lord desires us to grow in. In order to ensure we as a church reflect what we see in scripture, we have developed 5 statements that help guide us and how we teach on generosity.
God’s vision is worth our investment.
We believe that God’s vision of filling the earth with his glory is worth our investment! This allows us to invest in something eternal that will last forever. If we’re not willing to put our money where our mouth is, then maybe our heart isn’t where we say it is. God created us to make an eternal impact, so we should use what we have to accomplish His purpose. Hab. 2:14
Giving our first, grows our faith.
We believe what gets our first and our best determines the rest. We don't want to give God our leftovers or feel like our giving is an after thought. Trusting God with our first requires us to trust him with the rest. This discipline grows us in being dependent on God and not ourselves.
Everything I have, is God’s to give.
The reality of it is that everything we have is already God's (Psalm 24:1-2)! When we give, we are giving him what is already His. We are just managers of God's stuff, but everything we have is to be used for his purposes. It is also important for us to seek God's leading in what to give since it is His to begin with. (1 Corinthians 16:1-2).
We give because God gave.
God gave us the greatest gift we ever could have received in Jesus! All of our blessings come from God and our giving is a response to what He has done for us. We see that the character of generosity best displayed in God and Jesus, therefore, as Christians we respond by doing the same. (2 Corinthians 9:7)
Our giving is spirit led, not law driven.
So what about the tithe? There are different beliefs on the subject of whether the tithe was just a requirement in the Old Testament, or if it is still required in the New Testament. We believe that our giving should come from the overflow of our heart, not because we are “required” to do so. We desire each person to seek the Lord on what they are to give. We see in the book of Acts that generosity was often times the catalyst that moved the gospel forward. We see the disciples giving generously to those in need, supporting the poor and the suffering in the body of Christ, and giving generously to support those who labored in preaching, teaching, and discipleship (Acts 11, I Corinthians 9, Luke 10:7, I Timothy 5:3-16).
If our giving comes from a place of “have to” instead of “get to,” we have missed the entire point!
WHY IS GIVING SO IMPORTANT?
We recognize that Jesus talked more about giving than the subjects of heaven, hell, or prayer. In Matthew 6:21,24 Jesus says, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also…No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money." Giving is God's way of ensuring that there is never a string that leads from hearts to our wallets.
WHAT IS THE TITHE, AND AM I REQUIRED TO DO IT?
When we read the word“Tithe” it means “tenth” or 10 percent. Throughout the Old Testament we see the Israelites commanded to give a tithe of everything from the land, as well as times of giving money and other goods (when you total all of the offerings up, it actually would have totaled over 20%). We believe this was something the Lord required as a way to grow them in their faith and trust that He would be their provider. We see that the law was given for the good of the Israelites, not to hurt them.
So today the question is if the Tithe was upheld as a requirement in the New Testament. There are biblical scholars who could argue both sides of this debate. At Connection, one of our core value giving statements is, "Our giving is spirit led, not law driven." If our giving comes from a place of, "How much do I have/need to give?" or if it is viewed as, "Is God unhappy with me because I am not able to give 10%?" then we are missing the heart of Jesus. The entire bible is clear that we are to be generous people as Christ followers, and that we should seek God on we are to do that well. The tithe should not be the floor and it should not be the ceiling when it comes to our generosity.
HOW DO I EXCEL IN GIVING?
The apostle Paul spoke to the new churches about giving. In 1 Corinthians 16:1-2, Paul admonishes the Corinthian church, “Now about the collection for God's people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.” He prompted the believers to be generous. 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 says, “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” And in 2 Corinthians 8:7 he encourages, “But just as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.”
DOES CONNECTION HAVE A BUDGET?
Yes. Connection’s budget is set every Summer for the following fiscal year of August 1st to July 31st based on the goals and objectives of each ministry area within the church.
DOES CONNECTION HAVE A REPORT SHOWING WHERE ALL THE MONEY GOES?
Yes. We are always willing to be transparent, so if you are ever interested in seeing a report, stop by our office and we can sit down with you and answer any questions.
DOES CONNECTION SEND CONTRIBUTION NOTICES TO ITS GIVERS?
Yes. Contribution notices are available at the beginning of the year. If you have not received a notice, but have given an offering, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org