Why do we give?
God is the Creator of all that is in the earth, including your finances. (The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains.” Psalm 24:1) We are to be good stewards of what He has given to us. The money we have is a blessing from God and it all belongs to Him. How we utilize our money is a reflection of our heart toward God.
Each of us should examine ourselves and our attitude toward money – why we have it, how we spend it, whose it is, how to use it to the glory of God. To do this, we must seek after God and ask Him to direct us in how much of our income we are to give to our church, other people, other ministries and the work He is doing.
what does the refuge believe about tithing & GIVING?
The subject of giving or tithing is many times the "white elephant" in the room. Everyone is aware of it, but no one really knows how to approach the subject. It's a tough subject because people want to know what the Bible teaches about giving, how much they should give, and how the church uses their money. Hopefully, you will find answers to your questions here. If not, please ask one of our elders. They are more than happy to further walk with you through this subject.
We believe in being good stewards of what God has given us. We also believe in being cheerful and giving with those resources. God wants us to be faithful, no matter how little or how much we have. The New Testament teaches over and over about being faithful with what you have been given.
2 Corinthians 8-9 shows us seven principles on generous giving:
1. Generous giving is sacrificial
2. Generous giving is something that only some people are spiritually gifted for, others must be taught stewardship
3. Generous giving is a gospel issue
4. Generous giving encourages churches to share with other churches and ministries in need
5. Generous giving is about sowing and reaping
6. Generous giving is one of the many evidences that someone is truly a Christian
7. Generous giving promotes the worship of Jesus as God
Tithe literally means "tenth". In the Old Testament, the tithe referred to God's people giving the first 10 percent of their gross income to fund the Levite priests' ministry (Numbers 18:21-29; 27:30). In addition to that, there were other tithes and offerings required of God's people, including 10 percent paid for festivals and celebrations (Deuteronomy 12:10-11, 17-18; 14:22-27), 3 percent to help the poor (Deuteronomy 14:28-29), and other occasional additional tithes above and beyond regular giving (Nehemiah 10:32-33).
In the New Testament, financial giving among God's people focuses on grace, generosity, and the heart, and not actual percentages of one's income. The word "tithe" is rarely used in the New Testament, and when it is, it is usually mentioned negatively in rebuking religious types such as the Pharisees who gave their money to God but not their hearts and lives.
all we give is his
It cannot be overstated that when we give to theRefuge Church, we are not deciding how much of our wealth to give; rather, we are determining how much of God's wealth to keep for our own uses. In 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 Paul instructs "Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also. On the first day of every week let each one of you put aside and save, as he may prosper, that no collections be made when I come." Paul is instructing the church to give proportionately as they have prospered. In other words, as you have means to give, give in proportion to those means.
The New Testament texts teach us that God leaves the amount of our giving up to us! We should give proportionate to our means and how God has prospered us, but in the end, we are free to give whatever we want to give. How freeing! No more manipulation!
What if I'm in debt?
Our financial resources belong to God, not anyone else, including creditors. However, in Proverbs 22:1, God instructs us to maintain a good witness. Therefore, we must maintain the vow we made to our creditors. If debts are made, then debts must be paid. Psalm 37:21 says, “The wicked borrows and does not repay, but the righteous is gracious and gives.”
In the case of giving while in debt, your regular, ongoing giving may be paid with money not already pledged to creditors but available to disperse at our will. However, we would say that this is only true if the vow to the creditor was made before making a pledge to give to the church. Be wise as you manage the monies that God has entrusted to you.
Again, God is looking for the right attitude in our giving. We are to be willing to give back to the work that God the Spirit has called us to and with portion of what He has entrusted to us. We are to be looking for ways to give rather than ways not to give. Those in debt may still be able to give, just in a smaller amount, and remain faithful to that commitment. Their giving can increase as God leads and provides.
why is it important to give to the church vs. another non-profit?
Giving to other non-profits is a great thing! That said, we believe Christians are called first to give to the local church that proclaims the gospel in the local community. Jesus promised, "I will build my church" (Matthew 16:18). Jesus came to start, build, and head the Church. Once we are born again into the family of God and become part of his body, he invites us to join him as he continues his evangelistic plan for the world - namely, the Church. In the same way that Jesus gave himself and sacrificed for us, we are to give ourselves to the church and to others. This includes service and generosity - so that local churches can grow, but also so that more churches can be planted, more people reached, and more nations changed by the gospel of Jesus Christ.
At theRefuge, we are committed to making disciples and planting churches. We have seen many people meet Jesus in the past few years. A lot of what we have done couldn't have been accomplished without Jesus working through generous people who love his mission.
When you give to theRefuge Church, it goes to churches being planted, pastors' and leaders salaries, Bibles given away and sermons given away for free. In addition, we have various outreach events as well as Gospel Community groups to help people work through sin and suffering in their lives. We just purchased our building and share it with multiple ministries, many of whom are just getting on their feet. There is a lot we do, and it takes money to accomplish what God has called us to.
So while giving to para-church ministries and nonprofits is a good thing, as a church, we believe this should be done above and beyond regular and cheerful giving toward your local church.
this is a long section about money...
Yes. It. Is.
Jesus devoted roughly 25 percent of his words in the Gospels to the resources God has entrusted to our stewardship. This includes some 28 passages in the Gospel. In the Old and New Testaments combined, there are over 800 verses on the subject, addressing topics ranging from planning and budgeting, to saving and investing, to debt and giving. Furthermore, money and wealth and possessions are among the greatest idols in our culture, and there is simply no way to be a disciple of Jesus apart from learning to worship God with stewardship.
Jesus stressed that we either worship our wealth, or we worship with our wealth. In Matthew 6:24 he said, "No one can serve two masters, for 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 God and money."
Giving a generous portion of your income and your regular, pledged giving should be an outward expression of your spiritual commitment to the Lord - or better said, and understanding of His commitment to you! Our hearts are to be willing and obedient.
We may make a commitment to give, promising a certain amount of money with the acknowledgment that it is based on faith. We may also give non-cash donations, which include time, services, food, furniture and clothing. Gifts with appreciated values may also be given, such as stocks, bonds, real estate, etc. However, it is not scriptural to borrow money in order to give. Borrowing money requires little trust. Sacrificial giving should be a result of the proper heart attitude and not used as a means to impress others with our giving.
a final note on your church accountability with your giving
Your church elders and staff know and take to heart the fact that we are ultimately accountable to Jesus for stewarding the resources with which we are entrusted. Knowing that we are trusted by our Church Family is significant to each of us and we strive to ensure that every decision we make will serve Jesus' church well into the future.
Information compiled from theRefuge Church Elder Team, The Village Church, Mars Hill Church, and Crown Ministries.