The Visit

The Visit

I visited a church in Orlando last night! The Pastor is a friend of mine and yesterday was his first day at the church. He did an amazing job! The music was good. The people were nice. The church was huge! It had a parking garage under the building. The auditorium was on the third four. It was beautiful. Not only was it the Lead Pastor’s first Sunday, but also the Executive Pastor was brand new. The woman that led worship was the assistant worship leader. The Youth Pastor was there also. WOW, how many people work at this church. The website lists 17 people! How do the pay for all of this?

Pastor’s ask those kinds of questions. When I arrived, I slipped in and sat near the back. The evening service was held in a chapel, not the main sanctuary. I did not count but I’d guess I was one of 100 people. By the time the offering plate got to me, I was stunned, there was nothing in it! Not a little bit, I mean not one thing, I could see the read velvet bottom of that plate. Maybe the people gave online, or once a month, or every other week? But every one of them? Again, I thought, how do they pay for all of this?

Most church folks never think about that question? Without committed giving churches cannot survive! I ran across an interesting article that states:

The average giving by adults who attend US Protestant churches is about $17 a week. 37% of regular church attendees and Evangelicals don’t give money to church. 17% of American families have reduced the amount that they give to their local church. 7% of church goers have dropped regular giving by 20% or more. Christians are giving at 2.5% of income; during the Great Depression it was 3.3%.

In 2 Corinthians 9:7 Paul says:

Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

There is a lot of disagreement about giving, tithing and offerings. Sometimes I wonder if the disagreements are because we think God’s Word is confusing on the subject or if we just don’t like thinking about it. There is one thing that is for sure, God calls each of His children to decide in his or her heart what to give and He will ask us one day to give an account for how we have lived and used the resources He has blessed us with.

As I sat there last night, I had a few thoughts. Is our giving a decision of the heart? Do we give with reluctance or under compulsion or is our giving a reflection of our love for Christ and desire to support His ministry through FreshStart Church? Do we give only when attending church, like a “pay to worship” gift, or do we regularly contribute to the life and ministry of the church? Do we believe that the volunteering of time takes the place of giving financially? These are tough questions, uncomfortable questions, but questions that are a reality for every church.

Wrestle with these truths today! I am praying for you; hope we can talk tomorrow!