Hale Methodist Church

Christian Giving

 

  Christian Giving

 

   

Introduction

 

Every day when we read our papers we seem to hear something about money. It’s really quite hard to escape the subject. In the context of the Church it is not easy to talk about our finances, we are not sure how to get the message across in simple terms about how the church balances the books.

 

Every Church community seeks to be faithful with the resources it has, both in buildings, money and most importantly people. Giving and generosity are vital issues for churches and for church members. Generous giving provides resources to enable the mission and ministry of the Church and fosters distinctive Christian lifestyles that enable others to be touched by the overflowing generosity of God. Every Christian is called to ‘give’ to further God’s Kingdom here on earth.

 

A Prayer of Thanksgiving

 

We thank you, God, for all your gifts:

for life in your wonderful world;

for space and time to enjoy your gift of life;

for talents that bring us a sense of fulfilment.

 

We thank you, God, for coming as Jesus:

to show us how much you love us;

to forgive us through the cross of Calvary;

to raise us with Christ to new life with you.

 

We thank you, God, for your Holy Spirit:

your presence to guide us day by day;

your power to support us day by day;

your assurance of your continuing love.

 

In this booklet we will explore:

Why we should give.

How we should give.

When we should give.

  

Why we should give.

 God’s Generosity and our Response

 

Any reflection on giving must start with God. God gives to us abundantly and graciously in creation and redemption, and in sustaining life, day by day. Scripture shows that God’s giving is characterised by extravagance, both for nations and for individuals. Life itself is a gift of God, part of His creation. It cannot be bought, money alone cannot extend it and being able to thank God for it is an act of faith and grace.

 

This leads on to the practicalities about how we live. In the Old Testament, the Israelites were instructed to offer a proportion of their harvest (the first fruits) in thankfulness to the Creator. It was a reminder of stewardship of the Creator’s world, and through ‘thanks-giving’, they were promised blessings; they knew Whose they were and Whom they served. A little later, in the history of Israel, the people were instructed to give 1/10th of their income - a tithe. Tithing has never been universally practised in the Christian Church, but a number of Christian traditions and many individual Christians adopt it is a pattern and testify to its influence on their faith journey.

 

We were created in such a way that we can experience fulfilment, contentment, and meaning in life only as we look beyond ourselves and soar on the wings of giving. Selfish, stingy, self-centred people miss out on life’s best blessings.

 

Why we should give.

 

Many of Jesus’ parables and, indeed, his own actions involve celebrations, meals, parties and a sharing of food, financial resources and time, especially with those who might least expect to be included. We might think of the wedding at Cana in Galilee when Jesus turns more water to wine than could possibly be consumed by the wedding guests (John 2.1-11). We might ponder the significance of the provision made for an injured stranger of a different nationality in Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10.25-37 ) or the reason why Zacchaeus is inspired by his encounter with Jesus to make fourfold reparation to any he has cheated, bringing this response from Jesus ‘Today, salvation has come to this house!’ (Luke 19.8). It is striking that the writers of the Gospels record Jesus reserving his sternest warnings for those who see the need of others and refuse to respond; the parables of Dives & Lazarus and the sheep & goats demonstrate how strongly Jesus rejects the meanness of spirit that allows some to suffer while others are cared for and well fed.

 

If someone who did not know you looked at your cheque book and credit card account, what would they assume about what was important in your life?

 

The incarnation, the cross and resurrection, and the coming of the Holy Spirit reveal to us the astonishing depths of God’s generosity toward humankind. It is the earthly life and parables of Jesus that show what this generosity looks like translated into human behaviour.

 

In the life and stories of Jesus lies the potential for a way of life that can make real God’s intention of wholeness for all. The challenge for the disciple of Jesus is to be prepared to do whatever is needed to align him or herself with ways of living and giving that release rather than obstruct the flow of God’s generosity. Doing so helps to create a social order that not only provides for the needs of all, but also  redefines abundant living from the accumulation of consumerism to the fulfilment found in Christ-centred lives.

 

 

Have you ever compared your weekly Church and charitable giving to the money you spend on newspapers and magazines, holidays, theatre or a visit to a football match?

 

 

Is your giving to “the work of God” the first priority in your spending or does it come out of your loose change?

These are serious questions about discipleship as well as about money. Giving with a thankful heart, because God loves a cheerful giver, leads to a new freedom about finance and faith. We hope that all the members of our congregation will be willing to take a step in faith in considering Christian Giving. The amount you give is entirely a matter for your personal decision but it should be:

  • Given thankfully and cheerfully
  • In proportion to your means
  • Regular and committed.

 

 

 

Why we should give.

 

A framework for Generosity

There is no shortage of biblical material on giving, with over 2,300 verses in the Bible on money, wealth and possessions. Jesus talked about it frequently, and over one-third of his parables relate to these topics. This material suggests generous giving should be:

 

a priority – assessed in relation to all of our income, and not simply the spare change after all other needs have been satisfied. (e.g. Deut 26.2-3, 1Cor 16.2, 2Cor 8.5)

 

prayerful – an act of worship and thanksgiving. (e.g. 1Chron 29.10-14)

 

planned – but not prescriptive, and allowing spontaneous generosity. (e.g. 2Cor 9.7)

 

proportionate – a realistic proportion of our income. (e.g. 1Cor 16.2, 2Cor 8.11-13)

 

given in community – both for the needs of others, and given with others for a common purpose. (e.g. Acts 2.42-47, 2Cor 8.13,14). The act of giving shifts our focus from individual wants to a communal need, demonstrating solidarity with the poor and a commitment to working together in mission.

 

sacrificial – in that there is a cost to our giving. As a result, we will have less to spend on ourselves, and our lifestyles will reflect this. Those who have more to give, will give more. (e.g. Luke 21.1-4, 2Cor 8.2-4)

 

cheerfully and joyfully given – whether giving of money, time or hospitality, we give with grace from the heart, as an offering to God. (e.g. 2 Cor 9.7,8)

 

 

The scope of Christian giving is not just financial giving but how we use the money, time, talents and possessions God has entrusted to us. Generous giving should become second nature to us, and as it becomes so, our living and our giving are transformed to start to resemble the overflowing generosity of God. This is Giving for Life.

 

 

 

How we should give.

 

There are several different ways you can contribute to the life of the Church by your gifts of money.

 

Cash….each week when the Offering Plate is passed round there is an opportunity to give.

 

Weekly envelopes…we can provide each person with an individual pack of envelopes which allow for gifts of money to be given each week, this encourages regular amounts to be given.

 

Standing Order…this is a very beneficial way for the Church to receive the money that is given. It goes from your bank account directly into the Church account at a time in the month that suits you, but because it’s a Standing Order and not a Direct Debit, the giver always has ‘control’ over the money and not the Church! (Application form enclosed in this booklet)

 

Gift Aid… To give under Gift Aid, you must pay in the tax year an amount of

Income Tax and/or tax on your dividends, savings or Capital Gains at least equal to the amount that all charities/churches to which you give will reclaim for the tax year (25p for each £1 given). Other taxes such as Council Tax and VAT do not qualify. (Gift Aid form enclosed in this booklet)

 

Donations…very often in the life of the Church there will be a Gift Day, or a reason for the Church to need donations, these can be given directly and at any time, and Gift Aid tax recovery would apply if you were a UK taxpayer.

 

Leaving a Legacy…Making a will is the only certain way of ensuring that a person's estate is administered in accordance with their wishes. As circumstances change, it is necessary to review the terms of a will to reflect the current circumstances and wishes of the benefactor.
Whilst it is possible to make a will using a pre-printed form, it is wiser to consult a solicitor who will help draft the details and guide the choice of the executors. It is worthwhile to do some careful thinking and planning before visiting a solicitor.

In making a will, members and friends of the Methodist Church will want to consider a bequest to the Church. Such gifts may be for the local church, or for a particular purpose or alternatively, for one of the national Funds of Methodism supporting work done in the name of the whole Church.

 

When we should give.

 

Weekly in the offering plate.

 

Monthly by standing order.

 

When moved by God’s Spirit.

 

You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

2Cor 9:11

 

Where does my Gift of money go?

 

Our giving sustains..
our church building - it is a sacred place dedicated to worship, prayer and witness.

Our giving sustains..
Our Ministry Team, including ordained staff and a Children’s & Family Worker and a Youth Worker,

every activity that happens every day and evening.

Our giving sustains..
mission and ministry; by every person who is visited, every school assembly taken, every bereaved family comforted, every baptism celebrated, every sermon preached, every Communion celebrated, and every person shown the love of Christ through our care, comfort and compassion.

Our giving sustains..
mission both here in this local area, and overseas for people we will never meet but to whom we are able to give practical support through our ministry of giving.

 

AND SO MUCH MORE!

 

 

This is the time to review your Giving!

 

Now that we have explained why, how and when we should give, one more question remains.

 

Is it time to review your Giving to the Church? With so many demands on our time and money it is very easy to leave things just as they are or simply overlook the issues of giving.

 

You are asked prayerfully to consider your own personal journey of faith, your relationship with God and your commitment to the local Church. Alongside that we would invite you to pray about your response to Christian Giving.

 

 

 

Is our giving a clear sign of our love for God and

our commitment to Christ and the Church?

 

And Finally……

 

The Church is ALWAYS Asking For Money.

 

Frequently we hear these words as an accusation against the church. On the contrary, in fact, those words can be a very high compliment! I'm glad my church needs money. If it didn't, it would mean it wasn't interested in spreading the Good News and had no hope. I'm glad my church needs money. If it didn't, it would mean it wasn't interested in teaching children, in inviting in those who do not have a faith community, of welcoming new folk and thus had no future!

 

Yes! I'm glad my church needs money!! The fact that it does need money means it has not forfeited its zeal, compassion, concern, evangelism and future. The vision is still there searching for the places God is calling us forward to be.

 

My church needs MY gifts and I'm glad. I wouldn't want to be a member of any other kind. Let's respond generously, and pray fervently that our gifts may be used wisely and well in the furtherance of the Love, Peace, Joy and Justice of Jesus.