THIS WEEK'S QUESTION IS THIS:
"What does The Shepherd's Church believe about giving and why do we not take an offering during service?"
ANSWER:The Shepherd's Church believes that giving is a Biblical discipline that all followers of Christ are called to participate in. The principles of giving are laid out in the Bible and include many kinds of giving. For instance, the faithful are called to give for the building up of their neighbors and community (Pr. 28:27; Jas. 1:27; Dt. 26:12); as well as to support God's servants working in vocational ministry (1 Tim. 5:17-18). The Bible also talks about the reasons why we give, such as obedience to God (2 Cor. 9:7); gratitude to God (1 Chr. 29:14); and love for others (1 Jn. 3:17). But it also challenges our motives so that we do not give out of duty, but cheerfully (2 Cor. 9:7); with humility (Mt. 6:1-4); with regularity (1 Cor. 16:2); and with generosity (1 Tim. 6:18).
If you had to give a summary of the Biblical teaching on giving, Christians are called to live cheerfully generous. This is not a committed percentage of our income, it is not legalistic, but a cheerful disposition to say all that we have is from the Lord and for the Lord and He can direct it wherever, however, and whatever amount He sees fit. When we clench our resources with closed minds and white-knuckled hands, we attempt to assume ownership of something that really is not ours, but was given to us by God for us to steward (James 1:17).
This heart level mindset is made really clear in 2 Corinthians 9, where Paul says:
Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; as it is written,
These verses, in fact, are the reason why The Shepherd's Church does not take a public offering or pass around a plate.
1) Because the person is supposed to think through and decide in their hearts what they are called by God to give. Christians should not be put into a situation where they have to fumble around with their wallets and purses during service, scrambling for a 20, when a thoughtful, prayerful, and meaningful decision can be made at home. Without all of the pressure that comes along with passing a plate.
2) It says a person is not to give begrudgingly or under compulsion. Well, I will just be honest with you, when a wonderful saint of God hands me a plate, smiles and me, and waits to see what I am going to do with it, I do not feel particularly cheerful. When a pastor preaches a sermon on giving every single week (even when the text is not on money), I do not feel like I am executing what was purposed in my heart. I feel compelled. I feel the spiritual pressure whether that was intended to be communicated or not.
Now, I am sure many people love and adore this manner of giving and collecting in the church, but I believe allowing there is a better way. Instead, why not allow people to determine in their hearts what the Lord might have them cheerfully give, and then give them the freedom to make that decision in a pressure-free environment.
Ultimately, a church that trusts the Lord with its finances will not create cultures of pressure. They will simply offer the opportunity, whatever that looks like in their context, and they will trust the Lord with the results.
In our context, giving is done online. If you want to give to the ministry, check out the tab on our website.
If you want to ask a question for next week, send those to Kendall