Four Ways to set the giving standard in your church
By Stan Toler
Who is the most important tither in your church? The answer is simple: You are. Your leadership includes the offering plate as well as the office chair. Granted, I am probably preaching to the choir. Your name is probably on the giving honor roll. But there are some things that you can do—by example—to raise the tithing awareness bar in your church.
Tithe openly. As many pastors, I was usually the first to add a tithing envelope (with a check enclosed!) to the offering plate. Even before the offertory prayer, I made sure that an usher headed for the platform to receive my tithe check. The exercise wasn’t one of braggadocio; it was an indirect way to teach the importance of tithing. I wouldn’t have the courage to preach a stewardship series without letting the congregation know that I’m on the “tithing team.”
Taking the obvious lead in tithing will not only influence your congregation, it will impact your leadership team—including the treasurer—and your family members. Let people know about your commitment to the principle of tithing by tithing.
Tithe generously. If you preach that giving the tenth is just the beginning; then make sure the “extra” shows up on your own giving records. For example, if you’re in a building project, among the first donations should be yours. A congregation isn’t convinced of a project priority until the “construction supervisor” (you) is willing to take the contribution lead: “I believe in this project so much that my family and I want to be the first to give . . . .”
Tithe graciously. You’ve taught the resource for stewardship—God’s blessing—so practice it privately as well. You must be convinced that the “open windows” of blessing are installed in the “storehouse” of giving.” There will be times when you think you might have to take out a loan to buy a jar of mayonnaise, but God also does mayonnaise. His promises aren’t just for those you teach, they also include the teacher. His grace is sufficient for your financial needs as well as for your spiritual.
Tithe obediently. If God will guide you in making wise administrative or ministry choices, He will guide you in making giving choices. Surely you will want to spend time in prayer about your giving, as well as spending time in prayer about your ministering. In fact, your giving is an integral part of your ministering.
Listen for God’s financial advice. It’s more important than your stockbroker’s advice. The Holy Spirit is faithful to lead you along the path of God’s best for your personal life. He may have a giving vista that is beyond your imagination—and one that may include blessing beyond your imagination. Be a visionary giver, as well as a visionary administrator.
Copyright © 2012 by Stan A. Toler
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