It is not often that, as your pastor, I ask you to do a specific thing with the expectation that God will prompt you to respond in a way that honors him, emboldens our people, undergirds our mission, and alters the way we feel about our calling and our capacity to give. This is one of those. After much prayer, reflection, and conversations with our leadership, I am asking you to mark November 19th and 26th as “Thanks & Giving” Sundays. In short, I am asking that on the weeks that surround Thanksgiving our people reach deep and bring forth an offering that rises far and beyond our expectations. The need is there. But so is the capacity, and I believe, the will. On these weeks, I am asking you to respond as God leads with your giving, but let me offer some specific encouragements:
- If you are a regular tither to the ministry of FBC, God bless you and may your tribe increase. On these days, continue with what you normally do and ask God if He might lead you to do some more.
- If you are not a giver, or a giver who has yet to experience the freeing power of tithing – giving 10% or more to the work of the local church – take a leap of faith and try it. You may find that it stretches you a bit, financially and spiritually, but you will find a special joy in doing what the Lord asks of all his followers. As I preached a few weeks ago, I would much rather trust God to take care of my needs on 90% of what he has entrusted to it than go it alone with the full measure. My obedience and his blessing are things I am unwilling to part with. If this is not your practice, use these two weeks as a time to experience what it feels like to put God first with your finances and trust him with the rest.
- Lastly, if you are one of those whose God’s provisions for your life is greater than your regular needs, ask God how he might want you reach in and give from the whatever abundance he has provided you. For the followers of Christ, it is all his anyway. We are not owners, but stewards. I promise you it will feel good personally and congregationaly to witness such giving on the week set aside to “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.”
Know this – we are not asking you to personally do something we are not willing to model collectively. For all undesignated funds given on the 19th and 26th, FBC will double our normal amount given to missions! We want to be corporately more generous as we set aside twice the funds reserved for blessing folks beyond our walls. These gifts will make their way into our community and around the world, touching them with love through the cause of Christ. We trust God to bless these efforts and help us meet our local needs on what is left. I believe that the church that asks its people to trust God enough to tithe should do the same. And we will.
You have so much, so much to be thankful for. I know I do. In response to his blessings and our ministry’s need, I look forward to reaching deeper as I ask you to do the same. I cannot wait to see what God does through all of us as we experience the joy of giving and trusting, being faithful and generous. I am proud to be your pastor. Prouder still to be, along with you, part of the emerging ministries God has called us to in this place and time.