Two years ago in January our offerings were tanking. For some reason January giving seems to always drop. My unscientific analysis tells me that this happens when the credit card bills come due, people realize how much they overspent for Christmas and temporarily cut back their giving.
Two years ago I woke up in the middle of the night almost in a panic about our financial picture. As I wrestled with what to do, I felt God challenge my worry with this thought. “Charles do you believe I will take care of your church? In this time of need, why not challenge the church to give more?”
I couldn’t believe what I was sensing. I argued with God and pled, “God, we don’t need to GIVE more, we need to GET more.” Well, my arguing, like Job’s, didn’t convince God otherwise. So over the next several days I crafted a plan to challenge the church to become more generous.
In doing so I made up the word ‘titherosity’ by combining the word ‘tithe’ with the word ‘generosity.’ Here was our plan. We would act upon the principle from Scripture that states, “Give and it will be given to you.” (Luke 6.38) For four straight weeks we would give away 10% of each Sunday’s offering to a specific missional need outside our church.
It didn’t seem prundent since we were in such dire financial straits. My emotions said it was a dumb idea, but faith said it was the right idea. So, for those next four Sundays we put a compassionate face on this 10% by committing to give all of the 10% to a Christian organization called Feed My Starving Children that feeds hundreds of thousands of kids each year.
We held our breath, prayed, communicated effectively and our offerings for those four weeks jumped 40%. We couldn’t believe it. I guess the Bible really is true, huh?
Since then we have done this four other times with percentages of 15% and 25%. Each time the church’s giving has skyrocketed.
In the subsequent titherosity offerings, we’ve given to such needs as the local food bank, relief for victims of floods in Iowa, and most recently relief help for a Christian organization in Haiti called Love a Child.
Here’s the key: we tie the special giving to a specific ministry need upon which we put a face of compassion in the name of Christ.
It has been quite remarkable how God has used this step of faith in the hearts of our people. Even after we took that percentage off the top, we still have met and exceeded our weekly budget needs.
What has your church done to stretch your church’s generosity?
A great resource for pastors on increasing generosity is an organization called Generous Giving.