Our Stewardship Commitment
The Bible speaks a lot about money. In fact it speaks about money and materiality more than it does about any other topic (except the Kingdom of God). Having a right view of wealth is a very big deal to God. And because God doesn’t shy away from it, neither should we. So what does he say?
First he says that our gifts should be totally free of coercion of any sort, or we should not give at all. Like everyone, I am repulsed when churches turn Christian stewardship into fundraising. When they pressure people, even subtly, to give more I want to run out screaming! Ellen and I once went to a church in Texas where the preacher had us take our wallets out and hold them up as he prayed that we would give it all. We’ve been to services where there were two collections because the first didn’t produce enough. And we’ve been victims – like you have – of pressure campaigns like “Strive to Tithe,” “Fair Share Giving,” etc.
I’ve noticed that Christ Church Anglican is different: a tribute to our rector, Chris Schutte. Even though we are a congregation that lives and breathes by the generosity of our parishioners, we believe that the essence of biblical Christianity is experiencing the love of God. Nothing else even comes close. We view money only as a means of loving God – like prayer is a means to loving God – like reading the Bible – like worshipping with your church family on Sundays. If you haven’t yet come to terms with Jesus as Lord, please don’t give another cent to this ministry until you’ve made the most important decision of your life. He wants you, not your money. This will keep us at Christ Church honest to our primary mission. God wants us, not our money, but once we’ve decided to give Jesus his rightful place, we believe that God will motivate those who love him to support the vision he gives us.
TO THIS END, WE PROMISE…
- We will give God the credit as “The Giver” of all that we have, our money as well as our time and talents.
- We will be a safe place for people to hear the good news about stewardship, free from pressure or manipulation.
- We will teach the biblical principles, that God gives us the abilities to earn money (Deut 8:17); he asks for the “first fruits” not leftovers (Lev 23:10); he wants to be Lord over 100% of all we have (Lk 21:1-4); and he sees tithing (10%) as the biblical minimum standard of giving thanks for all that God means to us (Mal 3:10).
- We ask our parishioners to give only what they can give freely and joyfully, in response to the love of Jesus Christ.
- We will budget and manage the resources entrusted to us with prayer and the utmost transparency.
- We will make detailed financial statements (and annual audits) available to any parishioner who asks.
- We will model generosity and “First-fruits Giving” in the way that we tithe (10%) of the church’s offerings to help the poor and needy, those hurting spiritually and physically.
God, you are the giver of all that we have. Don’t let us think that it is all our doing, but give us grateful hearts – hearts that spill over in love for you and your church. Through Jesus our Lord. Amen
Chuck Collins (with the CCA Finance Committee & Vestry)