Many people who come to Covenant Grove have never given to a church before. So where do you start? First, remember the teachings of Jesus on money (He taught more on giving than anything else, really). He told us “wherever your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matt 6:21) Start by realizing that your heart is affected by the money you have, and where you spend it and give it. To grow your heart closer to Christ, give to His work.
Start by giving something – even if it is only $1 – on a regular basis. This will grow the habit of giving in your life. Your giving should be financial gifts, but also worship (yep, sing it out!), helping in ministry, and time every day with God. This starts you on the path towards God, and growing to generosity. This will move your heart (Matt 6:21) and remind you that it all belongs to God (Psalm 24:1). As you grow, don’t forget to tell others about what He is doing in your life!
The next step is to start giving a PERCENTAGE of all God has given you. This is when we take out our budgets (or maybe you are going to make one!) and really plan on giving generously to God's work. Jesus teaches us to "store up our treasures in heaven", not on earth, and to "seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and God will give you everything you need." (Matt 6:19-20, 33). We give to empower the work of God in the church and the world - and in our lives. This also allows us to support those who are leading us (1 Timothy 5:17-18). This level of giving means we will give up some of what we want in order to bless others and be obedient - our hearts are changing. This is the type of giving we need to train our children in, too. As we let go of our finances we learn to trust God more, and His work does more in us and in others.
10% – Many have heard that God called people to give 10 percent of their income (the “tithe”; Malachi 3:8-10). In the New Testament, there is no mention of the tithe – but in fact the Christians were giving MORE than 10%! (See Acts 2:45; 4:32) At Covenant Grove, we believe 10% is a great goal and standard to set for giving. It is a commitment we make to be faithful to God, even when it is hard. If you are not already giving 10% (or more), make a goal to grow your giving by 1-2% a year until you have reached at least 10%. This will cause you to rethink your spending and your debt, and you may even need financial advice (which we can help with!). This is obedient giving, and it changes your heart in new ways as you give even when it is hard, and see God work even when things are tight. Your heart prioritizes differently as you choose God’s work over things you want. You grow to realize that God is the treasure of life (see Genesis 14:17-15:1). God challenges us to give at least 10% so that we can grow closer to Him and make a difference. (And just so you know, Covenant Grove gives 10% of our offerings to global missions and church planting – yep, your church is giving 10%, too!)
The last step in giving is where generosity is truly unleashed, and followers of Christ use the gifts God has given them to leave a legacy for God. This is where people will give above and beyond 10% of their giving. This is where generosity is planned – giving part of a raise or bonus, supporting missionaries or kids going to camp, or giving to a capital campaign. Barnabas sold a field that he owned and gave it to those in need (Acts 4:36-37), David gave out of his own account for the Temple (1 Chronicles 29:3-5; literally “tons” of gold and silver) and the church in Philippi repeatedly gave above and beyond to support the church planting mission work of Paul (Philippians 4:15). This is the level where people give in amazing ways and their generosity does amazing things.
The giving on this level is sacrificial, and is on top of the 10% that is given to the local church. Growing to this level takes financial wisdom and a desire to make a difference more than be comfortable. This giving truly unleashes the heart to be able to give the way God gives – with generosity. This level of giving grows believers to the point where they look for opportunities to give more, where they know they are blessed to be a blessing, and their hearts are set on God and full of joy as they give and live a generous life.
Use the buttons below to download forms from Dave Ramsey, and check out the Easy Guide to a Budget from biblically-based financial expert Larry Burkett. If you need more help, contact the church office and we can help you make a budget to manage God’s money to get out of debt and make a difference for the Kingdom!