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Giving at North Wake Church

11.12.15 | Leaders | by Tom Iversen

    Giving at North Wake Church

    Understanding The Why, The How, and The When

    Here at North Wake Church, we consider giving as not just a tenet of our faith – simply one act of spiritual discipline – but a significant form of worship, a prominent act of obedience to our Lord, a commitment to the Gospel and its spread, and a selfless display of love for our brothers and sisters in Christ.

    “Do you love Me?” Then, “Feed My sheep” (Jesus, to Peter in John 21:17).

    The size and timing of your gifts at North Wake are between you and God. They are freewill gifts of worship and obedience.

    They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (God’s design for the Church as presented in Acts 2.42-47)

    Our giving is not dependent on our current circumstances – it is an “overflowing joy” and gives witness to God’s grace in our lives.

    Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will. So we urged Titus, since he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. But just as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us—see that you also excel in this grace of giving. (Paul speaking of the Macedonians to the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 8.2-6)

    John Wesley, the great 18th century preacher, when asked about money matters and giving, summarized it this way: ““Earn all you can, give all you can, save all you can.” Wesley considered this rule to be the pathway to a trusting and joyful relationship with God.

    Why Should We Give?

    Out of Love

    We believe our giving should not be motivated by a sense of obligation, but out of love for our good and gracious God and in support of the work of His Kingdom.

    But just as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us—see that you also excel in this grace of giving. I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. (Paul speaking of the Macedonians to the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 8.7-8)

    As An Act Of Worship

    We believe that giving is more than a duty or an obligation – that it is one tangible way we can worship our Lord with offerings. Consider your gift a “fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice” as Paul did in response to the gifts delivered to him from the Philippians:

    “I have received full payment and even more; I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.” (Philippians 4.18)

    In Obedience (Being Faithful and Trusting)

    We believe we are God’s money managers – he owns it all. As such, we have been granted a special responsibility to steward His goods well, thereby demonstrating we can be “trustworthy with someone else’s property”. How much we believe that, and accept that, is shown by how we give back to Him and how we trust Him to care for us financially. Jesus asks us to examine ourselves and ask these questions: What is it we trust most? And by extension, whom do we serve?

    “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own? “No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” (Jesus teaches in Luke 16.10-13) 

    In Anticipation of Bountiful Blessings

    We believe that God will reward our “cheerful giving” with blessings. However, this blessing, “measured to you”, may not be on this earth. God never promises worldly wealth to His children, or some other specific worldly reward. Instead, He promises to bless us – that we would “reap generously” when we love Him enough, and trust Him enough with our giving to Him and his Kingdom.

    “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Jesus in Luke 6.38)

    “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” (Paul to the Corinthian church in 2 Corinthians 9.6-8)

    In Response To Real Worldly Needs

    Obviously, the church of the 21st century, at least in America, has real world needs that can only be satisfied through financial resources. From time to time, these special needs will be made known and the Church will have the opportunity to give cheerfully, sacrificially, and spontaneously in response to those stated needs. That is one of the characteristics of the early church of Christ – God’s special design – and one we should aim to emulate:

    All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need. (The early church in Acts 4.32-35) 

    How (With What Attitude) Should We Give?

    Here at North Wake, we believe that God owns it all! So, we are not left to ask how much should we give, but how much of God’s money should we keep?

    No one at North Wake is under any compulsion to give.   All our gifts are freewill offerings, given willingly with an attitude of joy and gratitude. God loves this kind of giver!

    Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (Paul to the Corinthian church in 2 Corinthians 9.7)

    While it may be impossible to make all our gifts “anonymous”, Jesus calls us to give with a humble heart.   Gifts given without fanfare are most pleasing to our Lord and protects our hearts from the insidious effects of pride.

    “Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Jesus from His Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6.1-4)

    A Few Words About The “Tithe”

    At North Wake we believe that as a church under the new covenant, we are no longer under the legal imperative of the tithe (meaning “one-tenth”) or any other specific giving goal for that matter. However, we do believe the tithe represents a starting point for sacrificial giving to the church, and an effective way that we can guard our hearts against the sin of greed.

    The New Testament does not teach the tithe, but instead teaches us all we are, and all we have is for the glory of God – our bodies, our lives, and our money.

    Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? (Jesus in Mark 8.34-37)

    Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. (Paul in Romans 12.1)

    When Do We Give At North Wake?

    At North Wake, there are several occasions, during a given year – as well as several ways - for us to be faithful and worshipful in our giving.

    Giving can be made in a variety of ways. The simplest and most traditional is via the offering plate on Sunday mornings. Gifts can also be made online or via mail to the office. Online giving can be completed via draft, electronic bill-pay, or via credit card or debit card. All gifts to North Wake, unless otherwise stated, are tax deductible per IRS regulations for entities organized under 501(c)(3) rules. (See “How Can I Give At North Wake” below)

    Regular Offering

    Also called “tithes and offerings”, these gifts fund our “General Fund” operating budget and are collected on Sundays, and via online giving.

    Since 2005, we at North Wake have been making pledges to pay for our new Sanctuary, as well as the modular offices and classrooms (Bldg. 5 & 6). Once per year, in November, we call the faithful to “recommit” via new pledges to pay off the existing debt. These pledges are fulfilled with generous gifts throughout the following calendar year. These gifts are “above and beyond” the regular tithes and offerings of the North Wake faithful. (The budget for our capital campaign and the annual budget for our general operating fund are separate)

    Lottie Moon

    Lottie Moon is the name for the one-time annual offering we take, usually in February. The Lottie Moon offering is taken for the support of the International Mission Board (IMB) and represents the sole support that the IMB’s missionaries receive (including most of those folks sent by North Wake.) Every penny of the offering goes to the IMB’s overseas budget, thus supporting all our missionaries and their work. Special envelopes are given for this designated gift, although this gift can be designated on checks or given online.

    Entermissions

    Here at North Wake, we have designed a special celebration for our “Far Flung Families” and Church Plants that we call “Entermissions”. This event occurs in February and covers an entire weekend. One of the parts of this celebration is the “Auction For The Nations”. During this auction, attendees have an opportunity to bid on a variety of items and services provided by our folks. The proceeds of the auction are designated in full to a specific purpose, or split between two or more needs. The beneficiary of each item auctioned is stated before any bidding begins.

    Special Offerings

    From time to time, the faithful of North Wake will be presented with an opportunity to give to a special need or project. This may happen for one specific time, or for a period where you will have time to prayerfully consider your gift. (An example was the 2012 offering that provided for the purchase and outfitting of Building 7 – the children’s modular classroom.)

    Designated Gifts

    You may at any time make designated gifts to North Wake. The simplest way, if you are writing a check, is to mark in the “Memo” line at the bottom of your check to what need you wish your gift to be designated. (Examples: Czech Republic Church Plant, Special Offering need – See above, HaitiLove, etc.) If you wish for a portion of an amount to be designated to a specific need, make sure you clearly indicate that in the “Memo” line. For designations by credit card or other means, please contact the Church Treasurer.  (For more information, see North Wake’s Designated Gift Policy. – To be written in 2015)

    Non-Cash Gifts & Bequeathals

    For non-monetary gifts, that is gift of material items such as cars or jewelry, please contact the Trustees at: .

    To arrange to give through a bequeathal, please contact the Trustees, the Church Treasurer, or any Elder concerning your desires in this regard.

    How Can We Give At North Wake?

    Cash Offerings

    You may give during each of North Wake’s two services when the offering plate is passed. Please only cash or checks during this time and remember that checks must be written in black or blue ink only.

    Checks Mailed To North Wake

    You may mail a check to the North Wake office, or drop by cash or check to the office. Remember that checks must be written in black or blue ink only.

    Credit or Debit Card Gifts Made via North Wake’s Web Site

    You may give via a giving portal on North Wake’s web site (www.northwake.com/give) By selecting the “Give Now” link.   From there you can select the card to use: Visa, Master Card, or Discovery. American Express is not available. Be aware that the cost to North Wake is approximately 2.8% plus $0.18 per transaction for Credit Cards, and 2.5% plus $0.05 per transaction for Debit Cards.

    Bank Drafts Made Via North Wake’s Web Site

    You may, new for 2015, give via a giving portal on North Wake’s web site (www.northwake.com/give), using a bank draft of your bank account, by selecting the “Setup An Automated Gift” link. This can be done in either a single gift, or you may set up a giving schedule. This will create an automated draft, or payment, directly from your bank account. (You will have to set this up the first time, with your account number and bank routing number – all available from the front of a paper check.) Be aware that there is a charge to North Wake of $0.50 per transaction for this type gift.

    “Bill-Pay” Through Your Bank’s On-Line Banking

    Most banks offer a a “Bill-Pay” service and typically it is free of charge. This service will mail a check to North Wake in any amount you choose, via your bank’s online checking web portal. Many banks also offer scheduled and recurring payments via this service. There is no transaction cost to North Wake for this type giving, but like any paper check or cash, it has to be processed and deposited manually.

    Other Important Considerations

    A Tithe of Gross or Net Income?

    The concept of “first fruits” applies to this question. God prescribed such a practice, of bringing a first-fruit-offering to Him during the “Feast of First Fruits” - a thank-offering for a bountiful harvest from the land He had given them.

    "Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When you come into the land that I give you and reap its harvest, you shall bring the sheaf of the first-fruits of your harvest to the priest…” Lev. 23.10a (ESV)

    More directly, the precept is directly communicated in Proverbs:

    Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first-fruits of all your produce; Proverbs 3.9 (ESV)

    Obviously, payroll tax withholding was unknown when this was written, but the concept seems clear today: Any amount of giving, a tenth or otherwise, applied to our income – that is our “harvest” or “produce” – should be calculated at the top or from the “first of our fruits.” Doing this sets a pattern of giving back to Him, the first (and the best) of what He has given us, and in the process guards our hearts against greed, parsing, and legalism.

    Giving To Kingdom Needs Outside North Wake?

    This is a difficult question to answer. The Bible does not mention special offerings for Christian causes, and parachurch Christians ministries did not exist in the early church. There was only one Church cause, and that was the Church itself! The Elders of North Wake, in understanding that God’s work is now done in a myriad of places, by a myriad of servants, believe that believers can and should give generously and cheerfully and regularly to all true Kingdom-building ministries to which they feel led to give. However, our first and primary concern should be to our local church. Much as we separate out our Journey of Faith giving, giving to special offerings or other church causes or ministries – inside or outside of North Wake – should be out of the excess of our gifts, above and beyond the total amount – be it 10% or some other figure – the believer feels led to give to the church. We should all pray for wisdom in regards to how much and to whom God would have us give via our gifts and offerings.

    “I have held many things in my hands and I have lost them all. But whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess” ~Martin Luther


    Sources & FMI

    Holy Bible, NIV, ESV

    Whitney, Donald S., “Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life”, © 1991

    Alcorn, Randy, “The Treasure Principle”, © 2001

    More information on Lottie Moon and the Lottie Moon Annual Offering: http://www.imb.org/main/give/page.asp?StoryID=9657&LanguageID=1709