Faith Promise Giving

Sunday, February 17, 2008

A Stewardship Plan to Support a Church Missions Program

Our church family for well over two decades has been serious about its involvement in missionary efforts around the world. Due to hundreds we have helped to send to regions beyond, it could well be said that the sun never sets upon the ministry of our church. This article will better explain the “Faith Promise” concept we use as an organized approach to missionary giving.

The Bible teaches primarily two ways of giving for the finance of the Lord’s work. Those two methods are by the giving of tithes and offerings.

Tithing is simply returning the first tenth of all ones material blessings to the Lord through ones local church. This has been God’s plan of providing the finances for maintaining His house and His ministers since the days of Abraham, (Malachi 3:8-12) (Matthew 23:23). The tithe is the Lord’s, and it should be cheerfully given back to Him “upon the first day of the week”. It has been well said that giving the tithe is the outward sign of an inner commitment!

Offerings are those gifts required by the Lord, of His people, above and beyond their tithe. The children of Israel were charged with robbing God when they withheld both their tithes and offerings!

The Faith Promise Offering is a free will offering which we collect throughout the year which helps provide the finances to support our worldwide missions program. Missions involves the training, equipping, sending, and supporting of personnel who devote their time to preaching the Gospel and planting churches in the regions beyond our local church ministry. These individuals are called missionaries who are sent forth by the local churches.

What Does “Faith Promise” Giving Mean?

The Faith Promise method of giving is described in detail in II Corinthians 8, 9, and 10.

First, it is a promise to God.

This is NOT a pledge to a church. A pledge is something a person agrees upon guaranteeing liability of collection in case of nonperformance. This offering, however, is a promise which is made between the giver and God. It is a promise to give a certain amount which God leads the giver to make on a weekly basis to the missionary program of their church. Such a promise helps set a systematic goal for the donor.

Second, it is an act of Faith.

Believers often think about exercising faith in various areas of needs and service, but not many ever consider that giving should be done by faith also. The Bible informs us “that whatsoever is not of faith is sin”. So, when we give by faith, we are simply trusting and believing God to supply the amount He impresses upon our heart to promise. Additionally, it is trusting and believing God to meet our needs in absence of that which we give to Him.

Third, it is a free will offering for others.

The offering being dealt with in II Corinthians 8 was given willingly by those within a local church with the intention of it being distributed to those in another area of the world. The purest possible exercise of this principle is given with the intent of evangelizing the world. The purpose of this type of offering is totally for others. In 2007, over 34% of total contributions received by our church were given to causes outside of our church.

Fourth, it is a promise for a year.

Each year in January, our church has its annual “Missions Revival”. As our hearts are impressed by God, we pray and determine what we will give through out the following 12 months to support the church’s mission program. In essence, we promise God that we will faithfully give an offering each week, above our tithe, for the entire year!

Apostle Paul wrote to those within the church at Corinth (II Corinthians 10:15-16)

…when your faith is increased…We shall be enlarged by you…To preach the gospel in regions beyond.

Why Should We Give A Faith Promise Offering?

In five different passages of scripture, we have recorded a command given by the Lord Jesus Christ to His church which we call the Great Commission. This understandable command obligates each Christian with the responsibility of insuring that the Gospel message is given to every person alive on planet Earth. (Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15, Luke 24:27-48, John 20:21, Acts 1:8)

The only way we can be obedient to such a command is by witnessing both verbally and visibly where we live and sending others to witness where we cannot go. The sending or deputizing of others to the regions beyond our ability to go is what we call missions.

Here are several valid reasons why we should give sacrificially to support our Church’s Missions Program:

First, we should give because of the example of our Savior.

For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.(II Corinthians 8:9)

In this verse we are given a valid motivation for sacrificial giving; Jesus gave His life…for us. He became poor that we might become eternally rich. You will notice that this act of giving on His part is called grace. It is insightful that two verses prior to verse 9 that we as believers are exhorted to “abound in this grace also”.

Therefore, as ye abound in everything, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.(II Corinthians 8:7)

This context clearly reveals that this grace is a reference to the grace of giving. So, in light of the ultimate sacrifice that our Savior gave on our behalf, we are compelled by His example to abound also in the grace of giving! It has been well said, that “we are never more like God than when we give!”

Second, we should give because of God’s blessings upon us.

The undeniable truth is that we all have been abundantly blessed by God. Every good and every perfect gift we possess and enjoy has been graciously given to us by our kind and benevolent God. May we not forget that the benefits of God are attached responsibility from God. Here is the Bible principle: “To whom much is give, much is required.” This tells us that God’s blessings are purposeful beyond our own needs. Here is another principle: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35) When we pause to consider the conditions of those around the world who are in danger of perishing without a Savior, we must conclude that it is more blessed to be on the giving end than on the receiving end. Think about this, what if you were in spiritual darkness waiting for someone to give you the Gospel? Surely you would be eternally grateful if someone sacrificed to come and if someone sacrificed to send them to you with the message of God’s only plan of Salvation.

Third, we should give because of the terrible alternative.

For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

The purpose of Faith Promise giving is to supply the needs of missionaries that they may preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to every individual on the face of the Earth. If no one obeys the call to go…and no one obey the call to send…multitudes of people whom Christ died for will never hear that good news and they will spend eternity separated from God.

Fourth, we should give because His will assure us of God’s continued blessings.

God says: “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” Luke 6:38

Note the order in this verse. Our giving comes first. Then the promise is given that we will receive. So, our willingness to give will lead God to insuring that we are given to in return. You see, it is a fixed principle in life that we reap according to our sowing. That our actions react upon us and that we keep we lose, and what we give we gain. So, God promises to give after we give, not before. Then God promises the giver that they will reap in proportion to what they sow or in the same measure as they have previously given.

But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.

There are many who fail to understand that God has many ways of blessing us other than financially. Because of this misunderstanding, they expect God always to give them material blessings in return for their giving. However, most of God’s blessings to us cannot be measured in dollars and cents. In truth, God can bless the liberal giver in their family, their health, their happiness, and through a multitude of other ways.

Fifth, we should give simply because we love our God.

Paul the apostle indicates in II Corinthians 8 that when the giver abounds in this grace also it provides ample “proof of your love” in verse 24. Verse 8 adds that it proves the sincerity of our love. Very clearly our giving to God proves or provides undeniable evidence that we mean what we say when we say we love Him! The fact is we can give without loving, but we cannot love without giving!

How Should I Give A Faith Promise Offering?

There are two exhortations which the Apostle Paul gives to those within the church at Corinth which would benefit us.

First, do it with an attitude of willingness.

Paul writes “I speak not by commandment” (II Corinthians 8:8). There are numerous commands throughout scripture which are incumbent upon us to obey. We are commanded to tithe, to pray, read our Bibles, witness both verbally and visually, and to live holy separated lives. However, no one can command us to give the offering which is explained in II Corinthians 8. It is completely voluntary. As you read these words you may be thinking “I’m not going to do it. I’m not going to participate in this offering for others. I will not support the missions program of my church.” The truth is, you are not commanded to do so! You see, this is a spiritual offering which will only be a blessing to you as it is done out of a heart overflowing with a willingness and a genuine concern for others.

We learn here and in other passages of scripture that the attitude of the giver is vitally important. Would you not agree that it is a special blessing when someone does something for us simply because they want to and not out of a sense of duty or obligation? Let it be said that our God is pleased when we give in this manner as well. Look again at the Macedonian example, “They were willing of themselves” (II Corinthians 8:3) In other words, they were not forced or pressured in any human way but were eager to have a part. Note additionally in verse 12 that the same principle is spoken of again when it states, “If there first be a willing mind.” Then observe how this principle is further expressed, “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” (II Corinthians 9:7) This verse clearly reveals the attitude which God requires in our giving. It is to be done with a willing mind or spirit of willingness. No one has the authority to demand another person’s participation in the giving of a voluntary offering. Even in the area of something as important as worldwide missions, it must be done, not by compulsion, but rather with an attitude of willingness.

Second, do it as an act of worship.

In truth, we are not commanded to give a free will offering, but if we do give, we prove something. Paul wrote that you “prove the sincerity of your love” (II Corinthians 8:8). Very clearly our giving to God, especially when we are not commanded to do so, proves we mean what we say when we say we love Him. Regrettably many people do not know how true love is expressed. It is significant that I Corinthians 13, the scriptural interpretation on love, informs us that it can only be described by observing it in action. That is why all the terms in that passage of scripture describing love are verbs and not adjectives. In essence, love is not just something you feel, rather it is something you do. John 3:16 pinpoints the fact that true love is “the ultimate act of sacrificing oneself for the good of someone else.” So, love is a decision, an act of the will, to do and to give for someone other than oneself. In the truest sense of the word, love is only love when it acts. The following observation is true, we can give without loving, but we cannot love without giving.

The clearest proof of Christ’s love for us that He “loved the church, and gave himself for it.” What then is love? Love is doing. Love is giving. Love is sacrificial. Christ’s death upon the cross was absolute proof that He loves us. So, how do we prove our love for Him? The answer is, in the same way Christ proved His love for us. By doing, giving, and making sacrifices for Him.

If we really believe that the most important thing in the entire world is for every person of the Earth to have at least one opportunity to accept or reject the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, then such a belief should be reflected in our giving. We are not commanded to give, but if we do, we prove the sincerity of our love for our Savior and for a lost and perishing world!