Renewal Generosity: Tithes, Offerings and Stewardship
From Paul Cameron—Executive Officer:
One element of the Covenant we are currently talking about is the Ministry Contribution, what is being proposed as an alternative name for what is currently the Affiliation Fees.
As has been noted elsewhere, Affiliation Fees have been calculated on a per capita basis. The notion of a shift to a percentage of income basis for calculating Fees has been a topic of conversation since early 2009. The 2010 All Churches Summit/AGM gave indicative support for such a shift, and requested that Council bring to the next AGM an actual percentage figure, and a definition of income. The recent Church Census document indicated that current modelling suggests the Ministry Contribution being based on a church’s Tithes and Offerings.
Tithes and Offerings can be defined as any contribution made to a church, through offering plates, direct debit or credit card giving, whether it is weekly/monthly/quarterly/annually etc, and could include amounts that receive tax deductibility through an authorized PBI/DGR body given for personal tax reasons and to enable a larger contribution, that supports the ministry and mission of the church.
More details about the exact percentage of Tithes and Offerings will be released soon.
Talk about tithes and offerings and stewardship is based on the premise that churches regularly explore and teach on stewardship-related themes. How we responsibly and generously steward (manage/care for) God’s resources—finance, time, skills and abilities, buildings, friendships, as well as this planet—says much (if not everything) about our covenant relationship with him and his people (those inside and outside the church community).
In the olden days, deep in the last millennium, many of our churches in Vic/Tas conducted periodic ‘Planned Giving Programs’. These events gave opportunity for teaching about tithes and offerings and stewardship. While a range of issues were covered, tithing personal income and releasing it to the church for mission and ministry was central, and an outward expression of a person’s heart relationship with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Churches who didn’t have these programs were generally the ones who had (or thought they had!) the stewardship question worked out for one reason or another.
If your church hasn’t explored tithing, stewardship and generosity recently, maybe it’s time it did. You could start with conversations that grapple with 2 Corinthians 8 and 9 and Romans 12:1-2, as well as Malachi 3:6-12.
People who are a part of a Renewal Movement give generously. When was the last time your church had teaching on tithes, offerings and stewardship? What was your learning? How could it help others?