Each year, we tithe from all the money we raise in Student Ministries. We believe it’s important to model good stewardship to our youth. This year we had $320 from Scrip to tithe. Here’s what the youth decided:
- Relevant Worship Ministries: $89.28
- World Vision: $93.12
- Children of Israel Orphanage in Haiti: $137.60
We did the division as part of our Encountering God series where we’ve been looking at spiritual disciplines. We wrap up this weekend with prayer.
Read an interesting quote in Wild Goose Chase today:
When I fail to give, the best I can do is the best I can do. I am keeping God out of the equation of my finances. But when I tithe, I am standing on the promises of God. And in my experience, God can do more with 90 percent that I can do with 100 percent.
I think I want God’s best more than I want my best.
Tithing wasn’t always easy for me. Jaime was much more into it than I was when we first got married, so we did it because she was pushing us to. Now we’re on the Simply Giving program at church, which means our tithe is done every week as an EFT from our checking account. I honestly can’t say I’ve missed that money. I like it for a number of reasons:
- It’s easy. Fill out the form and you’re all set.
- It’s a solid commitment. At first I thought it was somehow giving up my responsibility in writing a check to the church every week. It felt too automated to me. But now I see it as an even more solid commitment to tithing. I can’t just change the amount one week because it looks like we’ll needing that money for something else now.
- It’s consistent. Even when I miss church, I’m still giving. I don’t have to remember if I wrote a double check that first week back.
- It helps the church plan. They know they’re getting a consistent amount of money each week.
If you’d like to sign up for Simply Giving, give Tim Hartnett a call at church and he’ll hook you up.
When we made the switch to our new system for the carwash this year, there was lots of talk about how much money we’ll raise. In the past, we’ve called the congregation for donations, then supplemented those donations with “free-will” offerings at the “free” carwash. We also sold drinks/hot dogs. It all seemed somehow … not right. We weren’t sending the best message we could to the community, our youth or the congregation.
I like Data. Seth Godin wrote about the importance of data yesterday in the context of marketing. He argues there are 5 pieces to marketing, and the two foundation blocks are data and stories. For two years now, I’ve been tracking the data of the carwash. Here’s the breakdown of what we made in 2007:
- $1,560 in collected pledges from members
- $475 donation from Thrivent. (Thanks for all you do for us Thrivent, especially our local congregation reps!)
- $384 from food sales and “free-will” offerings.
- TOTAL: $2,419
The data said we were risking about $384 to try something new.
Now for the story. As of Saturday at the Carwash, we were at roughly $1,800 in donations. There was some anxiety when we shared the amount donated to that point with the youth. I’m sure some were thinking we should re-think this whole “no donations” thing at the carwash. Jaime and I didn’t put in a donation for the carwash yet, so we were talking about what to give. We decided on an amount on Monday. I went to the office on Tuesday to see the Teller’s report. I add up the numbers, add in our donation, and guess where we end up?
Seriously. And to the best of my knowledge, that’s all donations from members, no matching funds from Thrivent. That’s a 55.2% increase in giving from the congregation. Our “data” was better than last year, plus we added a pretty cool story and built a better connection between our youth and the congregation, not to mention the impact we made on those that came to the carwash.
It seems like maybe we made the right decision this year. And maybe God really means what He says.
And now, some fine work from Paul:
I’m a firm believer that God has blessed us to be a blessing to others. He calls us to give a portion of our income back to Him. While we have been freed from the hard “10%” number, I still consider 10% to be a good goal. The point is not the number, but to stretch our faith. We should give until it’s a little uncomfortable and then see how God responds.
I also believe that if students are to learn the joy of tithing, we must model it to them. That means that parents should include their kids in the discussion about what to give to the church each week. It means that the church must set an example of tithing. And so our ministry tithes from all group fundraising efforts. We give students the opportunity to decide where we send the money, so they may know the joy of giving to others. We did this at our meeting this past Sunday. Here’s what they decided:
- $125 to the orphanage in Les Cayes, Haiti that we sponsor as a church
- $94 to the 30 Hour Famine that the Crossroads youth will participate in on Feb 8-9, 2008
- $70 to Lutheran World Relief
May you be a blessing to others through your stewardship of time, talents and treasures!