Mission & Money

blog.mission.money.720.jpg

Our Revolutionary Mission

Can you express the mission of your (church/business/institution) in one short sentence?

Money follows mission.  The clearer a congregation is about its mission, the easier it is to underwrite it.  But it must be a life-impacting, world-changing mission (not just institutional survival).

Tithing helps us prioritize … especially with goals such as 10-10-80 (giving 10%, saving 10%, living on 80%).  That's good, but the big picture is even more critical. The practice of tithing is counter-cultural and revolutionary because it fosters a culture which values every person and honors every gift that represents a significant proportion of one’s income.  In short, one's income isn't the point, but rather one's percentage of giving.

Imagine a nation (or a world) in which the church taught a generation of young people to tithe and to save an equal amount.  Our debt-induced national (or world) economic crisis would be unthinkable.

Missional Engagement

In our sermons and small group sessions about stewardship, let’s use money as a way of talking about Jesus rather than using Jesus as a way of talking about money.

Many Christians have grown well beyond tithing (giving 10%).  They see it as a “floor” not a “ceiling” or ultimate goal for giving.  Dr. Rick Owen calls these folks “lifestyle givers.”

This one also comes from Rick Owen, by way of Jim Harnish and Hyde Park UMC in Tampa:  let’s help new Christians find “on ramps” to tithing — helping people take those first steps toward becoming lifestyle givers.  I like Hyde Park’s website — one of the toolbars is divided into these buttons:  prayers, presence, gifts, service.

Giving, particularly by young people, is increasingly non-institutional.  How can we, who are part of an ancient institution, find ways to reach a generation who doesn’t think institutionally?  The key is mission.  Young people (and a growing number of older ones) are reached not through loyalty or guilt but through life-changing, missional engagement.