Tithing & Stewardship
“Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds.” The wisdom of Proverbs (27:23) reminds us that God has placed in our hands people and possessions, and we will be required to give an account of our stewardship. Though we may not tend to sheep, we are obligated to be wise stewards of our money and possessions.
It has been noted by one comedian that money doesn’t buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to live with. As John Wesley reminds us, money or possessions are not evil in themselves but we ought to value all things only by the price they will gain in eternity. As Stewardship Month approaches in January, I would encourage each pastor and Sunday School teacher to consider ways of promoting Christian stewardship. Perhaps a study of what the Book of Proverbs has to say about money and possessions would be a good place to begin. And remember, stewardship goes beyond money and finances – it includes our time, energy, and relationships as well.
As a pastor I recognize that there are many in our congregations who are faithful to give and support the local church and other ministries within the conference. It is vitally important that we regularly express our gratitude for their faithful stewardship. It is also appropriate to say thank-you to those churches who have increased their giving to the Conference by 1%.
I have recently attended a legal seminar held by Attorney David Gibbs and the Christian Law Association (CLA) and wish to express thanks to Bro. Hedstrom helping the Conference receive an amazing discount to enable several pastors and laypeople to attend. I strongly recommend that every pastor and Christian minister take advantage of this opportunity and make plans to attend at a location near you. The “talking points” that follow in this mailing are largely drawn from this one-day seminar. I have also received some legal assistance from the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA). The points you will find here include legal guidelines concerning the church in general and are not limited to church finances.
- Randy Alcorn. 2003. Money, Possessions and Eternity. revised. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House.Several pastors in the conference have read this book and say it has transformed their view of money and possessions. I know one person who bought twenty-five copies and passed them out at his church because he was so convinced that we need to hear this message. It is a strongly biblical treatment of the subject and is organized in such a way that it can be used as a reference book on finances.
- Christian Law Association – The CLA has had a long-standing relationship with the Alabama Conference and has offered marvelous discounts to us. All of the latest issues facing the local church are discussed in a one-day seminar, and Attorney Gibbs seeks to answer every legal question you may have even those not addressed in the agenda.
- Worth Tax & Financial Service – Worth Financial offers one-day seminars which focus on those who are in ministry. Cost is $109 per person. Several workbooks and financial guides are available for a fee and are useful for the local church.
- Church Law & Tax Report – Church Law & Tax Report is a printed publication mailed bimonthly for $79 a year (further discounts are available). It dicusses all of the latest legal issues facing the local church today. Also, subscription gains you access to the online publication ChurchLawToday.com where you can receive legal council and discuss your concern on a live forum.