The Light Church: Generosity and giving
Since we started The Light some nine years ago, we can testify that God has indeed provided for all our needs. It has been through the generosity and faithfulness of everyone who has given that this amazing truth and blessing has been achieved.
We want to say a huge thank you to all who have sown, and continue to sow, into the Kingdom of God through The Light Church. Without this we would never have been able to do the amazing outreach to the poor that we’ve done through the church, food bank, job club, life skills, Inn churches, release group and our community café. The same is true for all the ‘IN’ activities: children’s and youth work, our Sunday services and all that’s required to enable all of this happening across the body of the Church.
We have never felt it necessary to have a regular weekly offering in our Sunday service, although we do believe it’s right that everyone who is a member of the church community gives to the church. We have, and will continue to have, two or three occasions each year when we speak and preach on the heart of giving and generosity and bring the financial needs of The Light to the wider church family. This happened recently when we made an appeal for our community fund offering, which raised a staggering £12,000! We rely on people giving regularly to the church and we are currently blessed by over 100 people who regularly give to the church. Our heart has always been that our regular income should go a long way towards covering our committed spending every year and, astonishingly, over 80% of our needs now come through regular tithes and offerings.
Each year as a leadership team we agree the budget and we come into the year with a ‘faith need’. This year was no different, so we need an additional £35,000 to meet our budgeted expenditure in 2017. (See attached year end report and budget for 2017)
Already we have seen God, through generous individuals, continue to meet our needs. However, we do know that with the expansion of our outreach to the poor through restarting our CAP Debt Centre and recruiting for some new positions (Children’s and Youth worker, Pastoral Care Coordinator and Operations Manager) there is most definitely a need for us to see an increase in our regular giving.
Our heart is that our giving should be a decision: something we think about, pray through and commit to, too. We know the bible speaks about a person’s heart towards money and living a generous life, including regularly giving to God through your local church. We believe giving is both biblical and the right thing for each of us to do, but the amounts people give should be up to them. We always want people’s giving to be cheerful and without force or compulsion.
‘Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.’ - 2 Corinthians 9:7
The new testament speaks of giving above and beyond the ‘tithe’ (10% of income) and we know that for many, blessed by God, they are able to do so. However, we also understand that not everyone is in that position and for people who are struggling financially there is great blessing in the ‘widow’s mite’ – when making sacrifices and giving up things through generosity, there God does indeed command a blessing.
Our heart is that as you hear of the need and are encouraged by the progress of The Light you will pray and seek God as to what you as an individual or as a couple might be able to do.
If you count The Light as your home church and have never made that commitment to give, please use this opportunity over the next two weeks to prayerfully consider what you can give, complete the attached regular giving form and bring it to church on Sunday 14 May when we will be giving the chance for us all to respond.
Next week we will be sharing more about the specific needs we have and we pray you are encouraged to continue to be generous and faithful in how you handle money and that your heart to give to The Light, to enable us to fulfil the vision we have to reach our community, continues to grow.
On behalf of the Leadership team
The following verses speak of the wisdom and the fruit of living a generous life. We pray that they encourage, challenge and inspire you in your response to this giving opportunity.
‘The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously.’ - Psalm 37:21
‘They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be a blessing.’ - Psalm 37:26
Giving and generosity has generational effects, you can pass it on and demonstrate it to your children and the blessings will reach through the generations. Your children will be blessed Good things will happen, it’s about what’s the right thing to do.
‘Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice.’ - Psalm 112:5
‘One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.’ - Proverbs 11: 24 -25
You get more back if you are generous and you lose more than if you don’t give, if you are stingy. One leads to abundance; the other poverty. Not just financial, relational, joy in what you do, added purpose to your life and job, an all-round winner. Generous people are just happier; they live better lives, outward looking not inwardly focused.
‘The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller. The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped.’ - Proverbs 11: 24 -25
‘There are those who [generously] scatter abroad, and yet increase more; there are those who withhold more than is fitting or what is justly due, but it results only in want. The liberal person shall be enriched, and he who waters shall himself be watered.’ - Proverbs 11: 24 -25
New Living Translation
‘Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything. The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.’ - Proverbs 11: 24 -25