Tithing (or simply giving) is a practice that flows from (and an effect of) one’s faith and gratitude regarding the gifts one has been given to work with by God. When we give toward the ministry of the church, we do so not expecting anything in return. Nevertheless, we who serve in leadership roles in the church need not receive with open palms and closed lips on the topic. Though money and its use is something that many rather avoid because of its touchy historical nature, steps need to be taken in being more forthright with discussing the basic needs of the church and funding its ministries, keeping that conversation more regular than one month a year yet not making it the defining one, and giving thanks—both to God for the gifts given, and the stewards for faithfully tending to them—whenever generosity is practiced. Through such honesty, openness, and gratitude we begin to take responsible steps forward in establishing a healthy environment of stewardship where we can serve most faithfully and keep our focus on what is most important: Jesus, the Crucified and Risen Lord, and his life-giving gospel for the whole world. If you have never heard it said in church before, please know: 1) all that which you prayerfully give to the ministry of this church our leadership seeks to use with the utmost care and responsibility, and 2) no gift goes unappreciated—we understand that it comes as an exercise of one’s faith, and we give thanks to God for both the faith by which it is given and the hands of the giver who shares it.
Each week during worship, in the prayer after communion, we pray: “O God, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” Never fully knowing what obstacles, tribulations, joys, and celebrations lie ahead for each of us, thank you for placing your trust in the One who provides for the whole world, and as such giving what you have to help provide for others in Jesus’ name. Let it not go without being said: We within the church leadership of this congregation know that without your care-full giving and gracious generosity, we would not be able to serve as much as we do in this place. Thank you for what you have done, thank you for what you do, thank you for what you will do. Thank you!