Our Perspective on Giving

by Leadership of Neartown Church

The following explanation of Biblical giving is an invitation to the joy of radical generosity. This is not meant to be an exhaustive study on “generosity”, but it can help every Mission Partner of Neartown Church understand biblically how to honor the Lord in this area.

Ownership Principle
God owns everything.

One must recognize that everything comes from God and belongs to God (Psalm 24:1, 1 Chronicles 29:11-12). Our regular giving is an act of worship to God and reveals our true heart toward God (Proverbs 3:9-10). God is pleased to bless those who give generously to His work in the world. He blesses the giver by giving back with respect to what He receives from those who obey the Biblical commands to give generously (Luke 6:38, 2 Corinthians 9:6-8, Malachi 3:8-10).

Stewardship Principle
Christians manage God’s resources.

Every sincere follower of Christ recognizes the opportunity they have to manage all that God allows them to earn or possess according to the teachings of the Bible and the leadership of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 4:2). 

Discipleship Principle
Management of money impacts spiritual growth.

The way in which a person manages all that God has provided them reveals most visibly what is in the heart. God uses money, and our management of money, to grow our trust in Him. Where we place our money determines the values of our heart. According to Jesus, our heart follows our money (Matthew 6:21). We must develop a heart for his kingdom by choosing to place our treasure in his kingdom work. Someone who does not manage money to honor God will not receive “the true riches” that God gives. The use of money affects our spiritual development (Luke 16:10-11). 

Good Giving Questions

How much should a Christian give?

While the Bible is primarily descriptive, rather than prescriptive, in how a follower of Jesus is to give, the Bible teaches to give systematically (1 Corinthians 16:2, Proverbs 3:9-10), proportionately (1 Corinthians 16:2), generously (2 Corinthians 9:6), sacrificially (Matthew 12:41-44, 2 Corinthians 8:2-3) and faithfully (1 Corinthians 4:2) to the church for the work of God in the world.

Giving regularly means a person sets aside the first portion of income for an offering on the first day of the week (1 Corinthians 16:1). This discipline prepares our heart to honor God with our resources regularly. Christians keep their hearts pure from greed through the discipline of regular giving. Note: This is an altogether different mindset than giving only when there is some left over from daily expenses. Giving to God ought to be the first priority.  This means Christians give regular gifts to God first, before we pay the other bills and obligations required. We honor God with our giving first. Again, doing so is an act of worship that acknowledges God owns everything and that we are managers of what He provides. Our giving cannot, should not, be haphazard or reluctantly (2 Corinthians 9:7). 

Regarding exactly how much a person should give, Christians should give generously. One might thing of Christian giving as investing with God. The Bible guarantees a return on the investment. The return is a blessing to those impacted by the gospel ministries of the church and also to the giver. 

The only amount indicated in the Bible for regular stewardship is a tithe, or one tenth of one’s income. More clearly, the historical starting point for faithful giving to the local church is the tithe (Leviticus 27:30-33, Deuteronomy 12:6-7, Deuteronomy 26:12, Malachai 3:10). While the New Testament does not indicate a specific percentage, there is no good reason to believe the tithe is no longer biblical teaching. What the New Testament DOES reveal is the every follower of Jesus Christ should give practically and sacrificially so that the gospel will advance rapidly and the kingdom of God will grow (2 Corinthians 8 & 9).

At Neartown Church we encourage Mission Partners to become “regular percentage givers” with the aim of becoming a “regular tithe giver”. Neartown Church leadership believes that when people experience the joy of radical generosity they will view the tithe as a starting place for giving and will enjoy giving far beyond what most consider to be a lot of money.

One last point regarding how much should be given. Everyone can give something. Jesus blessed the widow who gave only two copper coins because she gave out of poverty. Her sacrifice was measured, not by what she gave, but by what she kept (Mark 12:41-44). The Macedonian Christians gave out of their poverty too (2 Corinthians 8:2-3). Christian sacrifice is not measured in the amount given, but by the amount kept.

Where is the Christian to give?

One must recognize that the primary institution for the the gospel to advance in the world is the local church (Matthew 16:18). The local church should be the primary recipient of a Christian’s giving (2 Corinthians 9:11-12). Christians are also responsible for giving to the poor (Deuteronomy 12:6-7), to provide for aging parents (Exodus 20:12, Mark 7:10-13), to assist other Christians as needs arise (Acts 2:44-45, 1 John 3:17), and to support Christian causes as the giver feels led by the Holy Spirit.

What about designated gifts? The leadership of Neartown Church asks every Mission Partner to give the tithe toward the general ministries of the church. Any designated gifts should be in addition to the regular tithe. This encourages unity in the body and provides for the regular ministries of the church.