For the last couple of weeks we have been talking about the exciting ministry vision we believe God has given us for the future. We are calling it our Extraordinary Challenge. It is a vision worthy of our time, our talents and our treasure; it will require all of us who call TCC our home and who love this church to serve and give sacrificially. I’m talking to you who love the relevant, biblical, challenging, application-oriented teaching. You love the genuineness, the authenticity you see here; real people with real problems worshipping a God who has real solutions. You love the growth opportunities we offer here—community groups, Financial Peace University, marriage seminars. You love our retreats, PointMan breakfasts, softball teams and Monday night basketball.
Today I really want to address myself to those of you who love our church but who don’t have a plan for financially supporting it. If you’ve been coming for a while and you say, ”I love my church,” but you do not have a plan to financially support the church you love, then I want to talk with you. Because as we move forward in our Extraordinary Challenge, I need for you to be fully engaged—not just with your attendance, but with your regular, generous, financial support because ministry must be resourced. I’m not talking about putting $5.00 in the plate when it passes by. I’m talking about having a well thought out plan to support the ministry of this church. About 60% of you who call TCC your home don’t have a plan like that. If you haven’t decided on a percent or an amount you will give, then you don’t have a plan.
What would you call a father who says, “I love my children, but I don’t support them financially. Oh, I do when some urgent need arises and they make a special plea—but generally I don’t meet their needs.” A dad like that–we call him a “bad dad”, don’t we? He says he loves his kids, but he won’t support them financially…at least not in a consistent way. That’s a bad dad. But what do we call a Christian who says, “I love my church”—I love what it does for me, my spouse, and kids—but I don’t support it financially unless some urgent need comes up, and then I’ll give.” Do you know what do you call that person? We call them an “average Christian!” Because that’s what average Christians do. This can be proven statistically in all churches!
And its true at TCC too. About 60% of the people who are regular attenders or members of our church don’t support our church financially on a regular basis. Sixty percent! And to be honest, that kind of hurts my feelings. I pour out my life and my bank account for this church. So I find it difficult to understand how someone can say, “I love my church, but I’m not willing to support it financially in a meaningful way.” If we want to move beyond being an ordinary church having an ordinary impact, we need to change that. If we are serious about reaching the next generation for Christ, if we are serious about reaching people around the world who have never heard the gospel, if we are serious about sharing God’s love with our broader community we have to move beyond average giving.
There are three main reasons why a person who loves their church doesn’t have a plan for supporting it financially. (1) You just haven’t thought of it before. I’m not asking you how much you’ll give, just that you need to have decided. (2) Others simply haven’t taken time to create a plan. Their giving is sporadic, however much cash you have on hand. I don’t want you to simply have a plan for giving, because I care about you I want you to have a triple plan: a plan for savings, a plan for spending, and a plan for giving. Without these three plans, you’re going to save too little, spend too much, and you’re going to give the church your leftovers. You should give to your church first, second, you save, and then third, you live on what’s left over. (3) The third reason Christians don’t give to their church is that they don’t think their church needs the money. Some of you came from churches that continually were passing the plate! It seemed like they were always looking for an excuse to have a special offering. You may have resented it, but at least you knew that your church needed your money. Then, you came to TCC and thought: “Wow, obviously they don’t need my money—because they hardly ever talk about it.”
Now it’s true, we’re not desperate for your money. And if we were, what would you think about TCC? What if everything around here was in disrepair? If we owed money all over town? If the grass was uncut or we had to lay off staff? What would you think?” You would think, “This place is about to go under. They are mismanaged. We can’t trust the leadership here.” You don’t want to go to a church that is always in crisis mode. But since here at TCC we don’t talk about money all the time, and everything seems to be going great, some of you think you don’t need to support the church you love. The reason we are able to serve you so well is because some TCC’ers are incredibly generous.
But there is so much more we could be doing that we can’t do right now because 60% of you who love your church don’t have a plan to support it. But I get excited about our future because I think, “Imagine all we could do if that 60% decided to become extraordinary givers rather than ordinary givers?” We could replace our decaying, small youth center. We would like to strengthen all of our current ministries. We could support more missionaries overseas—especially in those closed countries where there is little Christian influence. We would love to open a counseling center that would offer free Biblical counseling to the community. We could launch a second campus which would allow us to make even more disciples.
Church, there is so much we could be doing. And here is the thing. God has blessed us with the resources we need to do all of those things. He has We just need to give them! We have a great opportunity to do some really extraordinary things, but we can’t do them if this 60/40% thing continues. We need to change that. And so I want to challenge all of us to get a plan together. You need a giving plan, you need a saving plan and you need a living plan. Begin with your giving plan, because if you don’t, you will end up giving God your leftovers. That’s what many of us have been doing.
Susan and I already are among the largest givers here, but we have decided that we are going to increase our monthly giving by over 50% and we are going to give a generous cash gift on top of that. I want to ask you to join us in generously supporting the church you love. We need 100% participation from those who consider TCC their church home. It will require all of us to expand our level of giving—but the sacrifices will be worth it! You and your family may be doing fine, but Jesus left the ninety-nine safe sheep, in order to save the one lost sheep. We must never become satisfied with safe sheep; we must pursue those who are lost. In a ten mile radius of this church are 50,000 lost students. Our Next Generation Discipleship Center is the launching point for our search and rescue operation. Join me in that search and rescue mission. Give generously, so that we can more effectively reach the next generation.