I was asked to deliver a stewardship testimony at my church, First Baptist DC, last week. I threw together this statement about why I tithe and pledge at church. Apparently it was good enough to move a few people to give more — and the pastor forgot the order of service and jumped straight to offering, so my point about having a sermon and a hymn to fill out pledge cards was rendered moot. Also, I’m not sure Siri does repeating events the I describe it, as I only have an iPhone 3GS running iOS 5.1.
I came to First Baptist DC ten years ago, on Palm Sunday in 2002. There was a brass quartet playing and Dr Schreiber was on the organ and the sanctuary was marvelous and the preaching top notch. That same day I approached Lon and asked him if I could join the choir. One of the most amazing Sundays of my life. I’ve been a member since then, minus one year’s break for grad school in Baltimore.
While in Baltimore I was attending at Grace Presbyterian Church, and during an offering the pastor asked us, “why should we tithe?” I said wryly to my friend, and don’t take this the wrong way, Dr. Haggray, but I said, “Well, preacher’s gotta eat.”
But I mean that literally.
Preacher has gotta eat. He shepherds this flock and oversees the operation of a church and visits the sick and represents the faith to the city and the world and still manages to do a sermon every Sunday. And he’s not alone in this.
A missionary once told me there are three parts to a mission: those who serve, those who give, and those who pray. These categories are not mutually exclusive.
We’re a big church. Not as big as we used to be but still big enough to have serious needs. We have volunteers and we have paid staff and we have logistical demands on all sides, the building needs help, the organ needs building, and these choir robes need to be washed sometimes, and it’s on that staff to do the things that keep the church running, and it’s on us to make sure they get the tools and rightful livelihood for their service, because we’re all partners together in this Christian mission.
I also wanted to point out the pledge cards. I used to not be a pledge card guy, thinking, “don’t make promises you might not be able to keep.” But really this is just as much about accounting as it is about commitment. There are budgets to be made and it’s just easier on the church if they know how much to expect from you through the year. So do fill out that pledge card. If you haven’t yet, we’ll according to the program you’ve got a sermon and a hymn to do so.
And we do have online giving through our website now. Go to firstbaptistdc.org and click give, make sure that’s an https:// and a little padlock icon in your address bar, so you know it’s a secure form. Our payment gateway does take credit cards. I confess I do use my miles card, so the more I tithe the faster I get to a free flight.
Got a little spreadsheet on my Google Docs with a list of bills so I can keep track of what I’m paying. The first row is always tithing, and I always try to handle that on the first day of every month. Everything comes after that. Gives you a little perspective. Got an iPhone 4S or 5 with Siri? You can tell Siri, “Siri, remind me every first day of the month to give,” and I think she should add a repeating entry to your calendar to tell you to tithe. Google Calendar Quick Add will do that to.
So if you haven’t pledged yet, do your pledge, keep to your pledge, use the website if you like, let’s all reach deep so together we can reach deep into the city and the world with Christ.
“For where your treasure is there shall your heart be also.” May our treasure be in each other, as the body of Christ. We are in this mission together.