One question that often comes up is how is an "offering" different than the "tithe"?
Biblically, the tithe is a tenth portion of one's increase that is given to the Lord. In the Old Testament, this was a requirement. In the New Testament, it is not a "requirement of the law" (at least, not the written law), but a response of love.
Does that mean I don't need to give a tithe?
This might sound self-serving, but I truly believe it (and practice it myself); that the law of love doesn't even consider that question. Seeing how Jesus compares the law of love to the written law (the law of love always goes beyond the requirements of the written law); it would seem that the old written law is a starting point for even greater response (not less).The question that love asks is not how little I can give, but how much I can give. (I’ve sometimes said that giving 10% is for beginners - because that is the starting point).
That's where the "offering" comes in. The offering is a contribution, over and above the "tithe" that is usually given for a special purpose. While the "tithe" is for the general ministries of the church; the "offering" can be for anything one desires to give toward.
It could be the Alabaster Offering (used to help fund the purchase of land or building materials for missions projects); it could be some other ministry or missionary that I support. It could be the Thanksgiving Offering (for World Evangelism). It could be to a building fund or a benevolence fund or any number of things.
For us in the Church of the Nazarene, we usually collect an Easter Offering (in the spring) and a Thanksgiving Offering (in the fall) both for world evangelism. These offerings will go 100% over and above what our church is already committed to giving to world missions. The World Evangelism Fund is the "bread and butter" of our missionary work.
What happens to the "tithe"?
The tithe is used for the ongoing ministry of the local church and our portion of the ongoing ministry of the district and the global church. We believe that when God's people are faithful in giving their tithes, then the needs of the church will be met. That is why we don't actually collect special offerings for our own needs; nor do we engage in fundraising for our ongoing ministry. This is also why we don't charge a fee for anything that we provide, whether it is books or meals or whatever else. In fact, in my 33+years that God has given me in Whitehorse, I know of only one occasion when we charged a fee to participate in something (and that was done, not for the money, but to reserve seats for those who really wanted to come). We are able to provide what we do without added cost because we believe the source of income for the church is the tithe; and people have been very faithful in giving their tithes.
Are there more offerings coming up?
There are always special offerings coming up. We don't apologize for that because we don't "push" them either. We simply let people know that there are these needs, beyond our own local church needs, and we give you an opportunity to give an "offering" towards it. If you can, great. If you can't, that's fine. No shame in that. Give as the Lord enables you.
What are some of those offerings?
Let's see.... without thinking too hard... (and I'm sure I'll miss some) we usually receive these offerings throughout the year:
- Thanskgiving Offering (for World Evangelism)
- Compassionate Ministries Offering (usually in December - but also any time there is a global need).
- Alabaster Offering (in February and September)
- Easter Offering (also for World Evangelism)
- Deputation Offering (when we have a visiting missionary - for a project they want to undertake)
So there you have it... a summary of what our "tithes" and "offerings" are all about.
Thank you so much for your continued faithfulness. If you have any questions, we are always delighted to provide information.