Dear RiverTown Family,
The Time Has Come..! Your official 2016, second-quarter, mid-summer, financial update and giving statement is ready!
If you have contributed to the ministry of RiverTown Church any time in the last three months, then you should receive it in the mail this week. If not, then please contact our office and we’ll make sure you get it right away. It is important to us that our records are correct. Please take a few moments and check it for accuracy. Every gift is valuable, appreciated, and needed to fund God’s work – Especially throughout the Summer!
You may not know this, but Pastors and church leaders often tread through the summer months with more than a little concern about inconsistent finances. In fact, a pastor from the northeast called me just yesterday. He was one of 32 amazing men of God selected to travel together on my recent trip to Israel. This is his first summer pastoring a new church plant. The conversation brought back so many memories of times when RiverTown members struggled to tithe consistently over the summer months.
Here’s the truth that has made each summer tithing season at RiverTown less fearful and more faith-filled. “Summer is PREDICTABLE, but people are POWERFUL! Over time God always raises up within every church family those people who put Him first in their tithes and offerings, no matter what season of the year it is.”
The conversation with my new pastor friend made me even more grateful for the years you and I have walked together. I also began to think about how the process of developing financial faithfulness in tithing works inside a church family. We should all be growing and finding more and more freedom financially. We are all on the path of learning to trust God completely when it comes to money.
So, today I wanted to take some time and simply describe the growth stages I have seen and the places people get stuck. I hope you can identify where you are and what God’s next step should be in your life. We all need encouragement and God’s power on the path of learning to crawl, walk, and run toward the goal of becoming faithful tithing disciples of Christ!
1. Long Term Tithers: You have seen again and again that God is able to provide a better, fuller, and more satisfying life for you and your family when you live exclusively on 90% of your God-given income instead of 100%. You still celebrate every time God miraculously provides more of what you really need even though you return His tithe to Him off the top of all your increase. Walking with God through tithing is normal for you and now you’re yearning to run!
2. New Nervous Tithers: Like a toddler learning to walk in our TykeTown preschool, you’ve just now learned how to stand up before your Father. You’ve taken your first tithing steps the last few times you received your earnings. You really gave a full 10%. But, your tithing legs get tired after a few steps and your (bank) balance easily falters. It’s hard, but you know down deep in your heart that you were never meant to stay on the floor or be carried by other people’s gifts.
3. Trying To Tithe: Every single month you pray and tell yourself, “Next month I’m going to do it. I promise you God! I know I need to do it and I really want to, but something always gets in the way. I give what I can Lord, but 10% is a lot! Besides, I’m honestly just waiting on you to convince my wife (or my husband). I’m really trying!” The only problem with trying is that it’s not the same as trusting. It takes a lot of faith and trust for a little child to take his first step. Most of us would have never done it without complete trust that our mother or father would catch us if we fall. You’ll never do it while looking down at the floor. The best thing you can do is to lock eyes with your heavenly father, hold on to him with both hands, and take that first step!
4. Regular Contributors: You give out of your resources every time you come to church. You would never think of letting the offering basket go by without giving. You regularly donate $10, $20, even $50! As your pastor I just want to say that every gift matters and every giver matters. You have begun to crawl in your movement toward tithing and as the saying goes, “You’ve got to crawl before you can walk!” Your only need is to search out the big blessing of tithing for yourself. You can honestly ask God to show you the truth and give you the strength to stand up and take his hand. Then, you’ll be well on your way toward that first big step of faith when you give your full tithe!
5. Avoiding The Subject: You simply avoid the subject. You may have even avoided reading the other growth stages above and found yourself here first. Most likely you are either protecting what you have earned, or you have a lot of pain and fear in every situation that involves money. You may have a long list of reasons inside your head about why you and others don’t tithe. You could have been taught wrongly that tithing is not for today, or you could have a secret distrust of church leaders. My message to you is that God wants to heal your heart. Your pain, fear, distrust, or lack of funds is not God’s will! It was never his will for you to be hurt and lacking in this area. God loves you and is not angry with you about your desire to avoid this subject. However, like a loving father who wants the best for his children, He longs for you to climb out of the financial baby crib. You serve a God who loves you enough to never leave you alone about tithing. He doesn’t want to extract tithing from you. He knows that you’ll never find your financial future with Christ if fear prevents you from taking your first step.
Our loving Father’s desire is to give us the practice of tithing as a gift. He wants tithing FOR me, not FROM me. He longs for all His children to live the rich experience of giving AND receiving. This Summer, through HIS power, You can crawl. You can walk. And, you can RUN!
Pastor David Rathel
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31