We give in order to partner with Jesus to serve our city. We dream of becoming a church marked by radical generosity with a significant portion of our budget going directly to evangelism (telling others about Jesus) and justice (serving and caring for the forgotten children of our city and our world).
Q1. Why should I give?
Giving is about worship, relationship, and mission. God uses our giving to grow our faith and our impact for his kingdom, personally and collectively. It’s not just about keeping the lights on, it’s about what God wants to do in our hearts and in our city. That’s why Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” In God’s economy, when we honor the Lord with our time, talent and treasure he actually blesses us.
Q2. Where do I start with giving?
Giving starts with trust. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Trust that God is good, that he will provide, that he loves you. Trust that his grace is sufficient. Trust that Christ is enough. As you begin this process, spend some time meditating on Jesus. Ask the Holy Spirit to soften your heart and open your mind to being captivated by him. Helpful scriptures to pray through include Isaiah 61; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:15-23; and Hebrews 4:14-16. You might fast (simply skip a meal one day a week and use the time to read scripture and pray) and allow the Holy Spirit to soften your heart and grow your faith as you realize your dependence on him for everything in your life. Then ask God how he would you have me Step Into your mission and Step Out in faith with my time, talent and treasure.
Q4. Why is my commitment so important?
The majority of our funding (91%) comes from commitments which helps inform our budgeting process. The remain 9% comes from the weekly offering. While our budget is developed in faith that the Lord will provide, our commitments help our community plan responsibly.
Q4. How much should I give?
Giving is less about a set percentage or discerning a biblical formula. It’s a matter of worship, relationship and mission. Think about how you spend money on people you love. You usually don’t start by asking how much do I have to spend. You ask how much can I spend. Similarly, in our relationship with God, the question isn’t “how much do I have to give?,” it is “how can I live in such a way that I can give more?” Our giving is a joyful and loving response to God’s radical love and generosity in Jesus.
This was true of giving in the Old Testament. Tithing, which comes from the Hebrew word for 10%, was the practice of God’s people before Jesus. Interestingly, this practice included multiple tithes and offerings (Levitical, Festival and Poor) which total more than 20% of a person’s income. In the New Testament, no specific percentages or amounts are stipulated. Instead, we encounter a community so transformed by Christ that they give joyfully, generously, and lovingly to meet the needs of others and for the sake of God’s mission.
Practically speaking, if we all collectively give it makes a huge difference. As a rule of thumb, if you have never given you might set a goal of working towards giving 10% of your AGI. If you already give 10%, you can begin working to increase your giving percentage over time.
Q5. How do we use God’s financial resources at Apostles?
Each December, the elected Leadership Committee at Apostles approves the budget for the following year. The budget is set based on giving commitments from the prior year’s giving campaign and the budget consists of two parts – operating and non-operating. The operating budget represents the ordinary everyday expenses for people and place. Our operating budget for 2018 is $650,000. The non-operating budget includes principal and interest payments for our church property, outreach efforts and a contribution to the Diocese based on 10% of our operating budget. For 2018, the non-operating budget totals $300,000. This means the operating budget is approximately two-thirds of the total 2018 budget of $950,000. Or it is helpful to think of our budget this way — for every $100 in the operating budget, we presently spend $55 on salaries and administrative costs plus $9 for buildings and grounds and $5 on church ministry programs. For every $100 in the non-operating budget, we spend $14 on interest and loan repayments, $3 for capital improvements, $7 for missional outreach efforts and give $7 to support Diocesan ministry.
Q6. How are we stewarding God’s resources?
Heading toward the end of the year, our expenses are in line with our 2018 Budget and year-to-date collections are on pace to help us meet the budgeted amount of $950,000. It is worth noting that we typically receive over 40% of gifts in the last three months of the year. Ideally, from a cash flow perspective, we would like to have a more even distribution of gifts throughout the year.
In 2018, we have had 55 households that have given money to Apostles with many of those also lending their time and talents to making Apostles what it is today. With 55 households and an average of 3 people per household, Apostles has tripled in size from its humble beginnings. It’s exciting to think about what the next five years might look like.
Q7. What is our goal?
In the next 5 years, we’d like to significantly increase our commitment to spending on ministry (LifeGroups, Children, Youth, Worship, Teaching and Discipleship etc.) and mission (evangelism through Alpha and local partnerships with places like Love Elementary, LifeHouse and Fostering Hope as well as developing global partnerships with missional organizations) while continuing to pay down the note for our 14th St. Property, which has appreciated significantly since the time of purchase. These goals are outlined in the chart below: