In the midst of Mount Ellis Academy's celebration over the $500,000 gift from the Kohl's Cares campaign, Montana Conference leaders independently grappled with a dilemma.
"Should we," they wondered, "pay tithe on this amazing watershed of blessings?" If so, they faced an additional challenge. They couldn't simply slice off 10 percent of the Kohl's Cares fund — it was legally restricted to the MEA project submitted. The money would have to come from some other source.
In a sense, the conference faced the same issues that couples at their kitchen tables around the Northwest have had to decide — do you pay tithe when finances are already so tight? The conference executive committee spent a significant portion of their September 29, 2010, meeting discussing the issue. In the end, they resolved to literally step out in faith by using $50,000 of conference reserves as a thanksgiving tithe. "We believed God would bless," says John Loor Jr., then Montana Conference president, "but we had no way of knowing how He would do that or if our financial reserves would be immediately replenished."
The rest of the story? At the end of October, just a month after this decision, a special financial blessing came to the conference — above and beyond normal tithe. How much was it? It was $60,000 — a 20 percent increase to what they had given in faith. Sort of like a double tithe — a spiritual cherry on top.
"It doesn't shock or surprise us. We've seen God's hand work in the past. His promises are true," – John Loor.