It's Not Just About Money

On any given Sabbath around the Northwest, offering plates are passed just as they have been for decades. Whatever drops in, from tithe envelopes to loose change, begins its journey through an Adventist system that has garnered grudging praise from other denominations for its ability to spread resources where they are needed most.

Apparently Northwest Adventists still believe in that system. Year-end figures for 2005 show that our members increased their tithes significantly compared with 2004. That’s great news!

How do you relate to tithes and offerings? Do you understand how the church handles these funds? Do you agree with how they are distributed? What word do you think best describes tithe: obligation, tax, or privilege? How would you respond to the following statements.

Those who believe the Adventist Church has a specific prophetic mission are likely to engage with time, talent and financial support. Those who attend church mainly for fellowship do not necessarily embrace the larger mission of the world-wide church.

Older members are more comfortable with systematic giving to a general fund or "storehouse" which the church uses to fund various ministries. Younger generations are more interested in specific project giving, where they can see direct results.

Our tithe-collection system still depends on the quickly declining modes of cash or personal checks. Today, more and more people, both young and old, use debit cards or Internet banking—which simply do not work with conventional tithe envelopes.

The more each member understands specific examples of how tithe dollars are translating into actual church mission growth, the more confidence he or she will have in the process. And, in this information-weary age, it takes multiple tries to get our attention.

I’d like to hear your perspective. Choose the Let's Talk button at www.gleaneronline.org, or e-mail me at steve.vistaunet@nw.npuc.org. I'll look forward to your response.

As I see it, tithing is not just about money. How we respond speaks worlds about our connection with God and the mission He has asked us and this Church to fulfill. I believe it expands our focus from a 10 percent monthly gift to a 100 percent full-time relationship with the original Giver.

March 01, 2006 / Let's Talk
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