The Bible is clear that all Christians should give a proportion of their money away for two primary reasons:
- Stewardship – Everything we have is from God. We’re only stewards of His wealth and we are to steward all he has given us in order to give Him glory and to do good to others (1 Chronicles 29.11-14)
- Worship – Since God gave up His son for us, we now look to respond by giving everything we have back to Him, as an act of worship (Romans 12.1)
Let’s assume we are convinced we should give some of our money away. The obvious question becomes…how much?
And the question can be asked in two ways:
- How much…what is the minimum I can give away?
- How much…what is the maximum I get to give away?
I know for myself, and I am guessing for you, too, the question is nearly always asked in the first way, which is revealing of our hearts. To think about ‘what is the minimum’ you have to do in any area, whether in a relationship, a job, your walk with God, financial giving, raising kids, is to ask the wrong question.
Let’s think about how much God gives for a moment…
He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will He not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? (Romans 8.32)
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. (2 Corinthians 8.9)
If God had asked himself the question ‘what is the minimum I have to give?’ there would have been no salvation for us. God had to give it all, and Jesus became poor, so we could become rich.
Our heart’s motivation
When we understand this as the motivation of our heart, the question becomes ‘how much do I get to give?’ The fact that we don’t ask ourselves that question already only reveals how little of the gospel we understand.
When the Corinthian church understood the gospel, what did they do? Paul says (2 Corinthians 8.3):
For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own.
So instead of asking the question ‘how much do I have to?’ start asking the question ‘what do I get to?’ When that happens, you know your heart has been transformed by the gospel.
By the way, this applies not only to money but to all the other things God has given us that we are stewards of and are to worship him through; time, talents, treasures, position, influence, skills, homes, families, relationships, etc., etc.
So let’s assume that you are convinced you’re to give some of your resources away AND you’ve understood the gospel and your heart is being changed to look instead at how much you can give away. The obvious question arises…what about the tithe?
Tithe means ‘tenth’ and it was a principle that was laid down in the Old Testament law for the people of God. But there wasn’t one ‘tithe’ but multiple tithes. So, as Andreas Kostenberger and David Croteau show, if you added all the different tithes that an Israelite would have paid under the Mosaic law it would have come to about 22-23% of their income. Now there were two main reasons for the tithe:
- Ministry – to support the priests and others who were ‘full time’ in the temple and couldn’t earn their own money (e.g Numbers 18:21)
- The Poor – to support and care for the poor (e.g Deuteronomy 26:12)
The tithe is only mentioned once in the New Testament, by Jesus in passing, as he criticised the Pharisees for having the wrong motivations for their giving (Matthew 23:23) because the standard for the Christian is not 10% but the whole-hearted sacrifice of Jesus’ work on the cross.
10% of our income can still act as a guide for us. It should be seen as a great place to start our giving, but a terrible place to finish.
However, for some people, due to life-circumstances and other financial commitments, 10% is too much and 5% would be enormously sacrificial and generous. Remember 10% is only a guide. God is interested in the heart and Jesus once praised a widow who gave two small copper coins above the rich who put in huge amounts of money (Luke 21.1-4).
So let’s assume you’re convinced that Christians should give, your heart wants to do it and you have worked out how much to give, using 10% as a guide…what’s next? Get started!
Here are 5 tips:
- Start small and grow – better to start giving small rather than not give at all.
- Set up a direct debit to CCC – either from that giving account or directly from your main account. Here are all the details of how.
- Fill in the tax back form – read below to see how your gift can go further.
- Set up a ‘giving account’ that has a proportion of your money going into it each month (Paul encouraged something like this in his day – 1 Corinthians 16.1-4)
- Review and be accountable – review your finances each year, and speak about it with a Christian you’re accountable to, to make sure you are ‘growing in the grace of giving’ (2 Corinthians 8.7)
Tax Back after €250 (€21 a month)
As a registered charity, we are able to claim tax back on your giving to our church. This means that it makes the money you give go even further. The Officer of the Revenue Commissioners put it like this:
The Charitable Donation Scheme allows tax relief on qualifying donations made to eligible charities and approved bodies.
If an individual makes a donation of over €250 in the year, the charity or approved body can claim a refund of tax paid on that donation by the donor.
If a company makes a donation of over €250 in the year, the company can claim a tax deduction as if the donation was a trading expense.
There is a four year time limit for making a claim under this scheme.
That means if you give €21 or more each month to CCC, and you are an Irish Tax Payer, we’ll be able to claim tax back on your giving (up to 41%). So for example, if you give €50 to the church each month then that ends up being €70.5 euros (Your €50 donation+the 41% which is €20.5) when the church has claimed the tax back at the end of each year.
So please do download the revenue tax form and fill it in. It takes 2 minutes max and makes a huge difference to us and our work.
Where does the money go?
A natural and important question when considering giving to a church is “where will the money go…will my money be used wisely.” Following the example of the Apostle Paul (see 2 Corinthians 8:19-21) we want to be completely transparent about our finances unless to do so would be illegal, immoral or unfair on an individual, so we publish our AGM each year with all the details. But in summary, the money goes to:
- 52% – Releasing staff members to be able to organise and facilitate mission, community and discipleship in church, and also to grow and develop them as leaders (Ola, Vanessa & Maffy)
- 18% – Hiring the school hall for us to meet each week and midweek
- 11% – giving away to charities and people, local and international
- 6%- Running our Sunday Gatherings
- 2% – The Intro Course
- 11% – weekend away bursaries, support, admin, refreshments, garda vetting, insurance, bank fees, comms, etc.
Going forward we want to invest our money in:
- Raising up more leaders (interns, apprentices & staff)
- A children’s worker – see job spec
- A future pastor/church planter – do read more about our vision become a church-planting-church
- A mercy ministry (starting a CAP centre for example)
Questions & further reading
For more reading do check out:
- The biblical basis for giving and our motivation
- How giving sets our hearts free
- How giving enables us to participate in God’s family and God’s mission
- 2016, 2017 and 2018 AGMs – to see where your donations go and how the church stewards all the money we’re given