Making Sure It's a God Thing

Melissa's church is starting a capital campaign and asking for pledges. Melissa wants to pay off her house early, so she and her husband are feeling guilty for not giving more to the church.

QUESTION: Melissa in Atlanta and her husband are debt-free except the house. Their church is starting a capital campaign and asking for pledges. Melissa wants to pay off her house early, so she and her husband are feeling guilty for not giving more to the church. Dave talks through her emotions with her.

ANSWER: I believe in tithing as an evangelical Christian. I’ve read and studied this for years, and I’ve done it for years to where I give a tenth of my income to my local church. That is as giving it as unto the Lord and not the church. It’s God’s money. Past that, I want to be very careful that I don’t give to the church but then instead I give to God. Sometimes in these capital campaigns, the arm-twisting can be pretty severe. You don’t owe the church. It’s not a country club. You have to ask yourself, is this God’s mission? And if you believe it’s God’s mission, do you believe you’re called to financially participate in this mission?

Is this building that’s being built a God thing or is it just more of the same? I’m not saying it’s either. I don’t know, but that’s the way Sharon and I would ask the question in our minds when we decide whether or not we would give to a capital campaign. We would not give to a capital campaign that included debt because we’re not going to enable people doing God’s work to go into debt by our giving.

It’s a committed pledge, and that’s fine. And it’s a faith-based pledge, meaning that if your life changed substantially, you wouldn’t be morally held to that pledge.

These fundraising people run a program. You want to be real careful what the messages are around this, and you have to make sure that those messages are ones you buy into. I’ve been involved in those things where I was made to feel like I was a substandard part of the community if I didn’t give a huge portion. That’s not a God thing. That’s just a manipulation thing. I don’t play well with that. If there’s debt involved, I for sure am not going to do it in my case because I don’t believe in debt. I’m not going to finance any ministry to assist them in going into debt. That would be oxymoronic for me. I spend my whole life getting people out of debt because I don’t believe in it. Those things come into play when we make our giving decisions.

My challenge for you would be to decide if you think this is giving to God or is it something else? Don’t give because of toxic manipulation. Give if you believe God is telling you to give because He’s got something He’s doing here. Sometimes that involves a building. I’m fine with that. Is this a God thing? Is that really what’s going on here? Or did they hire a company to come in from the outside and twist everybody’s arms?

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