Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Conversation of Worship - We Respond to God Through Giving

We respond to God through giving.

An equally important part of the worship service is the time of corporate offering. The offering is giving back to God from what he has given to us. Its roots are found in the Old Testament worship of God as well as in the New Testament life of the church. 1 Chronicles 16:29 is an example of the Scriptures that show giving as a part of worship:

Ascribe to the LORD the glory due His name;

Bring an offering, and come before Him;

Worship the LORD in holy array.

2 Corinthians 9:5-14 lays out some of the New Testament teaching on giving. While the offering described in 2 Corinthians 9 was a specific offering the needs of others saints, the general principles of giving can be derived from this passage. In this passage, Paul encourages the believers to give generously (vv. 2-6, 10-14), according to their personal pledge (v. 7), depending on God (v. 8), and from the heart because God loves a cheerful giver (v. 7). This giving then results in the needs of the saints being met and thanksgiving and glory to God (vv. 12-13). These principles, and others found in the New Testament, guide our worship of giving.

The offering should not be regarded as simply a time to raise the money needed to run the church, nor should it should become a time of brow-beating and manipulation. It is a time of worship during which the church body responds to God by giving to the body of Christ. The offering is taken, not with great fanfare, but with a sense of humble and thankful worship.

Many churches today have stopped taking a public offering, choosing instead to place offering boxes in various locations around the place where the church meets.[1] This has the potential of robbing the people of God of the corporate worship of giving in unison. A church would be wise to consider ways in which they can make it clear that the offering is not for visitors, but for the people of the church, while stressing that participation in the offering is an act of grateful and obedient worship.

[1] Some have done this in order to not offend visitors who believe that “Churches just want your money.” Others have done this to maintain secrecy in giving, claiming Matthews 6:3-4 as a basis. Neither of these reasons seem convincing to this author.


Jim Peet said...

I would appreciate your comments on on-line giving and use of bill pay.

Some do not write checks. Payment is sent to the church via bill pay or ACH transaction.

Is this a detriment to worship? How should the church handle these new technologies?

Larry said...

Sorry not to have responded for so long.

I am not in favor of these methods of giving. But I suppose there is perhaps room for it. Perhaps in some sense it is no different than people mailing their checks (although giving through some of these on line means involves a cost).

I like the idea of the church doing it together.