Connecting Vision and Giving at CalTab
The diversity of this church is wonderful. We come from many nations, cultures and religious backgrounds. We also have a wide diversity in economic situations, from those living on disability to company owners and entrepreneurs. With such diversity come many ideas and attitudes toward money, debt and giving. Here is a brief explanation on our position regarding finances, the church and discipleship.
We believe that the Bible (Old and New Testaments) teaches believers to invest financially in the kingdom of God via the local church. For Israel this was via the Temple in Jerusalem. All our tithes and offerings should be given with joy, out of love for God and with sincere generosity. It is not a donation to a charity but an act of worship to God our Savior (2 Corinthians 9:6-‐7).
At CalTab we believe that the only way to understand life and our discipleship is to view it through the lens of the gospel. Generosity is a standard by which the kingdom of God operates. “…give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” Mark 6:38
In 2 Corinthians 8:9, Paul discusses the effect the gospel should have on the way Christians understand our spiritual wealth: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” This wealth is not money, but rather the richness of our salvation. In light of this new state, we view all material things differently.
Christ’s sacrificial love for us and His gift of eternal life helps us develop a healthy attitude toward our material possessions, and become people who are both generous and joyful. The love of Christ towards us, so powerfully demonstrated on the cross, motivates us to invest in the eternal kingdom of God and His mission. “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'” Acts 20:35
The gospel calls us to recognize that everything we have is a gift from God — and that those gifts are to be used for His glory and to further His kingdom. Disciples are caretakers of God’s gifts and truth (1 Peter 4:10; 1 Corinthians 4:1). At the core of our discipleship is a stewardship of our material possessions and finances.
Ways to give.
Sunday services. Each Sunday you have an opportunity to give during the service. The use of the provided envelopes helps the church administrator record your giving. Without your name no giving record can be made for tax purposes.
Online giving (eGiving) is encouraged as this saves on time spent on counting and banking the Sunday offering. It is safer than handling checks and cash on the premises. Online giving offers a secure and seamless way to give from wherever you are. No need to be in the service. You just need an Internet connection. You fully control your giving, you have options as to which account to draw the funds from and you can print your own giving records. Sign up at www.caltabag.com/giving.
Text giving will soon be available. This allows you to give directly from your smart phone.
The advantage of electronic giving is that you do not need a checkbook or cash with you at church. Forgetting these at home in the rush to church means that you can still tithe.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is generosity?
Generosity is about being kind, giving with abundance and without selfish expectation of anything in return. Being generous involves us investing in others by giving money and material resources to God. It is motivated by what Jesus Christ has done for us on the cross. As God “did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all” (Romans 8:32), so our attitude toward God and our neighbors should be one of cheerful generosity, often involving some degree of sacrifice on the part of the giver. It is not only the wealthy that are called to generosity. 2 Corinthians 8:4
But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 1 John 3:17
Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. Acts 4:32-35
Generosity in giving is an attitude of love practiced towards God via God’s people in the local church. Tithing is an act of worship. It should not be confused with donations made to charities, such as an animal shelter. Donations are good, we call that philanthropy.
What is stewardship?
God created Adam and Eve to be for stewards of Paradise (Genesis 1:28). A steward is a person who has been entrusted with, and who manages, another’s resources according to the owner’s vision and values. The last part of that sentence is very important. As the church belongs to God, not the members, His vision and purpose for the church drives both our giving and our use of His resources. Stewards have authority to manage the resources of God and are also accountable to God (1 Corinthians 4:1; 1 Peter 4:10). We are stewards of the gospel and we are mandated to GO, tell, share and otherwise partner with God in the building of His church.
What is the basis for the tithe?
In the Old Testament, believers were required to give a tenth of their income to the support of the ministry (the Levites) and the needs of the poor (the widows, fatherless and orphans). The New Testament teaches that we should give as we are “able and even beyond our ability” (2 Corinthians 8:3). At CalTab we use the word “tithe” to refer to 10%, but we also use it as a goal for all disciples to reach for, and even exceed. A tithe may be more than a tenth (10%) and in the spirit of the early church, this desire to give generously included people selling homes and bringing some or all of the proceeds to the church leaders to finance the mission of the church (Acts 5).
Tithing began long before the Ten Commandments were given to Moses. Tithing originated in the Bible with Abram, later called Abraham. Abram’s tithe predates the Law and the beginning of Israel by some 420 years. This is important as it shows us that tithing was an ancient practice some 420 years before God required it of the Jews. Abram was not a Jew although His descendants became the people of Israel (Genesis 14:17-24). In simple terms, the gap between Abram and Moses is 420 years.
Tithing is a response to a relationship we have with God not an obligation, a tax or debt we pay.
Did Jesus mention tithing?
Jesus did not specifically reject the practice, nor did He preach or teach against it. Jesus did make a point of preaching and teaching on a number of specific issues, for example, divorce, remarriage, prideful prayer, adultery, anger, unforgiveness, but tithing He mostly left untouched. In fact He validated its practice for the Jews of His day while teaching that salvation was not in tithing or other similar religious acts (Luke 11:42+18:12).
Do I give 10% of my gross or net income?
Scripture teaches that we are to give back to God our “first fruits” (Exodus 23:16, 19). Proverbs 3:9 encourages us to “honor the Lord with our wealth, with the first fruits of our crops,” meaning the primary and choicest of our possessions. God has modeled “first fruits” by giving us His son, Jesus Christ. Our response to God should reflect our love of and devotion to Him. The idea of “first fruits” comes from an agrarian economy (farming). Income in the form of crops or new born animals would be seasonal, as when a harvest was gathered. Most of us live in cities and earn wages paid on a weekly, biweekly or monthly basis. We need to translate this “first fruits” principle into our contemporary economy without robbing God.
It is true that some people are compensated both in cash and benefits. In some cases those benefits can add up to a good deal (as high as 50%) of the total value of the compensation. To tithe on the total (gross) out of the cash income (net) can put disproportionate pressure on a person’s disposable income. Tithing for Christians is not in our view meant to make people poor or result in guilt. It is not about performance. It is not a religious duty, which if done well becomes a source of pride. Tithing on the gross is the goal, but as discussed below, may for some, take a while to achieve.
What if I am unable to give 10% right now?
Everything has a beginning, even faith. Each person who comes to the place of following Christ does so at an economic stage of life. God not only redeems my soul, He also redeems my finances! We all have financial responsibilities we should meet and so we encourage new believers to ensure that their financial affairs are well managed, as this is part of our witness, our testimony that Jesus has saved us from our sins. For some people, 10% is too low a starting point. For others, giving even 3% is a big sacrifice. The goal of discipleship is to increase one’s commitment up to and above 10%. The point is to start where you are and grow in your giving as you increasingly manage your finances in a way that honors God.
Does all of my tithe and offering go to CalTab?
Your gift is an act of personal worship to God in response to His grace in your life and the gift of His Son. If you consider CalTab to be your “home church,” you should consider allocating a significant portion of your tithe and offering to the community where you invest most of your time and where others are investing in you. We encourage you to first invest in the ministry of CalTab, and then beyond that to other opportunities as God leads you.
Can I give time or other material things instead of money?
Disciples serve the vision of God by serving in the local church and beyond in our cities and in the nations. We do this with our time and abilities. This is normal Christianity. Serving is not a substitute for tithes and offerings.
How does CalTab fulfill its vision?
A missionary established this church in 1922. Through all the ensuing years, it has been able to fulfill the command of Jesus to be a witness in this city and far beyond the borders of the United States. This has been possible because of the tithes and offerings of the people who have loved God and invested in the ministry of this church. Starting in 1922, the income of CalTab has come from individuals who gave on a weekly basis. The giving of each person enables us to build the faith community we call our spiritual home here at CalTab. It enables us to fund mission here locally and in countries God has led us to invest in. Our mission activities are funded through mission pledges made in October of each year.
Does the church report individual giving records to the IRS?
No, the church does not report individual giving to the IRS. If we have your name and address, you will receive a record of your giving at the end of the year, which is for you to use in your tax return, should you wish to do so.
When is the best time to tithe?
Make it a personal discipline to tithe the first Sunday after payday. If you tithe electronically, do this the day you get paid (usually a Friday). Pay this first before anything else. You will not grow your kingdom generosity if you put your giving last in your spending / budget. If you do this it means that your giving comes out of what is left over. This is not the right way to manage your giving When developing a budget, put giving at the top. Pay it first.
Use this chart to calculate your giving. It assumes monthly giving.
- Where are you now on this chart?
- Where do you want to be?
- Where does God want you to be?
- List several action steps you are willing to take in the next 30 -‐ 90 days that will help you move in the right direction.
- Consider some changes you need to make to your spending / budget.
- Shift your giving to the top of the list.
- Calculate this as a percentage of your income (gross or net – just start the journey). Use the chart to help you.
- Identify what you can reduce or even do without in your budget. Put this into action. This can be simple things such as:
- Brew coffee at home instead of stopping in at __________.
- Get a cheaper entertainment package (TV). Do you need ALL those channels?
- Eat in more often.
- Eat out less often.
- Sell the junk you have and don’t replace it with other junk you don’t need.
- Think three times before just buying that new set of wheels, or clothing based on desire rather than need.
- Get out of debt! Pay off all credit cards. If you use a credit card be disciplined about your use of the credit you have. Build a good credit score. This will save you money when you do need to borrow such as for a car or home.