I have to be honest… when we began Crossing Community about 6 years ago I hated the idea of ‘passing the plate.’ I thought it communicated that we were too focused on taking people’s money and that we might offend a newcomer to the church. As happens often times, you begin doing something one way and then you continue because that is way it has been done. You become comfortable. For any idea to be above constant evaluation in the faith is dangerous. With the exception of the Bible being the foundation of everything, we must constantly evaluate our purposes, strategies, and vision. Some things will never change. However, if we are truly growing in our understanding of the scriptures and our relationship with Jesus then other things MUST change.
Worship is a response to God for who he is, and what he has done and continues to do in our lives. We respond in worship through every aspect of our lives. That includes all of our resources from time and spiritual gifts all the way to our MONEY (gasp!). Those who are shepherds at the church (elders) are the ones who should be teaching us how to think about worship. They should be teaching us how to participate in worship. They should also be modeling worship for us. With the Sunday gathering being a culmination of our worship, it must include all of these elements.
Through continued study of scripture and constant prayer, our elders were convicted by the way we approached giving. We preach the entire bible in a way that is unashamed and unapologetic because it is the truth. We don’t alter anything in our approach to ministry in order to make it more palatable for those who do not have a relationship with Jesus. We understand from scripture that our calling is to proclaim the truth through engaging, equipping, and empowering homes for gospel transformation and then depend on God to change hearts.
The way we approached giving, honestly, was not consistent with all of our other biblical convictions. So, we made the change. We began creating a time in our Sunday morning gathering to ‘pass the plate’ (baskets, actually). Yes, it felt really awkward when we began and it still does a little bit. However, worship includes the giving of our finances. Adding that time in our worship gathering has allowed us to shepherd our people in a biblical way. We are now able to talk about worshipful giving each week and model that act of worship for everyone who is present.
Last, it also provides those of us who are parents the opportunity to demonstrate this act of worship to our children. This is a very tangible act of discipleship for our church leaders and for our parents as those little minds and hearts are learning what it means to worship in a biblical way.
Over our 15 years of marriage, learning to tithe to God’s church was one of the most faith-building obstacles for us. It demands true faith in our homes because it is a practical way we communicate that our Savior is more important than our own desires. It also communicates faith in God’s perfect and sanctifying provision in our lives.
We wrestled through this as a young married couple and have seen God bless that faithfulness in ways that are quantifiable, as well as in ways that are deeply sanctifying. We have countless stories of God’s miraculous provision through those moments of faithful obedience.
Has this been a struggle for you and your home? Would you be so bold as to share how God has worked on your heart (or your children’s hearts) in this area of worship?