You may have noticed we don’t often take an offering in our gatherings, and we don’t use the word “tithe.” Allow us to explain. Tithing” (giving a percentage of your harvest to God) is Biblical in the Old Covenant. It was the basis of a Monotheistic society and existed in place of a taxation system. What is not Biblical is to take the Old Covenant culture, context, and Law and teach it in a New Covenant reality, placing believers under pressure, expectation, or obligation to give at least 10% of their income to the church to “be Godly,” “pleasing to God,” or to “righteous.
The Apostles and early church leaders had many opportunities to teach new converts who believed Jesus was the Messiah that they should stop tithing to the Temple system and tithe to them, and they never did. Instead, they taught a whole new way of handling finances, with grace and generosity, through God and to those around them as they formed a Spirit-filled community built upon Jesus!
Let us be clear: There is nothing wrong with the word “tithe.” For many of us, “tithing” has been a part of our spiritual journey of faith in Christ. We do not desire to cast any doubt on how you have handled your finances before God. You have done well because giving to the Lord, whatever word you use, is about the heart to honor God, care for others, and steward the resources He has given you.
There are two main reasons you won’t often hear us use the word “tithe.”
The first is because it is a word that carries baggage due to poor teaching on the topic. Unfortunately for some, it is a word that has been used to hurt or capture them into religious performance, leaving them spiritually manipulated or wounded. Misunderstanding and misapplication of Old Testament scripture can confuse and wound us by placing us under performance, or Law, rather than teaching us a better way: to steward our freedom, including our finances.
The second reason is that the word “tithe” won’t make sense to the average person who doesn’t have a church background. One of our goals is to simplify the words we say so that we make sense to someone who has been following Jesus their whole life and someone who has come into our church for the first time today. A person new to faith in Jesus might understand the concept of giving, supporting a non-profit cause, or crowdfunding because that type of thing is prevalent in our culture. So, to invite people to come into a financial partnership with us through faithful and generous giving is intuitive for our society. At the same time, tithing is a foreign word that is unnecessary for us to employ when talking about finances. When you give a financial gift, partnering with Living Waters financially through FAITHFUL and GENEROUS giving, you are making an offering to the Lord, and it is pleasing to Him. Not because you follow Old Testament Law or tradition or because you give a certain amount or percentage. It is how you give (freely) and why you give (in obedience to His leading, to honor Him, share what you have, and help spread the Good News of Jesus) that enables us to confidently say your giving has honored Him.
Why Does This Matter To Us?
We don’t want people giving money to Living Waters out of religious confusion, legalism, or compulsion. As a community, we would rather tighten the budget than unintentionally or intentionally manipulate people to give to our cause, cover our bills, care for our buildings, and pay the salaries of our team. We want to be as honest as possible with our needs and finances, trust the Lord to speak to hearts, bring increase, and lead us as a Christ-centered community of generosity.
Our responsibility before God, and goal for finances given into this community, is that they would be accountable, trackable, and reportable. We want people who give to see that we effectively empower believers, equip leaders, build up disciples, and spread the Good News of Jesus and His Kingdom while serving our city and region.
If we are not living under the Old Testament Law, which would free us from having to “tithe,” why should someone give to meet the needs of their church leaders, their church, those around them in need, and other Christian ministries?
A God to Honor
Giving of what God has given to us is the basis for Christian giving. The humility to acknowledge that nothing we have belongs to us and has been given to us by God allows us to understand that everything we now “possess” is His, came to us from Him, and will ultimately return to Him.
A Blessing to Share
Giving to others and into His work on the earth enables us to impact others through our generosity. We are blessed as we give to others, invest in their lives, and see their material needs met. As Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive. ‘ (Acts 20:35).
A Miracle to Experience
When we live in generosity, we live by faith and experience His miraculous ability to provide for us. Time and again, we have seen God ask people to give, and time and again, we have seen God provide miraculously. When God prospers us, it is always for Kingdom purpose, not to accumulate! We are resourced to invest in Kingdom work! (Phil. 4:18-20; Mark 10:30)
A Place to Call Home
Our giving supports and blesses the place we come to church and the people who invest in our spiritual growth. We are a family, and we must work together to take care of our home and each other. Living Waters exists solely because of your generosity of regular donations. We have no other means of income to draw on.
A Cause You Can Believe In
Our giving increases our ability to advance the Kingdom of Jesus, share His Gospel, love our city, and invest in our team. By combining our finances, resources, gifts, and passions, momentum will increase, and much will be accomplished for Jesus, His cause, and our specific assignment in this valley.
At Living Waters, we want people to give because they are in partnership with us, not under a religious obligation. That is why we invite people to give FAITHFULLY (monthly, ongoing) and GENEROUSLY (gifts above and beyond your monthly giving, often out of a season of abundance or for a certain need or goal that arises).