Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.
When the church was born, the believer knew they could die for their faith. Yet, their response wasn’t to hold back gifts to the church. Rather, it was to give more. Their giving went to the extreme, that everyone in the early church sold all their valuables, and gave the proceeds to the church. While fear, concern, and even worry are common, almost expected responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, here are five reasons to continue to give to your local church during this time of uncertainty.
1. Church bills and salaries need to be paid. Many of us are looking forward to, with great anticipation, the first Sunday churches can gather together once again to worship the Lord. Some churches are even planning an Easter-like celebration, since Easter Sunday will be very different this year. What if the electricity or some other utility is turned off because the church couldn’t pay? What if the pastor had to work a secular job that Sunday because the church couldn’t pay him? Then what should have been a joyful Sunday, will have a new set of struggles.
2. Many churches are using resources to help those in need. Like the church in Jerusalem, many churches are finding ways to provide for members and those in the communities around them. These ministries take resources. Churches are typically good about stretching funds to help others, and they do not have the overhead the government has.
3. Seminary training is still happening. All of our SBC seminaries are still actively training future pastors and missionaries. The Cooperative Program (CP), which every SBC church is supposed to give to, helps underwrite the cost of that theological education. The people our churches send out into ministry can attend these schools at roughly half the rate of other students. Your church helps provide those educational dollars, but the only way your church can give, is if you give.
4. Missionaries are still on the field. It is true that some of our short-term international missionaries have had to cut their assignments short because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But, the overwhelming majority of missionaries are still on the field, finding ways to share the gospel in their context. This pandemic is opening doors to the gospel in difficult-to-reach places. As such, our best hope of sharing the gospel in this moment is to keep our missionaries on the field as long as possible. Half of your church’s CP gifts go to support our missionaries outside of North America.
5. Giving shows your faith is in God, not man. All that you have, all that you see, is the Lord’s. We are called to be stewards of His possessions. When we hold back our gifts to the Lord out of fear, we are saying to God that we don’t trust he can provide for us. The Bible is clear, our help comes from the Lord, not the federal, state, or local government. When we give to the Lord’s work, even in the midst of crisis, we are showing others, and ourselves that we are not trusting in man to save or provide for us.
There are many ways you can give to your church in the days ahead. You can mail a check or in most cases your bank can set up mailing an offering to your church. Some churches are set up to take credit or debit cards. Some churches can even receive offerings via a text message.
I encourage you to contact your church to see what ways are available to your congregation and then be faithful to give, maybe even more than you have given in the past.
Hans Wunch serves as associational missions strategist for Mallary Baptist Association.