There are many ingredients that come together to make a church grow. The most important, in my opinion, is the Spirit of God moving in and through a redeemed (saved) people to draw others to Jesus. In addition, there are other ingredients such as a church’s willingness to go, be sent, or live on mission, as well as their submission to Jesus and allowing the Spirit of God and the Word to conform them into his image.
But the one that I want to mention briefly is the ingredient giving. In terms of a church’s capacity to grow, both spiritually and numerically, it is incumbent upon a church to possess the ingredient of giving. If a church fails to give, they are almost destined not to grow.
A church’s giving should reflect the giving of Jesus. How did Jesus give? We see that Jesus gave generously, sacrificially, willingly, and humbly. No one forced Jesus to willingly give his life as a ransom for sinners. In addition a church’s giving should be reflected holistically. In other words, just as Jesus and the early church exemplifies, giving should be expressed in our time, talents, treasures, and in our thanksgiving (attitude, countenance).
Therefore, the giving of our time, talents, treasures, and thanksgiving should be offered generously, sacrificially, willingly, and humbly. Think about it this way: just as a farmer, a church reaps what she sows. Churches (an assembly of believers) should be sowing their time, talents, treasures, and thanksgiving, and they should be sowing in a way that is generous, sacrificial, willing, and humble. If a church is not sowing, they will not be reaping. If a church is not sowing abundantly, they will not reap abundantly.
Just imagine a church filled with the Holy Spirit, mobilized to be sent-out living on mission, and growing in their understanding Jesus and the gospel; and imagine this same church possessing this ingredient (this spirit) of Jesus-like giving. A church that possesses these ingredients becomes positioned and postured for God to maximize their use as his missional people in the world.
My prayer is for our church, Western Oaks, to be a giving church—to be an assembly of believers that reflects the generosity, sacrifice, willingness, and humility of Jesus. I pray that we embody this way of giving in all areas of our life. With our time, I pray that we devote ourselves to corporate worship, a community group, an area of service, and living intentionally on mission. With our talents, I pray that we would use our giftedness and our availability to serve the body, which can be done at our corporate worship gatherings, community group gatherings, or when other needs arise. With our treasures, I pray that we would be generous and feel the weight of our (financial) generosity as we give towards the advancement of the gospel, investing into the kingdom of God. With our thanksgiving, I pray that we would be a church that has an attitude, a countenance, and aura about us that is glad, joyful, praising, gracious, and infectious, which can only originate fully from a life that understands and has embraced the gospel.
Having this kind of giving opens up the floodgates for a church’s capacity to grow.