It was never ours

Jesse & Hannah Mee

We began attending First Baptist Church around the time the new building on the Westside was completed. At first, we were not giving to the ministry of the church. Tithing was not emphasized in either of our homes growing up, so we were not keen on the idea of giving OUR money away.

As we formed a deeper connection with our new church, God began to change our hearts. He showed us that the church is a family and we are part of the family. Families take care of one another. We had been just taking what we wanted and needed from the church, but we were not giving back. 

After receiving some education on stewardship, we came to the point of conviction. We realized we were not being obedient to God’s command to give. This disobedience made us see that we were not truly placing our trust in Him. 

Everything we have is from the Lord; it was never OUR money. It was then that we understood that it was our responsibility to give back to God’s ministry what was already HIS. 

God has blessed us with an amazing church family. We both contribute through tithing and in our service. We want to take care of His church and the people in it, so we do our part. 

We believe it is the responsibility of the church membership to support mission trips and ministry budgets, but also to pay for utility bills and staff salaries. We have placed our trust in God’s plan for our church family, and that is why we give. 

Take A Leap

Kevin & Carrie Cook

Being new to the faith, we weren’t as comfortable with some biblical principles as someone who grew up in a Christian household. One of these was faith.

Early in our spiritual journey we struggled with some serious challenges of life, one of which was unemployment. Before we had accepted Christ, Carrie suddenly lost her job. After months of seeking, she decided to place her faith in the Lord. Instead of saying ‘Lord, I’ll be a believer if you’ll find me a job’; she placed her faith entirely in God and prayed for him to do His will.  

For me it was little different, constant worry that we would lose our home and ruin our credit as the savings dwindled down. Finally, I took a leap of faith and gave it all over to the Lord. That’s when things changed. I didn’t care if my wife found a job, nor did I care if we lost our home; I just knew that somehow, it would be alright because it was in God’s hands. 

The result: a couple of months later, a job offer.

Tithing was the same for us. We knew what the word meant, but it ran totally contrary to how we thought about money. After all it’s ours, we earned it right? But having faith, we had to learn to trust in the Lord and follow His Word and believe that all would turn out right.  

When we first came to the church, the church gave to us freely through its fellowship, teachings and spiritual guidance. Tithing is a privilege to give back to God’s house, so the church can give to others. So just set a goal to give, take a leap and have faith that God will make things work out. 

We Tithe To God

Hector & Rendi Gonzales

Most tithing testimonies start with "We didn't think we could afford to tithe". Our testimony is different. We didn't think we could afford NOT to. Not because we had lots of excess money each month, but rather we had recently gone "all in" with our commitment to Christ. Nothing in our lives was more important than growing in our relationship with Him. Work, social engagements, sports, etc. were put second to Him. Notice we didn't say finances. 

We were convicted with how can you say you trust God with your life, health, marriage and children but not your finances? How can you say to your children, "God will always provide," if you are acting contrary by not tithing? To call ourselves Christians, to be true followers of Christ, and not follow God's clear instruction to tithe made us walking hypocrites.

Could we afford it, no. But we often found money for things we couldn't afford, so that really wasn't a legitimate excuse. We decided that if God didn't provide for our mortgage payment after we had given to Him, one of the pastors would have to provide us a comfortable couch to sleep on. It was then we took Malachi 3:10 out for a spin.

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”

It's not often you get to test God, so if He says to test Him, who are we to not listen? 

Did we start with 10%, no, but we started with something that was uncomfortable and scary? It's not fair to say we trust Him with something we could fit into the budget. We needed to start with an amount that forced us to put our faith in God to provide. 

Every time we’ve had an increase in finances we’ve increased our giving. There have been random increases that would make no sense if trying to understand by a human standard. God handled the IRS for us on multiple occasions. Every time God provided money we gave back to Him and He has truly opened the floodgates of blessings.

We don't tithe to AFBC because we want to see our pastors employed. We TITHE to GOD. AFBC is just who God has gifted our money to. Our tithing isn't contingent on anything other than our relationship with Christ and our commitment to loving Him the best we can and following His direction in all aspects of our life. We don't give because of the tax break at tax time. We give because nothing we have is ours, everything is His to start with and we are more interested in our eternal kingdom in heaven than anything on earth.

A Sign of Faithfulness

Dalton Battle

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 

Matthew 6:19-21

Tithing is a word that most church members do not like to hear. Our greatest misconception about money is that it is ours to begin with. We think that the money we earn is our own, and that we can do with it as we please. This is a selfish view of something that was not ours to begin with. God has blessed us with our jobs and livelihood, yet we selfishly cling to something that in the end, we can’t take with us anyway. One of the greatest signs of faithfulness is our ability to trust God to provide for us.

Another reason tithing is so important is because of the role it plays in kingdom work. The money that we give goes straight to the running of our facilities and its effectiveness in the lives of our church. We give not only because we are supposed to and not just because it makes us feel better, but because our giving has an impact in the lives of every single person that walks through the doors of our church. We give back the resources that God has blessed us with so that His name may be made known and we can grow closer to Him. As the church body, we are called to support His church and not let the responsibility slide to our neighbors. No one is perfect in always giving ten percent or more, but we are all called to give sacrificially, trusting that God will take care of us. Tithing should be something we rejoice in. We are helping expand the kingdom. 

A Gift From Heaven

Angella Anderson

Angella Anderson is twelve years old and a part of our Preteen Ministry at AFBC. Recently we had the opportunity to sit down with Angella and discuss the importance of tithing. 

Why do you believe tithing is important?

Tithing means to give money to God. Tithing is important so that the church can have the things they need and do fun stuff. Everyone should tithe.

How do you give each and every week?

I get money from my parents and from doing chores. My Dad helps me do the math and figure out how much and I fill out the envelope. Sometimes it’s only $0.42. 

There’s a story in the Bible about an old lady who had just two coins. The Pharisees were dumping bags and bags of money but she only had two coins, like pennies. She gave all she had. (Mark 12:42-43)

What would you share with our church family to encourage them to be generous?

The Bible says we should give because it’s something God has called us to do. It’s obedience. He put us here and gives us everything we need. He didn’t have to do that. When we give to God we get to have nice things and do fun stuff. It’s a gift from heaven – a blessing.

What Being a Christian Means To Us

Jim & Judy Doorman

You accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.  He paid for our sins, once and for all. There is no other way to God the Father except through His Son. We are to put God first in all that we think, say, and do. He is our first love and requires us to go into all the world to spread the Good News  of Jesus Christ. God is the giver of all things. I remember my mother telling me, "Jesus first, others second, this will bring you joy ". Jesus said, " If I be lifted up, I will draw all to Me". This is done through church, missions, tithes and offerings, prayer, Bible study, gathering together and helping any who need help. God works through His people. Judy and I support our church with tithes and offerings first. We then we support others. God will reveal His purpose for your life as you step out in faith to obey Him.

God deserves more than our leftovers

Steve & Marcie Jordan

We didn’t always tithe. We certainly weren’t taught to tithe as children. As a young couple, it was hard to start giving even give a small amount. Sometimes $10 was all we had left. We had bills to pay and stuff to buy. God didn’t really need our $10, did He? God was getting our leftovers. It wasn’t until we truly started putting God first in all things – our marriage, our jobs, our children, that we realized we needed to put Him first in our finances.It was really hard to write that check and honestly, we weren’t always faithful at first. It’s not that giving became a habit, it was more a desire to give back, even when times were tough and the blessings weren’t evident. 

It would be great to say that we gave a full 10% right

from the beginning, but we had to work our way there as we grew in faith. We found it was easier to increase slowly over time. Just being faithful in the act of giving meant more than giving nothing.We encourage you to just start somewhere. Then be faithful with that amount, increasing slowly if that works for you. Yes, the church budget needs your help, but more importantly, you need the blessings that only come from giving with an open heart, trusting in God’s faithfulness and provision.