Christian giving is motivated by God’s giving. God’s generosity is enormous and undeserved, a gift to His people that overflows to make them generous too.
Our giving is our response to all that God has done for and given to us. God gave His one and only Son so that we can know freedom, peace, joy, love, forgiveness, and fullness of life.
In giving, we are not seeking to ‘buy’ our freedom or salvation. Rather, we are giving in thankfulness for all that God has given to us so freely. It is in thankfulness, not in fear, that we give back to God that which he has already given to us.
Our generosity is a sign to others, to point them to the gift of Jesus and the divine Giver.
“Biblical Charity is more than merely giving away that which we can afford to do without anyway. Christian giving is about giving the first and the best” C S Lewis
How much we love and trust God is shown in how we use God’s resources. Our giving really represents what is in our hearts. Have a look at your bank or credit card statement - are there any surprises? Have we got our priorities right?
Grace causes those who have, to give to those who haven’t and so contributes to fairness and is a practical expression of love.
At Spring Harvest 2018 there was a seminar about giving. At the end of the talk, the speaker suggested that those who had, gave into the pot, and those that had need took out of the pot. It was difficult to record all the money given - but there were many whose needs were met, from money to pay for children’s school uniforms, to several months’ mortgage payments.
Giving is good for the recipients, but also for the giver. God’s purposes are eternal and we can chose to be part of them. Giving to God is investing in eternity.
“The man who dies rich, dies in disgrace.” Andrew Carnegie, industrialist and philanthropist who gave away $350 billion during his lifetime.
How much should I give?
In general we are to give in proportion to what we have, and according to the needs. Sometimes we are called to give sacrificially. But whoever sows generously, reaps generously.
Even the poorest of the poor can give. Jesus taught us this in Luke 12:43, 44
“Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”
Since the days of Abraham, God’s people have used the idea of giving a tithe (tenth) of everything they have back to God, to say thank you.
Setting aside the first 10% of income is a biblical principle that many Christians find useful to follow today. It is official Church of England teaching that we should consider giving 10% of income: 5% to the local church and 5% to other causes. But many people can give more than that; giving a tenth should be the beginning of our giving, not its end.
The truth is that we’re unable to give to God in one sense - since He already owns the whole world and everything in it (Psalm 50). But as we give to God, we see it being used to help and support others. Our giving can enable others to spend more time and energy on serving the Church, on sharing the gospel, and on growing God’s Kingdom.
As we give back to God, we are also giving to the Church here in Harwell and Chilton.
Where does the money go that is given to Harwell & Chilton Churches?
We believe in the principle of giving and, as a Church we give to other Christian organisations. We support The Leprosy Mission, Christian Mission Society (specifically David and Heather Sharland in Uganda), Mission Aviation Fellowship, John Abu Bakker in India, A Rocha, Scripture Union and Christian Solidarity Worldwide.
Along with regular upkeep and maintenance cost of our church buildings we have staffing costs, office and administration costs, and the cost of running regular groups and our annual Holiday Club.
A large proportion of our giving (“parish share”) is sent to central Church of England funds. This money goes towards paying for clergy, including our Rector, training costs for lay and ordained ministers, and central (Diocesan) costs.
Giving in different ways
We rely not just on financial giving to keep our churches running, but also the time that many people give to serving in our churches: setting up for and welcoming people to services, making and serving coffee, leading the music, prayers and reading the scriptures at services, leading and helping in our children’s groups, helping at Holiday Club, serving as Churchwardens and PCC members, preaching, providing and arranging flowers, updating the website, organising rotas, maintaining and cleaning our buildings, running and helping our various church groups such as All Saints’ Women’s Group and Alpha courses and homegroups, pastoral care, supporting CAP clients and CAP Money Courses, and much more! Attending church services is in itself a great gift to others.
We give financially in different ways too. Weekly, monthly, or occasionally, in cash, bank transfer, or through the Parish Giving Scheme (see below).
Who knows who gives what?
Only the treasurer and book keeper know who gives what. It is not known by the Rector, or other staff, or PCC members.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will be saved.” John 3:16
What if I'm in debt?
If you are in debt we would suggest contacting our local Christians Against Poverty (CAP) Debt Centre for Didcot and Wallingford. They offer a free service to review your finances and to create a financial plan to bring you back to being debt free. Ring free on 0800 328 0006.
If you would like help to review your finances, you might like to consider a free CAP Money Courses that we regularly run in our churches. You don’t need to share any personal details, but will learn some tips and find a process to systematically review your finances.
How to can I give?
1. Parish Giving Scheme (PGS)
Our preferred way of giving is through PGS which deals with much of the administration, and enables us to receive Gift Aid much more quickly than if we process it ourselves. Gift Aid adds 25% to the donation of UK taxpayers.
There are several important features of the scheme:
* You are in total control of the amount you give.
* The Direct Debit guarantee means your gift is secure and safe.
* You can choose whether or not to increase your gift annually by inflation.
* Parish Giving Scheme tokens are available if you would like something to put in the offertory plate.
* Gift Aid is automatically claimed for the church every month, and this means reduced administration, less work the treasurer/bookkeeper, and better cashflow.
PGS forms are available at the back of church, or contact Vicky in the Church Office.
2. Cash or cheque donations
You can put money into the weekly collection during our main services, or into the wall safes in either church. There are some gift aid giving forms available at the back of church if you are a tax payer. This increases your gift by 25% (at no extra cost to yourself)
3. Standing Order
You can give using a bank transfer, or by setting up a regular Standing Order. St Matthew's Harwell
'Harwell St Matthew’s PCC'
National Westminster Bank
Sort code 60-06-36
Account number 73421197
All Saints' Chilton
Sort code 30-93-93
Account number 00076915
We also encourage people to consider remembering our churches in their wills. Over the years, many significant projects have been enabled by this type of generosity.
Whatever way and however much you decide to give to our churches, you can be assured that the money will be used carefully and well, as we seek in Harwell and Chilton to Grow God’s Church, wider, deeper and closer. Thank you for your partnership in the gospel of Jesus Christ, who gave all that He had that we might gain everything.
“Yours Lord is the greatness, the power, the glory, the splendour and the majesty, everything in heaven and on earth is yours, all things come from you and of your own do we give you.”
From 1 Chronicles 29
Updated March 2019