Paul was a fundraiser. Not the huckster sort, instead he saw a part of his missionary calling to raise support for poor Jewish Christians experiencing1 significant need, of the no-food-in-the-pantry sort as opposed to what flies as need these days, like, say, the I-can’t-afford-Netflix sort. And so, Paul made it a point to ask the Gentile church plants with whom he had a relationship to not only give to supply their own church’s need but also to give to sate the needs of their Christian brothers and sisters in Jerusalem.2
At this point, I can add my own anecdotal dislike for fundraising having been a fundraising church planter for 6 years now.3 Fundraising is difficult, good, and necessary; but mostly difficult, which is why I’ve become a student of Paul’s missiological (and Christological) method for fundraising. I mean, after all, Paul was facing two significant challenges in Corinth—a church to which Paul wrote most boldly about generosity. First, Corinth was a mess of a church—full of sin, pride, a party spirit, and divisions. I’d be tempted to believe that such a church in such disarray would be incapable of radical generosity, until at least they got their act together. But secondly, the Gentile Christians were being asked by Paul4 to give generously to Jewish Christians. In case you’re new to world history, Gentile-Jewish animosity, stretching over multiple millennia, makes the current political atmosphere in the US look like playground bickering in comparison. How was Paul supposed to accomplish such a difficult task as fundraising in such a difficult context—an ethnically charged, sin-infested, divisive church?
Paul’s method for fundraising was his same method for the rest of his ministry—preach Christ.5 And so, when Paul wanted to invite Corinth out of their petty squabbling and into funding a kingdom vision through radical generosity, he proclaimed Jesus, who, though he was rich, became poor, that through his poverty the Corinthians might become abundantly rich, not in earthly wealth but with the choicest treasure of heaven—salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Paul was relying on two key principles. First, humans become like what they worship, either the true God leading to eternal life or anything else in creation leading to eternal death. Second, God’s generosity in accomplishing redemption for and applying redemption to sin-worn rebels was and always will be the greatest act of generosity the world will ever know. You see, a Christian does not grow in generosity based on how much extra they have and how much giving guilt they feel. Rather they grow in generosity in proportion to how clearly they see and how often they meditate on the ultimate generosity of God in the gospel of Jesus Christ. The grace of God in that gospel easily overcame everything that the worldly concerns of Corinth could throw at it.
This all brings us back to summer at Christ Covenant, and really any other local church during the summer for that matter. All the usual things are happening. Giving is off for reasons known6 and unknown7. The elders have poured over the budget, making cuts to an already slim budget where we could. And I’m writing this to you. Simply put, Christ Covenant fails or flourishes based on your generosity, the kind of generosity that reflects member tithing. But to get there let's stand with Paul and set our collective minds on our generous Savior, Jesus. Our challenges are nothing so stark as what faced Corinth and yet our God is just as great, his grace just as rich as when Paul penned his two letters to the Corinthians. Will you take a moment and let grace audit your year-to-date giving to our local church? If you find that God is challenging you to grow in generosity, would you take the next step and start or increase your regular giving to this church we all love?
1 The famine was actually predicted in advance by the prophet Agabus (Acts 11:27-30) allowing Paul to begin fundraising even before the famine occurred. If only such divine warning occurred before recessions!
2 1 Cor 16:1-4
3 And maybe longer depending on how this post is received.
4 A Jewish Christian missionary with whom they had a hot-then-cold relationship (2 Cor 11-12).
5 He was a sort of glorious one-trick pony that way.
6 Low attendance due to vacations, low-giving due to funded but not budgeted vacations, income slumps due to seasonal business cycles, etc…
7 Election year, unforeseen life events or crises, etc…
Giving at Christ Covenant
Did you know that you can give three different ways at Christ Covenant?
- During Communion on a Sunday morning
- By mailing a check to our PO box: PO Box 880, Culpeper, VA 22701
Groups and Teams
- We currently are running 3 community groups that you could join.
- We also have four teams for your to serve on:
- Music (And Audio-Visual)
- Children's Worship