Did you ever play the “What if” game? You know what I mean, “What if you had a million dollars?” Or, “What if you were a superhero?” Sometimes it’s just fun to let your imagination run wild.
As a pastor, I occasionally play the same game. You know, “What if every member of Hollywood Community Church attended on the same Sunday?” Or, “What if I could preach to a packed crowd at Dolphin Stadium?” One of my favorite “what if” questions is, “What if every faithful attender at HCC gave generously?”
Quite frankly, I do not look at the giving records of our members, so I do not know what each individual family gives. But, I am familiar with national statistics. Relevant Magazine recently reported that only 10-25% of the normal congregation gives a tithe. The average Christian only gives 2.5% percent of their income to the Lord’s work. By the way, that is less than Great Depression Christians who gave 3.3%.
My point is not to invoke guilt, but rather to ignite a passion. What would happen if all HCC attenders were to increase their giving to a minimum of, let’s say, 10 percent? Here are some goals we could accomplish with the additional giving.
1. If every member gave we could upgrade our facilities
I mention this point with fear and trepidation, because I don’t want anyone to misunderstand. Our goal is never to invest major money into our buildings; they are only tools to be used to reach people. Nevertheless, we must be good stewards of the buildings that we have. For example, we currently have more than ten air conditioning units that need replaced. There are 12 bathrooms that need renovated. Our nursery and Kidz Rock rooms need updated, and as you know, we desperately need a new Sound System for the Worship Center.
Those needs, though, are not nearly as important as the next ones…
2. If every member gave we could make a HUGE impact on our community.
I am so thankful for the people in our community who are already being helped by HCC: Some 100 families are given food each week; benevolence donations are regularly given to needy families, and the families that stay in Hope House are fed and cared for.
Nevertheless, there is so much more we can do. For example, we would like to take our Community Outreach Ministry off campus. In a different facility we could house Operation Feeding Families, a food bank that serves food pantries throughout Broward County. We could also offer career training for those who are presently looking for work, family training for single mothers and English classes to foreign residents.
In addition, we are planning on adopting a neighborhood next to the church. There is no limit to what we will be able to do with those families and in that community. We are so excited about this possibility!
3. If every member gave we could meet the needs of our missionaries.
Every month we receive requests from our missionaries to help with special needs. In just the last few days, we have heard from a missionary in Israel asking for help with summer evangelistic campaigns. Another missionary in Asia asked us to help with the reconstruction of a church building that was recently destroyed. A third missionary in South America needs additional financial support. Although all of these needs are worthy of our support, we do not have the funds to help with all of them. We could, though, if every HCC family gave.
All of those are worthy projects that are presently on hold because of the lack of giving by our HCC family. So, why don’t we give more? The real problem when it comes to giving is not that we don’t have enough money. No, the real problem is our heart. Matthew 6:21 states, “Where your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” Quite frankly, our hearts are often pursuing the wrong treasure.
What are you pursuing? What is the passion of your heart?