Asking for an Increase
On the topic of giving, I want you to know that the pastors are asking God for an increase through an increase in you. There are two things I want to mention here. I want to state the request and then give the rationale.
Here is the crystal clear request: as you are moving your giving from one platform to the other, moving from Pushpay to Subsplash, would you consider increasing your giving?
You’ll come to the page where you have to type in your reoccurring gift, and when you type that number in, would you consider, by faith, making that number higher than what it currently is?
Okay, here’s the rationale: In the New Testament, the topic of generosity is really important. We see it in the Gospels through the teachings of Jesus, and we actually see Paul raising financial support in his letters (we’ll even get to the topic of finances in a few weeks in 1 Timothy 6, verses 6–10, and also 17–19). Generosity matters to God because it is connected to our hearts and values, and it’s necessary for mission. And those are the two main perspectives when it come so the topic of giving.
The first perspective is the heart level. This is to talk about values like Jesus does — “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21) — or we can talk like Paul does in 2 Corinthians 8. He disciples the Corinthians into giving more by leading them to set their minds on the grace of Jesus. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9). The grace of God compels to give — “what do we have that we did not receive?” (1 Cor 4:7). This means we can’t boast in ourselves, and we can’t white-knuckle anything. All is grace. All is given. And so we give. That’s one perspective.
And the other perspective is mission advance. This is where we talk about expanding ministry, that includes everything from member care to frontier evangelism. We see Paul do this too, in Romans 15:24–29,
I hope to see you in passing as I go to Spain, and to be helped on my journey there by you, once I have enjoyed your company for a while.  At present, however, I am going to Jerusalem bringing aid to the saints.  For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make some contribution for the poor among the saints at Jerusalem.  For they were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have come to share in their spiritual blessings, they ought also to be of service to them in material blessings.  When therefore I have completed this and have delivered to them what has been collected, I will leave for Spain by way of you.  I know that when I come to you I will come in the fullness of the blessing of Christ.
Paul wants provide care for the famished church in Jerusalem, and he needed funding for his mission efforts to Spain, an unreached people at that time. And based on that need, Paul invites the church in Roman to join with him as financial partners.
Back in January at the annual meeting, there were some great questions related to the missions giving in our budget. The desire behind those questions, and one shared by so many, is that we give more to the Missions bucket. And amen to that. One thing that we tweaked at the presentation level is that we had separated Church Planting into its own bucket, but really, church planting is the frontlines of mission, and so we’ve combined those to make the pie charts look more accurate. Technically, the mission giving was higher than it appeared, and still we want to increase our mission giving, and then also we need to expand our staff.
The more established we become as a church, the needs increase, and the expectations increase. But bandwidth does not increase. Which means we need more focused helped. Mike Polley has been an amazing addition to our staff, and there are other strategic additions that we envision. Altogether, this is what it means: more mission and more staff leads to deeper ministry, which requires more giving.
And that’s what brings us back to the request. Of all the ways that you live in generosity, and give to ministries financially, and partner with various efforts, I believe that the local church is your first partnership — because you are the local church. And therefore, I’m asking you, our membership, on behalf of the pastors, would you consider increasing your giving to Cities Church?
And because I believe that leadership happens by example, when I switched over to Subsplash, I increased our giving $50 — which basically means for us one less family dinner at Chipotle a month. [All of our pastors have made some kind of increase, and so we ask that you each would consider doing the same.] And if you’re moving over to the new giving platform, it’s as simple as making that number you type in bigger than the current number.
Thank you. And thanks for your generosity. God has been very good to our church. Through you.