Giving to the church is what enables the church to provide ministries and function in the world. Giving of time and energy provides the leadership and participation necessary for the community to serve one another and others as the body of Jesus Christ. Giving of tithes and offerings provides the funding needed to pay for supplies, utilities, building expenses, and staff. Additional offerings may be designated to support specific projects within the church, local food pantries/soup kitchens/missions, and wider ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), such as the Annual Fund for regional ministries, the Congo Partnership, Week of Compassion, Disciples Home Missions, Reconciliation Ministry, etc.
Typically we think of giving practices in terms of "stewardship," i.e. being good "stewards" of that which God has given us. It may also be helpful to consider the Greek word koinonia, which can be understood as partnership, fellowship, community, communion, joint participation, to share what one has in anything, a collection, or a gift jointly contributed (see NT Greek Lexicon entry). As people of faith, we contribute in this way, because we have received grace, and therefore we share grace with one another as partners in Christ.
Tithing is the practice of pledging, budgeting, and practicing a regular discipline of giving to the church. Tithes can be given to the church's general fund, or designated for specific purposes. Tithing is an ancient practice that derives from early Israel, as each member of the community was called upon to give a share of their earnings for the sake of God's community and work. By combining resources the community is made able to do significant work in the world for God. As we find in Genesis 28:22 (NJPS), "of all that You give me, I will set aside a tithe for You."
Leviticus 27:32 (NJPS) reads, "All tithes of the herd or flock- of all that passes under the shepherd's staff, every tenth one- shall be holy to the LORD." This passage is one example of why the traditional standard for tithing is 10% of one's earnings.
The point is that this is a significant portion, but not so much that it should cause you financial harm. This is understood as a guideline. How much exactly is right for you to tithe is a matter for you to discern with the Lord. As mentioned in 2 Corinthians 8:12 (NRSV), "if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has- not according to what one does not have." As mentioned in Deuteronomy 16:16-17 (NJPS), "They shall not appear before the LORD empty-handed, but each with his own gift, according to the blessing that the LORD your God has bestowed upon you."
It is important to remember that a tithe is not simply what is "left-over." Rather, it is a gift of "the first fruits of your new grain and wine and oil, and the first shearing of your sheep" (Deuteronomy 18:4). In other words, your tithe should be first and most important in your budget.
Offering is a gift given over and beyond a regular tithe. Tithes and offerings are collected together on Sunday mornings. Jesus' Parable of the Widow is helpful to know. Luke 21:1-4 (NRSV) reads, "[Jesus] looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasury; he also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. He said, 'Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.'
Offering is more spontaneus. Much like a tithe, it is not the amount that matters as much as it is the spirit in which it is given. In the passage from Luke, Jesus valued the widow's gift (comparable to two pennies) more than the rich people's gifts of much more. The widow's gift was valued more because she put her heart and soul into it. Her gift came out of a desire to give, not simply to fulfill an obligation, nor to impress anyone around her. She gave her offering as described in 2 Corinthians 9:7 (NRSV), "give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."
If you prefer to give your tithes and offerings electronically, you can now do so simply by clicking on the green "Online Giving" link above, which is located at the top of each page of this website. This is done through PayPal.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Online Giving
1. What is PayPal, and how is NPCC using it to enable online giving?
PayPal allows us to collect donations from a button on our website. It is a low cost way for us to make it convenient for you to give your tithes, offerings, and other contributions.
2. Why did you choose PayPal?
It is the most widely-used donation provider and we have confidence in its reliability. Also, it is inexpensive. In fact, we do not pay anything unless someone donates, and then PayPal receives 2.2% + $0.30 of the gift as a transaction fee.
3. Do I have to have a PayPal account?
No. Look for the button that allows you to choose to use a major credit card (American Express, VISA, etc.) You can use one of them without signing up for PayPal.
4. Are you encouraging people to borrow to support the church?
No. We are simply making it convenient for people who prefer to donate online to do so, not asking people to incur debt to do so.
5. Do I have to be a member of the church to donate?
No. We are grateful for support from all who feel motivated to do so. PayPal only provides us your name and email address, and it sends you a receipt of the transaction.
6. How do I make sure my donation is credited to the correct designation, such as the Youth Fund, Building Fund, Week of Compassion, etc.?
Just note your designation in the "Comments" section. If you do not designate a specific purpose, then your gift will go to the general fund.
7. Is my donation tax-deductible?
Yes. We are a 501(C)(3) corporation.
8. I cannot figure out how to make PayPal work.
Please call the church office at 317-861-4356, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will help you.