1 out of 5 People Still Do This…Do You?

one out of five

According to research by Onovative, a marketing firm in Louisville, KY, what only 1 out of 5 people still do is worth our consideration for Summer Advance.  This Sunday, June 26, is our final Sunday for this emphasis.  Summer Advance is the plan for our church to fully fund our needs for the month of June and prepay additional expenses incurred with Vacation Bible School (June 27-July 1), Student Camp (July 25-29) and Children’s Camp (August 1-5). These three events provide the greatest opportunities each summer for individuals to hear and respond to the gospel.  Summer Advance allows us to recognize the value in these events and commit ahead of time to make sure the resources are available at the time when they are most needed.

So what is it that 1 out of 5 people still do?  The answer is: Carry A Checkbook. For some reading this electronic blog post, there may be some confusion.  Prior to electronic banking and the popularity of debit cards, most Americans routinely carried a wallet for cash and credit cards, and they carried a checkbook.  The fact that only 1 out of 5 people still carry checkbooks means that when people arrive at church and are presented with an opportunity to give an offering in worship, they may find themselves without cash or a checkbook.  Unless they have already set up and established online giving, they are without opportunity to give. I know that I may have good intentions to give to some cause later, but often discover that by the time I get home, I have forgotten all about my good intention.

I want to encourage you to be sure that you have considered what you will give this week to meet the need of our Summer Advance goal of $500,000.00. Many have already given, but this Sunday will be a significant time to give generously. I am pleased to announce that our church now offers TEXT TO GIVE.  Why?  Because while only 1 out of 5 people carry checkbooks, According to the Pew Research Center nearly 7 out of 10 Americans carry a smart phone with them daily. Text to Give provides a secure manner in which to give when individuals desire to do so while in worship or any other time they choose.  Text to Give provides a way to give consistent with how many people live.  While our church still receives offerings of all kinds (cash, check, stocks, gifts in kind, online giving) this provides one additional way to help people do what they sense God leading them to do in the moment. In order to use this service, you will need to set up your account online to connect your giving with your cell phone number.  To set up your account go to www.firstnorfolk.org/give and click on the Mobile Online Giving link to set up your account.  Once set up, during the offering or after an appeal to give to support a certain mission or cause, you can simply text your gift.

If you have questions or any difficulty setting up your account please contact our financial controller, Wendy Howard at whoward@firstnorfolk.org

However you do it, I want to encourage you to participate in helping children and teens come to know Jesus this summer by allowing God to use to invest in His Kingdom work this summer!  We give, not for ourselves, but for God’s glory! Let’s exceed our goal this summer!


Changing Four Letter Words to Three

I remember it like it was yesterday – a ministry moment of clarity that has been etched in my memory for more than 25 years. My pastor, Dr. Dennis Newkirk, had been travelling home from Arizona and arrived home around 2:00a.m. on Sunday morning.  As our staff was walking into a pre-worship staff meeting on that Sunday, he mentioned being tired.  I replied, “That’s right, you have to preach three times today.” As if on cue, he turned abruptly and retorted, “No. I get to preach today. I do not have to preach today.”  He smiled and entered the office for our brief meeting.

Why does this stand out in my mind?  I think it was the clarity with which he spoke and the instantaneous response to my statement. He did not need to think for a moment in his reply. It was a well-engrained attitude he had developed about the privilege of preaching the gospel of Jesus each week. It was also a profound moment of teaching for a young youth pastor to hear from his senior pastor. I have never forgotten that moment.  It was not a rebuke, nor a harsh reprimand.  It was a statement never to be confused in my mind again.

This powerful lesson was not lost on me.  I have repeated that statement more times than I can recall.

I believe this simple change from the four letter word HAVE to the three letter word GET can be applied in much of life. Have you considered it in your response to our high calling of financial stewardship? 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 records some of the most profound words in scripture that embody this idea of having to vs. getting to.

Remember this, the person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously, will also reap generously. Each person should do as he has decided in his heart – NOT out of regret or of necessity (HAVE TO), for God loves a cheerful giver (emphasis added).   -2 Corinthians 9:6-7 (HCSB)

Consider the attitude expressed by Paul to these Corinthian believers. He reminds them (and us) that the best and most generous gifts should proceed first from the heart, not out of a sense of guilt or obligation. The decision to give to the Lord through His church may be viewed by some as something they HAVE to do, as if it is a burden or an obligation.  Others, however, have grown in their giving to understand the secret of generosity is that it is indeed a privilege that is ours to partner with and to be used by God to give in ways that bless others and make a difference in their lives. These Corinthian believers were getting to share in the work of God as He used them to supply the needs of the body of believers in Jerusalem.

Consider how Paul illustrated the attitude of GETTING to GIVE as expressed by the Macedonian believers. In 2 Corinthians 8:4 he describes this group of believers as being generous beyond their ability to give. He wrote, “they begged us intensely for the privilege (GET to) of sharing in the ministry to the saints…” (emphasis added). Wow!  What a different attitude toward giving. Our giving begins with a right heart and a right attitude.

Prayer:  Lord, would you help me grow to have a Christ-like attitude in my generosity toward others through your church. Would you help me grow to be like the Macedonian believers who understood that we get to join you in your work through our giving of our touch, time, talent, testimony and treasures? Help me today to see what I get to do on Your behalf instead of approaching my day with what I have to do. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your Kingdom’s work here on earth.  – Amen