February 20, 2007

Faith Promise and You
Pastor Connie Larson DeVaughn

“We’re blessed with resources. We’re one of the richest countries in the world. We need to help people.” Amelia Crawford has generously given to missions through Faith Promise for many years. The importance and urgency of giving in this way was unmistakable when I asked Amelia Crawford why she gave above her tithes to missions.

Her travels have shown her a big world with a lot of needs. “What I saw when I went to Africa … we were shown a school with a room full of kids reciting the Koran. The place was buzzing. We need to be just as diligent and faithful. We need to give to those who are bringing hope to the lives of people in need.”

For any Christian, the first step of financial commitment to God is tithing, a regular discipline of giving 10% of income. These are the funds used to keep the church doors open and the lights on, literally (with the facilities) and figuratively (in ministry). The 10% figure is biblical, and may seem like a stretch, but Christians who practice this kind of regular discipline find great rewards in molding their character to emulate God’s generosity, and increasing their faith and dependence on him.

All Christians need to give, and many of us need to stretch ourselves to give in a disciplined way. So if tithing is not yet a regular practice, this is the discipline that needs primary attention.

But many of us can and should give more. Faith Promise is our way of giving the love of Christ to a needy world through missions. It’s a commitment of the heart, made to God, above regular tithes. In the past few years about one fifth of the church’s giving units have chosen to participate in Faith Promise, enabling us to increase our missions giving by roughly 40%. With this money we have been able to:
â—? take on the support of missionaries as they begin their life’s work (e.g. the Wilkinsons, Lynette Young, the Powells)
â—? increase giving to under-supported missionaries
â—? and take on new areas of interest as they come up.

Some of our faithful Faith Promise participants have moved or passed away in the past year. Last year was the first time, since we began Faith Promise nine years ago, that we failed to reach our goal. We’d love to have half or more of our congregation participating in Faith Promise. Together we can accomplish much! “We can’t all go, so we need to support those who can,” says Amelia Crawford. Will you prayerfully consider giving to missions in this way?