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GIVING: A STEP TO REVIVAL


Today we are focusing our attention on the second step to revival: GIVING. We all say we want revival, but many throw away the second step - but you cannot have revival without taking the second step to revival.


This step impacts the life and effectiveness of our church, and it determines the impact this church will have on our community. It's a subject that has held the church back from reaching the world for Christ for centuries. More Christians and ministers have fallen as a result of having an unbiblical view of this important topic. Listen to some recent statistics on how this step is avoided and even ignored by Christian people:


• George Barna reports that giving to churches dropped significantly last year. In 2000, 70 percent of Christians gave to the church, compared to 84 percent in 1999. Barna's survey also showed that while 32 percent of Christian claimed to have tithed, a check of the household income showed that only 12 percent actually did.

• The average Christian only gives 2.5 percent of their income to the Lord. Yet they spend 2x more on entertainment than on God's work.

• Christianity Today's cover story, Dec. 2008 issue: "Scrooge Lives." They noted this about American Christians: "...Of all Christian groups, evangelical Protestants score best: only 10 percent give nothing away. Evangelicals tend to be the most generous, but they do not outperform their peers enough to wear a badge of honor. Thirty-six percent report that they give away less than two percent of their income. Only about 27 percent tithe..."


The $85.5 Billion Gap - American Christians' lack of generosity might not be as shocking if it didn't contrast so starkly with their astounding wealth. Passing the Plate's researchers say committed American Christians—-those who say their faith is very important to them and those who attend church at least twice a month-—earn more than $2.5 trillion dollars every year. On their own, these Christians could be admitted to the G7, the group of the world's seven largest economies. Smith and his coauthors estimate that if these Christians gave away 10 percent of their after-tax earnings, they would add another $46 billion to ministry around the world...one early finding: That estimate of $46 billion in additional giving is unrealistic, not because it's too big, but because it's too small. Estimating 10 percent giving for every committed Christian in the U.S. neglects two groups: those who truly can't afford to give 10 percent (due to illness or unemployment or similar reasons), and those who are already giving more than 10 percent. If you calculate that 10 percent of Christians can't give because of their financial limitations, most of the rest give 10 percent, and a handful of generous givers continue their current generous giving pattern, committed American Christians could realistically increase their giving by $85.5 billion each year.

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