Summary: ACKNOWLEDGE AND RELY ON God as the source of all things. He owns everything and every good gift comes from His hand. "The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it." Jesus said, "But, seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will b
Motivations for Giving
1. ACKNOWLEDGE AND RELY ON God as the source of all things. He owns everything and every good gift comes from His hand. (I Cor. 10:26) "The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it." Jesus said, "But, seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you."
Illustration: The World’s Deep Spiritual and Material Poverty
Eighty percent of the world’s evangelical wealth is in North America—and the total represents way more than enough to fund the fulfillment of the Great Commission.9
A majority of people alive today do not know the Savior. This includes 1.19 billion Muslims, 811 million Hindus, 360 million Buddhists, 228 million ethnoreligionists, 23 million Sikhs, 14 million Jews, 768 million agnostics, and 150 million atheists.1
Of all the people who have ever lived, it is believed that half of them are living today.2
About 1.6 billion people have never heard the life-saving good news in this sentence: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).3
More than 1 billion people live in absolute poverty. This includes 700 million people living in slums, 500 million people on the verge of starvation, 93 million beggars, and 200 million children exploited for labor.23 The Church’s Explosive Growth
The church has grown more in the 20th century than in all the previous 19 centuries since the time of Christ combined, with almost 2 billion adherents worldwide.18
Every day 166,000 people hear the good news of Jesus Christ for the first time3
Every year, 27 million people profess faith in Christ as Savior for the first time.3
The current ranks of 81 million believers in China are expected to swell to 135 million by 2025. The 50 million faithful in India could mushroom to 125 million by 2050. And today’s census of 90 million Christians in Africa is likely to explode to 1 billion in 2050.6
Evangelical Christians comprise an estimated 35 percent of the U.S. population, or about 100 million people.22 The Church’s Huge Storehouse of Wealth
In 2000, American evangelicals collectively made $2.66 trillion in income.23
Total Christian [including nominal] income in the United States is $5.2 trillion annually, nearly half of the world’s total Christian income.8
Over the next 50 years, between $41 trillion and $136 trillion will pass from older Americans to younger generations, suggesting that roughly $1 trillion to $3 trillion in wealth will change hands every year.10 The Church’s Squandering of Resources
The average donation by adults who attend U.S. Protestant churches is about $17 a week.11
Among church members of 11 primary Protestant denominations (or their historical antecedents) in the United States and Canada, per-member giving as a percentage of income was lower in 2000 than in either 1921 or 1933. In 1921, per-member giving as a percentage of income was 2.9 percent. In 1933, at the depth of the Great Depression, per-member giving grew to 3.3 percent. By 2000, after a half-century of unprecedented prosperity, giving had fallen to 2.6 percent.12
Overall, only 3 to 5 percent of Americans who donate money to a church tithe (give a tenth of) their incomes though many more claim to do so.11
Thirty-three percent of U.S. born-again Christians say it is impossible for them to get ahead in life because of the financial debt they have incurred.14 The Link between Faith and Generosity
Among evangelicals, almost 90 cents of every donated dollar goes to their churches. The proportion drops, however, as people’s spiritual intensity and commitment to Christ decline.15
In 2001 American evangelicals gave a mean of $3,601 per capita to nonprofit organizations, which is high when compared to other demographic groups.16
From 1968 to 2000, members of U.S. evangelical Protestant denominations gave larger dollar amounts and larger portions of income to their churches than did members of mainline Protestant denominations.19
In 2001, American evangelicals gave four times as much, per person, to churches as did all other church donors in 2001. Eighty-eight percent of evangelicals and 73 percent of all Protestants donated to churches.20 The Potential for Funding the Harvest
If members of historically Christian churches in the United States had raised their giving to the Old Testament’s minimum standard of giving (10 percent of income) in 2000, an additional $139,000,000,000 a year would become available. 17
1 David B. Barrett and Todd M. Johnson, World Christian Trends AD 30-AD 2000: Interpreting the Annual Christian Megacensus (Pasadena, Calif.: William Carey Library, 2001), 551.
2 Bill Bright, quoted in Ron Blue with Jodie Berndt, Generous Living: Finding Contentment Through Giving (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Publishing House, 1997), 201.
2. REPENT of any unwholesome attitude toward money or possessions. (James 5:3) "You have hoarded wealth in the last days... the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence."