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What's my part in supporting the ministries of the church?

We are all motivated in different ways. Some want to know how much money is needed and what their share is. Some give for the sheer joy of giving. But for most of us, the motivation to give includes some knowledge of the needs that exist. So consider this:

When you attend the worship services at First Baptist Church, you are seated in a comfortable room with lighting, heat, and air conditioning. The floors have been cleaned. Hymnals have been provided. A worship service has been planned. If youíre a parent, your children have been provided for during this hour.

What does all that cost? And whatís your part of the cost?

Well, letís break it down this way:

It costs $167,025 a year to provide two worship services at First Baptist Church every Sunday morning. That includes the cost of the bulletins, a portion of the staff salaries, the hymnals, the piano and organ tuning, and other costs associated with worship. The average attendance in worship services is 1,429. So that means the average annual cost per person is $116.

The ďTLCĒ ministry, which provides care and nurture for your children during the worship services, operates mostly with volunteers. Still, it costs $23,683 per year to provide this ministry. There are 128 in attendance on an average Sunday. The cost per participant: $185.

How about what happens outside of this worship service?

Take the Youth Ministry, for example. Some 280 youths participate in our churchís ministries. The annual cost for the Youth Ministry is $139,145 ó an average cost of $497 per teenager.

There are dozens of other ministries that provide opportunities for worship and spiritual growth for our people. Plus, we spend lots of money every year to share the Gospel with those outside our church, and to provide ministry to those who are not, and will never be members of our church.

So letís look at the total cost of being First Baptist Church. The budget for 2010 is $3,200,000. About 2,200 people (representing about 800 households) participate in the various ministries of the church on a somewhat regular basis. Thatís $4,000 of annual cost per household.

Now you might be inclined to pull out your checkbook and put a check for your share in the offering plate. Some could do that and never miss it. For others, $4,000 is a huge percentage of their income. They canít write that check today or any other day in the foreseeable future.

So how can we support the ministries of our church on a fair and equitable basis? And how can you participate in a meaningful way?

Godís plan for financing the work of his church isnít like paying the check at a restaurant. He doesnít want us to total up the bill, add a tip, and hand over our credit card. His plan is fairer and simpler... and in the long run, itís much better for us. Itís called tithing.

ďOn the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income...Ē (1 Corinthians 16:2)

In his infinite wisdom, God has provided for the financial support of his churches by instructing us to bring the first ten percent (the tithe) of our income to ďthe storehouseĒ (the church). Whether you make $10,000 a year or $10 million, the percentage is the same. Thatís fair for everyone. And it provides what is needed to carry out Godís mission for us as a church.

What if we all followed this plan?

The average household income in Richmond is $65,000. If each FBC member household tithed, weíd have $13 million a year to carry out the work of God's Kingdom: teach our children, feed the hungry, reach the lost, and fund the other vital ministries of our church.

 
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