1. Church is the Body of Christ. It is a fellowship in Christ and also an institution in the society. Everybody (parts of the church) have different roles to play for the smooth and efficient functioning of the body.
- 2. A Church member should have:
à Sincere desire to be saved from sin;
à Faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour;
à Commitment in the fellowship of the church.
- 3. The church proclaims the gospel of Christ – True church proclaims the word of God and administers the sacraments according to the principles of the Protestant Reformation.
- 4. Duties of Church members:
(i) To follow the example of Christ in home and daily life.
(ii) To bear personal witness to Jesus Christ.
(iii) To be regular in private prayer each day.
(iv) To read the Bible each day and seek to be obedient to God’s word.
(v) To attend worship every Sunday.
(vi) To receive Holy Communion regularly.
(vii) To give meaningful financial support to the work of the church.
(viii) To be involved in serving others in the church and community.
- 5. Membership is based upon the person experience of the Lord Jesus Christ, brought about by His Spirit.
à Jesus taught that is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35).
à God expects our relationship with Him to be based in:
à Gratitude, thanksgiving and love (no threats to church members about loss of benefits).
à Voluntary commitments.
à Christian ministry needs to be supported including buildings, running costs, and mission work.
Economic Guidance from Scriptures:
à Genesis 4:3 = “bringing the first fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord”.
à Psalm 24:1 = “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it”.
à Consider yourself as a channel in the distribution of God’s resources.
à Offer possessions to God in Humility, joyfully, willingly and in acknowledgement for his abundant love and grace.
Categories of “giving”:-
à Required (compulsory) giving – Bring a gift in proportion to the way Lord has blessed you (Deut 16:16-17).
à One tenth from land…belongs to the Lord (Levit 27:20). Old Testament affirms God’s rightful claim to all land, life and possessions. Required giving is a legitimate “tax” for support of the basic social infrastructure, which provides for the needs of the people including maintenance of the state and religious institutions.
à Voluntary (Sacrificial) giving – free, spontaneous, regular and motivated by the heart (emphasis is on the attitude of the giver and quality of the gift)>
à Examples from Bible = Abraham gave one tenth of everything to Melchizedek (King and high priest of the most high God) as thanksgiving (Genesis 14:18-20). Cain brought some of the first fruits of the soil as an offering.
Principles of acceptable giving:-
(a) Giving is an investment in God (Luke 6:38); give, it will be given to you.
(b) Giving is to be sacrificial (Mark 12:41-44).
(c) Giving amounts that are personally determined (2 Cor 9:7). God loves a cheerful giver.
(d) Giving should be in response to the grace and love of God (2 Cor 8:1).
(e) Giving is to be regular and planned (1 Cor 16:2) – on the first day of every week; decide on what to give.
(f) Giving is to be generous (2 Cor 8:2). This always results in God’s blessings.
(g) Giving is to demonstrate love not law (2 Cor 8:8).
(h) Giving involves what one has presently.
(i) If you can’t handle money, you can’t handle spiritual riches (Luke 16:11).
v Customary forms of giving in Methodist Church:
- Thanksgiving offering = RONA (African word for thanksgiving) means firstlings/first fruits. Season collections divided according to organizations; runs from April to June/July; with the final day set as a might act of celebration and public thanksgiving. Congregation should be informed of collection total, expect to see the results.
- Pledge Cards – vital for the growth and basics needs of the church; needed for building maintenance minister’s stipends, assessment fees, etc. Use pledge cards to collect monthly donations.
- Special contributions the church – occasional traditional collections for church mission events or community based programmes.
v Tithing: Many Christians use the principle of tithing (10% of net income), which is a good standard and guide for giving.
v Be a good steward of God: complete vicious circle with His gifts.