I typically blog about Bible verses that are impacting me or excerpts from Christian books or podcasts that I feel compelled to share. This time I thought I’d take you “behind the curtain” of our church – The Eastside Vineyard. I hope this blog blesses you and stirs something in your spirit.
As Kellie and I were dreaming about planting a church, we felt God calling us to “tithe” on what was given to it. In other words, the first portion given to The Eastside Vineyard would go outside our walls.
Why? Because our church’s mission is “Joining God in His work to make His Kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” This mission is all about advancing the Kingdom of God on earth. And that task is much bigger than our church! So we felt we ought to strategically give to what God is doing outside of our church as well as inside of it.
This became known as the “tithe on our tithe.” On Day 1, our Advisory Board committed to giving away the first 10% of every dollar given to us. Since our launch in 2010 we have been increasing this amount — a little bit each year — so we currently give away 17.5%! Here’s how and where we give it away…
Human Trafficking: There are many issues in this world that break God’s heart — things He calls His church to do something about: clean water in Kenya, orphans in India, AIDS in South Africa, poverty in America… the list goes on. The question we wrestled with was this: where is God calling our church to make an impact?
We felt like the primary social cause our church needed to focus on is what is known as “human trafficking.” This is another way of saying “sex slavery.” While this happens in places on the other side of the world, it’s happening in our country as well. In fact, about 100,000 children in the United States are forcefully engaged in prostitution or pornography each year.
Local Benevolence: 3.75% of our budget goes to “help those who need help” right in our community, whether it’s people who attend our church or people who come across our path. Here is a small sampling of the ways this money has been spent: we have given grocery gift cards to several individuals and families that were struggling to make ends meet // we purchased paint, drywall, fencing, and other supplies to help transform an abandoned house in Pontiac into a home for a family coming out of a difficult time // we helped a family with medical bills that was affected by cancer.
Vineyard USA: Since we are The Eastside VINEYARD Church, 3% of our budget goes to Vineyard USA. 1/3 of this money goes toward planting churches. 1/3 goes to supporting overseas missions. 1/3 goes toward their “inward” expenses (e.g., the national office). Because our church is part of The Vineyard, I have received ongoing coaching and mentoring from various Vineyard pastors on a 1-on-1 and group basis which has helped me in significant ways. This is just one of the benefits our church receives because we are Vineyard.
This blog is getting up there in the word count, so it looks like it is going to be a two-parter! 🙂 In the next one I am going to address some of the most frequently asked questions about tithing on our tithe: How much has our church given away? What is the biblical basis for doing this? Why not spend this money “inwardly”?
***Please join us this Sunday at The Eastside Vineyard Church. My sermon is titled “The Lies We Believe” and will focus on Matthew 27:27-31. Just like the previous two Sundays we are going to look at this passage from a supernatural perspective at how the “father of lies” attacks us and gets us to question our identity in Christ. November 10. 10:30am. More info at tevchurch.org***