Giving - Distinctive #3

The third component is GIVING. This is a very hot topic for many de-churched people. Often times the de-churched feel that an inordinate amount of time is made in a self-serving effort by the traditional, institutional church to grab their money. At Streams we strongly believe in giving of our time and our resources. Additionally we value the concept of the tithe in regards to our resources using ten percent as a good guide from which to start. As my friend Tim Harrison has often said you can tell what someone's priorities in life are by looking at their calendar and their checkbook (for the younger readers, a checkbook is an historical collection of documents called checks that used to function similar to your Google Wallet - see...you learn something every day!).

That said, we at Streams don't agree that the church is the focal point of that tithe. There is a scripture in he Old Testament (Malachi 3:10) that says to bring the tithe into the storehouse. The institutional church has said that they are the storehouse. First, we do not believe that the church is a storehouse of God’s resources...if anything it is a conduit. Second, the area of finances is one in which the Old Testament does not necessarily inform the practices of the New Testament. At Streams we believe that any giving in the name of The Lord is giving to God...is a part of one's tithe. This includes any number of faith-based social justice or humanitarian organizations in the world. It also would include giving money someone on their street.

Additionally, at Streams we do not believe in the concept of giving to get...this is an Old Testament concept. Jesus seems to suggest that we just give…his instructions were that we be gracious. In this vein, it is not our plan to give tax receipts for any monies that may be given to the fellowship for special projects or efforts. This is giving to get and is not consistent with the values of this fellowship. We are not even sure if we will create a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation or have a bank account. This may change as the network grows but this is not the current plan.

© Dave Powell 2014