1. What is the accountability process?
All of our spending is vetted through three layers of accountability.
The first layer is on a local level where staff and volunteers work on the budget, expense reports, and reimbursements for church related expenses. We work to make sure personal expenses never become church expenses.
The second tier of accountability is our bookkeeper. We outsource our book keeping to a company in Atlanta that balances all of our accounts. The company is called DIME, feel free to check them out. They use widely accepted best practices and make sure we are staying on track, filing and keeping all the needed data to be above reproach.
The third tier of accountability is The Image Church Board of Directors, which consists of myself, a pastor in Orlando and a CEO in Seattle. The BOD receive's our monthly bookkeeping report from DIME. The BOD reviews these numbers and sees income and expenses with the ability to dial into every expense, big and small. The BOD's role is to keep integrity central to our operations.
2. How are staff paid?
We receive a pay check every 2 weeks like most of you. Our bookkeeping / payroll company, DIME, oversees this process. Our salaries are set by the two other members of the Board of Directors using The 2012-2013 Compensation Handbook for Church Staff published by Christianity Today.
3. What does the Bible say about giving?
The Apostle Paul, in 2 Corinthians 9:5-15, gives at-least these seven principles about giving.
1. Giving should be done willingly and not under compulsion. v. 5
2. There is a connection to our giving and our getting. We shouldn’t expect God to continue giving us a harvest that we only use for ourselves. He is looking for stewardship, not squandering. v.6
3. God loves a cheerful giver. Cheerful giving pleases God! What can be better than pleasing our amazing God! v. 7
4. God will give you what you need so that you can “abound in every good work.” v. 8
5. Your generous giving leads to people thanking and glorifying God and prayer for you! v.13-14
6. People see the “surpassing grace of God upon you) through giving. v.14
7. It points people to the ultimate gift from God himself, Jesus Christ! v. 15
2 Corinthians 9:5–15 (ESV)
5 So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you and arrange in advance for the gift you have promised, so that it may be ready as a willing gift, not as an exaction.
6 The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 9 As it is written,
“He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.”
10 He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. 12 For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. 13 By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, 14 while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. 15 Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!
4. Should I be giving 10% of my income (tithing) to The Image Church?
I am not sure if tithing is carried over into the New Testament practice of the church. It’s never commanded in the New Testament and only mentioned twice (never positively). Before you get excited let me explain. I think the radical and scandalous grace we have received through Jesus cost him much more than 10% of his life. It cost the Father His Son, and Jesus 100% of his life. If we have been shown so much more grace than even those in the Old Covenant who gave 10%, how much more should we be giving to see more people experience Jesus’ grace, to show Jesus how much we treasure him? “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.” (2Cor 2:8-9) Here’s an article to go into this deeper from DA Carson.
10% may be a starting point in stewarding our resources, but following Jesus on this mission of spreading the news about his radical grace demands our everything, our whole life. When you become a disciple of Jesus and experience his transforming love the question is no longer “what should I give?”, but rather “what would you have me keep?”
Imagine what that kind of radical generosity would do in our city?
I’ll leave you with a quote from Tim Keller on tithing:
"There have been times when people have come to me as their pastor, and asked about ‘tithing,’ giving away a tenth of their annual income. They notice that in the Old Testament there are many clear commands that believers should give away 10 percent. But in the New Testament, specific, quantitative requirements for giving are less prominent. They often asked my, ‘You don’t think that now, in the New Testament, believers are absolutely required to give away ten percent, do you?’ I shake my head no, and they give a sigh of relief.“ But then I quickly add, ‘I’ll tell you why you don’t see the tithing requirement laid out clearly in the New Testament. Think. Have we received more of God’s revelation, truth, and grace than the Old Testament believers, or less?’ Usually there is uncomfortable silence. ‘Are we more ‘debtors to grace’ than they were, or less? Did Jesus ‘tithe’ his life and blood to save us or did he give it all?’ Tithing is a minimum standard for Christian believers. We certainly wouldn’t want to be in a position of giving away less of our income than those who had so much less of an understanding of of what God did to save them."
Counterfeit Gods, Hodder and Stoughton, 2009, pg 62.
5. "I want to give but I don’t have much.”
I know a lot of The Image Church isn’t well off financially, many are struggling to just get by. God get’s that. He wants your heart and he doesn’t need your money. But Jesus says: “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” In other words, your treasure and heart are connected. If Jesus is where your heart is, your treasure will be with Jesus too. You just need to be faithful and follow the leading of The Holy Spirit about what stewardship and giving looks like for you right now. It might not seem like much, but Jesus said a lady that barely gave a penny gave more than anyone...how? Because she gave when she had nothing. You might be in a position to give more than anyone, even though it may only be a $1!
“Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” Luke 21:1–4 (ESV)
6. What’s the point of giving?
We give because it pleases God, it glorifies him because we are declaring he is our highest treasure, our stuff isn’t. God is who people need to be satisfied. Our money can be used to see Jesus worshiped by the nations and people infinitely happy by getting the gospel to them!
Giving to see Jesus’ kingdom established is one of our greatest privileges. I still can’t believe I’m even adopted into the family, and now I get to “go to work” with my Father! That’s the good stuff! Amy and I are all in with The Image Church, not like the Jaguars are “all in” but hopefully more like Jesus is all in!
Being your pastor is one of the greatest joys of my life, I can’t wait to see what Jesus, our Senior Pastor, has for us next!