Sunday, January 20, 2008

Money, Money, Money

I don't know about how things are in your home, but in the Hardaway household we receive multiple and frequent requests from individuals and groups asking for money. The Veterans of Foreign Wars and Asbury Seminary represent this week's contenders for our cash.

Interestingly, the church is no different. Most weeks we get calls from someone looking for help with a gas bill, rent, or food. These needs are met through our Share 'n' Care ministry. But we periodically also get requests from other agencies, groups, minsitries, and individuals to support them financially on an ongoing basis.

In our home, we have decided to give money only to Christian groups and individuals that purposely, strategically, and intentionally advance God's kingdom. While there are many worthwhile causes, our finances are limited. Since we can't support everything, we want to put our money where it will do the most good in the light of eternity. So we choose not to support the firefighters, the FOP, the VFW, the Red Cross, or the United Way--regardless of all the wonderful things they might do. We direct a tithe (10% of our income) to the church and give above and beyond that to other entities advancing God's kingdom.

The elders and I have tried to apply a similar standard for our church in examining the various ministry partnership opportunities that come to us. As a church, from the money that comes in, we give away a tithe (10%) to support other ministries in our backyard and around the world. According to the Acts 1:8 formula, we have Judea/Samaria partners (those who work in other regions of the United States, or who reach those we would not likely have contact with) and ends-of-the-earth partners (who work outside of our national/linguistic group). We understand that "Jerusalem"--the area of Jackson that we have contact with--is our responsibility.

Unfortunately, we can't even afford to support all the Christian groups and individuals who seek partnership with us--our tithe simply doesn't cover it. Therefore, we have adopted a second set of criteria--examining our partnerships through the prism of our Key Three: Real Spirituality, Real Community, and Real Story--as well as directing our money to ministries that are bearing fruit.

I am pleased to tell you that we have added three new minsitry partners for 2008:

  • Imagine This, LLC is a new United Brethren church in Grand Ledge, MI. It was started in January 2007. LLC stands for Life, Love, Community. According to their website, the name communicates "that our lives can be radically impacted beyond our present thinking through a growing relationship with God. If you can imagine it, God has already seen it." This is PCC's first step into actively supporting church planting.
  • Dove Counseling provides Christian counseling to the residents of Jackson County. Many who seek counseling at Dove do not personally have a relationship with Christ, yet nevertheless recognize their spiritual needs and desire a Christian perspective. Dove takes a holistic approach to counseling, seeking to meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of their clients.
  • Ron and Sally Carraway have attended our church for about a year. They work for New Tribes Missions here in Jackson, but have agreed to return to the mission field (they served for 12 years in Papua New Guinea) to oversee the various ministries of NTM in Cambodia. They are planning to head out this spring.

While we wish we could do more, we are still excited to be a part of these great ministries. For a complete list of our ministry partners, please visit our website. It is our desire to be faithful stewards (caretakers) of God's resources, so we work hard to put his money where it will do the most good in the light of eternity. Every time you give to Pathway Community Church, you support the kingdom of God in exciting ways all around the world. Thank you for giving.

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