Ministry Today – Serving and empowering church leaders

Money and Bible

Last week, a development leader of a $100-million-a-year ministry shared with me that 60 percent of their annual budget would be received in the last three months of the year, and much of that in December!

Some say it’s a shame Christian giving is influenced by the year-end tax calendar. In my opinion, this is not all bad. Our lives orbit around dates on the calendar. But what if God is actually OK with it?

We push hard Monday through Friday, and then we get a weekend rest and earn occasional breaks (Memorial Day, July 4, etc.). As we round out the year, we have more extended breaks—Thanksgiving, then Christmas.

The year-end holidays are favorites. For many families they bring extra days to hang out, feast on an abundance of food, watch some football and play corny board games with the kids.

And yes, people think about giving too. Before it’s all over and we toast into the New Year, we make sure we give our gifts.

Some church and ministry leaders are mindful to make sure the office is open on Dec. 31. They know this is the day some givers might be driving around to get their last-minute giving on the books.

Gift Calendar

One of the first things God did for the Israelites (while working out a jailbreak from Egypt) was to give them a calendar. He filled it with three special holidays, each with periods of feasting—and giving.

The Passover kicked off the beginning of the year with a nice seven-day vacation. It was early spring, when all the new momma sheep had birthed their lambs. The Israelites were careful to set aside the firstborn for sacrifice, along with every 10th sheep for the tithes. And as daddy was thumbing through the files (or knife notches on the barn stalls), he would note any vows they committed during the winter and set aside those gifts as well.

After gathering the gifts, the children strapped their portable video players to the camel humps, and the family set off for their pilgrimage to the temple to feast, celebrate, give thanks—and give gifts too.

Seven weeks later, Pentecost arrived. This was when the early crop began to show in the fields, when it was their chance to gather a firstfruits offering and thank God for the coming fall harvest.

And in the fall, landowners would bring in the full harvest, taking inventory along the way. After shutting down their fields for winter, they gathered their gifts and set off for the year’s final festival, the Feast of Tabernacles. This one lasted 21 days! (Enough time to capture each of the 35 bowl games on TV.)

God staggered the Israelite calendar with gift seasons, each in sync with the livestock and harvest seasons. Folks worked hard during the year with periodic breaks to pause, assess God’s blessings, set aside gifts—and offer them to God.

Holidays Are for You

Just as Jesus reminded us the Sabbath was for us and not the other way around, remember the holiday calendar is for you. It’s your opportunity to celebrate with family and friends, count your blessings from God—and give your gifts.

Year-end giving can be a beautiful part of our life rhythm. God enjoys giving us these breaks, celebrations and seasons of gifts. As you approach the year-end holidays, take the time to:

  • Assess your harvest. Look over your wage statements and other incomes sources. And while you’re at it, take note of your non-financial blessings as well.
  • Thank God for your blessings. He enjoys knowing you recognize these things are from Him.
  • Review your gifts throughout the year. Life gets busy. Sometimes we lose track.
  • Pray about how God would have you finish out your gift year.

And if you find yourself driving across town on Dec. 31 to drop off a check or getting online just before midnight to process one final gift transaction—don’t feel bad.

Instead, look up to the heavens, close your eyes, smile ... and then click.

Jeff Anderson has worked with churches for nearly two decades, as elder in his own church, as vice president of generosity initiatives with Crown Financial Ministries and currently as leader of AcceptableGift.org.

For the original article, visit pastors.com.

Leaders are readers! Subscribe now and get 3 magazines for the price of 1. Get Ministry Today, Charisma and SpiritLed Woman all for $24. YES - I'm a leader!

Ministry Today Subscription Special - Subscribe to Ministry Today magazine today and get 12 issues (2 full years) plus Amplified Leadership, a free leadership book for only $24.

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
  • Discouragement can be a serious struggle.

    Guard Your Spirit Against These 4 Crippling Attacks

    Are you struggling this Valentine's Day with one of these discouraging issues?

  • Worship leaders, keep your team's attitude in check.

    This Can Quickly Erode a Worship Team's Culture

    God has given us talent and He calls for excellence, but excellence with this is not honoring ...

  • A 'What's in it for me?' mentality could bring your church down.

    The Mentality That May Be Killing Your Church

    And we wonder why so many congregations are stagnated, plateaued or declining.

  • Why Many Christians Misunderstand This Crucial Leadership Trait

    Great leadership doesn't start with a great education, although that is incredibly valuable. ...

  • Start a Wildfire of Spiritual Growth in Your Church

    Start a Wildfire of Spiritual Growth in Your Church

    Watch how God can take one spark and turn it into a wildfire that impacts your ministry, your community and even future generations.

  • What reasons can you think of that leaders might not choose to delegate authority?

    7 Reasons Some Leaders Dump Delegation

    These could have a lot to do with stalled growth and low team morale.

  • Your Source of Unlimited Kingdom Energy and Power

    Jesus said that we can do greater works than He did and that He will do whatever we ask in His Name.

  • Don't bring your sermons in for a crash landing.

    4 Terrible Ways to Close a Sermon

    People need an opportunity to respond to the Word of God.

  • These seven responses can get you on the right track.

    Responding Like Jesus When Your Church Kicks You Out

    It's a pain that many in the ministry have felt at least once and maybe more.

Use Desktop Layout
Ministry Today Magazine — Serving and empowering church leaders