Let’s be honest: Giving doesn’t make any sense. It’s completely unnatural to give away that which promises to bring joy to your life. Our own sinful hearts join in with the wider culture in telling us that money makes us comfortable and secure and ultimately happy. Generosity will never make sense until we realize that money and the things it buys will never satisfy us and that the only source of true and lasting happiness are the promises of the gospel.
The more people believe the gospel—that in Jesus they have been rescued from sin and judgment, completely forgiven, and brought into a relationship with their heavenly Father—the more they experience true joy and satisfaction. One inevitable consequence is that their attitude about their possessions changes. Accumulating more and more for ourselves is less satisfying and we begin to find that Jesus was right when he said that it is more blessed to give than receive. The true and lasting joy that people seek in money actually comes from holding tightly to the promises of the gospel and loosely to our own possessions. So let’s be honest: To the Christian, giving makes complete sense.
Now of course there are many practical questions to consider when you give money to The Crossing or any group. With that in mind we invite you to read the FAQs below to explore this topic more with us as you seek to respond to the promises of the gospel in the area of your finances.
Any answer to this question is incomplete if we don’t first understand that we are only giving back to God (1 Chron 29:11-16; Psalm 50:10-12; 1 Cor 4:7). And not just that we give back, but that we should give our best, our “first fruits” (Genesis 4:3-7; Deuteronomy 26:10). Because we are giving our first fruits, it’s always a sacrifice. By first, it means we’re giving exactly when the future is most uncertain. We’re giving out of faith, not sight. We’re saying, “Money is not ultimately my security. Christ is.”
And when we give sacrificially, our money increasingly becomes something God honors and uses for his glory. When we give sacrificially, Jesus says we become “rich toward God” (Luke 12:16-21). So our act of sacrificial giving does two things: (1) it actually teaches our hearts to treasure Jesus above all things, and (2) Christ uses our giving toward the building of his kingdom.
Because we are commanded to give our first fruits—our best first—what we give will always be a sacrifice. The Bible provides a firstfruits guideline of 10% of our income (Deut 14:22; Mal 3:8-10; Matt 23:23). This is called a tithe (the word “tithe” comes from the word “tenth”). But if you’re just starting out in applying the biblical principle of giving, it may take a bit of time before you can achieve a 10% level. But it should be a goal to move toward more and more. To help you move in that direction, set an annual goal that you want to reach in terms of the percentage of your income that you plan to give. Then give 1/12th of that annual goal each month. Each year move your annual goal closer to 10%. And when we give that 10%, even in our “poverty,” Jesus always sees our giving as a sign of our faith in him and his promises, and he is pleased (Mark 12:41-44) because we are building treasure in eternity rather than in this world (Matt 6:19-20).
So giving is just that—giving away something that is valuable to us. That’s why it’s always hard to do, particularly when we start giving for the first time. Sometimes we have to lead our heart where we know it needs to go. Over time, maybe slower rather than faster, giving will become a joy the more we understand the gospel (2 Cor 8:9). Like everything in our Christian obedience, it often feels like a duty when we begin to tithe. And to some degree a part of our heart may always see giving that way. But the more we understand the gospel—all that God has done for us and is for us in Christ—the more our experience in giving will be an act of joy and thankfulness than obligation and duty.
When we begin to give it is important that we start by giving to the Operating Fund to enable ministry at The Crossing (see How does The Crossing use the money I give?). This is important because we make our annual ministry plans based on projected giving by each member and attendee. If you want to give above your tithe to The Crossing, we have Special projects that are aligned with some new ministry goals we are pursuing throughout the year.
We have one goal in how we use offering dollars: to do more ministry. God uses ministry to help people see the glory of Christ and in turn transform the lives of individuals and families (Eph 4:11-14). God also intends believers to do ministry in their communities, to live in and prosper with the community in which he has placed them (Jeremiah 29: 4-7, Psalm 37). So we transform money into ministry within our church and community. And while we have savings goals and conservative financial practices, we’re focused on funding ministry, not building a big bank account.
Ministry at The Crossing is financed by the Operating Fund and our budget (How does the crossing ensure financial accountability) can be broken-down into four broad categories:
Staff – Our staff team, by God’s sovereign blessing, is a very important asset in accomplishing our mission of moving hearts and minds to believe the gospel more and more and treasure all that God is for them in Christ. We have an approach to hiring that we think builds a united ministry team that performs with excellence. Excellence means requiring pastors to be seminary trained, requiring ministry and administrative staff to prepare and sometimes even over-prepare for classes and events, and paying staff for a level of professionalism and dedication that is expected in any effective organization.
Facilities and Operations – The Crossing is not a building. It is a community of believers joining together, being devoted to one another, serving together to help each other battle our unbelief, and encouraging one another to live by the promises of Christ in the gospel (Rom 12:3-10). For years we met on Sunday mornings in a school, so we know well that we don’t need a building to have a church. Yet God chose to have more people join our community than can be accommodated in a school. He’s chosen us, at this time, to be stewards of highly visible property in Columbia and an excellent facility on that land. So we have a responsibility to cultivate and develop these blessings. Who knows what our building will be used for in 50 or 100 years from now. But right now it is the visible footprint of The Crossing in Columbia. And on the horizon we have a view to expand and grow our facilities to do more ministry among our growing community of faith and in our city and the surrounding area.
It is obvious how we use the facilities to these ends when you attend a large event or you see thousands of people there on Sunday morning. What is not obvious are the costs associated with keeping the facilities running, the lights on, the 45,000 square feet clean, the climate comfortable, and the office machines and computers running. Everyone finds it more motivating to give to support a national speaker coming to The Crossing than to be someone who gives to pay the property insurance for the building and land. Who wouldn’t? But in truth, facilities and operations are the environment and means of effective ministry at The Crossing. So when you give, you are equipping us to maintain our facilities and fund our operations and pay our staff and equip our volunteers—all as God’s blessing and tools to change lives.
Ministry Programs – Almost every ministry program and event has two goals: 1) to foster the building of relationships, and 2) make known the gospel in a greater and deeper way. All of our ministries run weekly or as special events throughout the year. Your giving funds these events in a way that allows us to always keep them fresh, appealing, and something to which our congregation always wants to invite new people.
Missions & Outreach – The extent to which we believe the gospel really is the greatest need of a lost world is reflected by our individual and corporate giving to missions work. That is why The Crossing supports local and international missions with 7% of our 2012 general operations budget and an additional 4% through funds that members designate for us to support specific missions work. Visit our missions web page to see the list of missions projects we support. Although we work closely with many of the international missionaries, take special note also of the local outreach missions. These missions partners have an important, well-articulated vision that we want to help move forward with financial and other resources. You are always giving to missions when you give to the Operating Fund. These are your missionaries and your outreach to your community. Perhaps you may want to read some of the information on the website and pray for these missionaries we support and for their current outreach efforts.
At the end of every year, the current year’s finances are audited by an outside accounting firm that is not in any way affiliated with The Crossing. Every audit has provided high marks for our accounting practices.
Also at the end of the year, each ministry submits a budget for the following year. That budget is reviewed and adjusted by the Finance Committee (Pastors, Operations Director, Treasurer) and finally reviewed, adjusted and approved by the Elders of The Crossing.
In the office you can request a copy of our audited 2012 financials and our annual report shared in the members forum. In 2012 the four major categories of expenses were: Ministry (59% of budget), Facilities and Operations (18%), Administration (16%) and Missions Giving (7%).
Our day-to-day financial controls include:
· Accounts payable and receivable are separated in that they are processed by different staff members
· Two individuals have visibility to all financial transactions in that the Treasurer manages the bank accounts and the Operations Director signs all checks
· Large expenditures require committee oversight in that fixed asset purchases over $500 must be pre-approved by the finance committee on a month-by-month basis
Use the * giving methods to minimize the processing fees we pay and maximize your gift to The Crossing.
a. *Offering baskets and boxes on Sunday mornings–You can put your offering in the baskets as they are passed through the rows or place your gift in the offering boxes located in each of the vestibules as you enter/exit the auditorium. If you would like us to document the cash that you give, place your cash offering in an offering envelope (located at the information table). If you know that you will be out of town when you had planned to give, you can take advantage of the electronic giving options noted below to schedule your giving.
b. *Online Banking–If you have an online banking account, you can easily setup a recurring transaction where your bank will send us a check in the amount and frequency of your designation; your online banking application will ask for an “account number,” simply put “Tithe” or “Offering” in that space. This is a good option for giving regularly and there are no fees and minimal administrative costs to The Crossing associated with us processing the deposits.
c. *Mail–You can send your gift to the following address:
Attn: Wendy Baier
3615 Southland Dr.
Columbia, MO 65201
d. Online giving--Click the "Give" button at the top or bottom of this page to make a one-time or recurring gift. You can give by debit card, credit card or direct withdraw from your checking account. IMPORTANT NOTE: please only give via credit card if you pay off your balance each month. Do not use credit to give to The Crossing.
e. Stock gift–See this FAQ
f. Non-cash donations – We typically don’t accept non-cash donations.
g. Estate Giving—Please consult your attorney or financial advisor about including The Crossing in your Will.
If you do include The Crossing in your Will, please use our legal name: The Crossing EPC of Columbia.
Please specify how you would like your gift to be used, for example, “Operating Fund” or “Building Projects.”
Please contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org) if we can acknowledge and thank you for your planned gift or if you want us to better understand how you would like your gift to be used.
Yes, for you and The Crossing. You receive a double tax benefit (pay less taxes and take higher deduction) and The Crossing receives 100% of the appreciated stock value. Rather than paying taxes on the increased value of your stock, you are allowed to make a charitable tax deduction for the fair market value of the stock on the day you donate it, within the current tax law limits and restrictions.
It’s an easy process. Give the information below to your broker and instruct your broker to transfer the stock from your account to The Crossing account. IMPORTANT: donate the stock to The Crossing; DO NOT sell it first and then send the funds to The Crossing. You must transfer the stock and have The Crossing’s broker sell the stock to qualify for the deduction.
The Crossing’s Brokerage Account:
Account #: 53398211
As we mentioned in the How Much Should I Give, when you decide to begin giving, it is important that you begin by giving to the Operating Fund, which is the source of ministry funding at The Crossing (see How does The Crossing use the money I give FAQ). Sometimes after people have begun giving to the general fund or they want to make a special donation beyond their tithe of 10%, they ask if there are special projects to which they can give. The number of special projects listed here will vary depending on where we are at in the year and specific funding needs. We currently have one project on which we are focused.
New Building Plans
Our ministries are busting at the seams in our building. Every classroom for kids and middle school, junior high, and high school ministries are overflowing on Sunday mornings. We’d like to offer more classes for adults on topics like parenting, marriage and spiritual growth, but we don’t have the space for that right now. So we’d like to hire and work with an architect to develop plans for expanding our facility space. And the plans are important in more than one way. For example, we can grow other ministries by having a gym and an outdoor pavilion on our campus, but can’t build that until we know where we will expand the facility. Paying an architect to develop building plans is our next step to growing ministry at The Crossing. If we receive more money than is needed to develop the plans, we will save that money and put it toward the construction costs.
If you’d like to give toward this project, put “Future Building” in the memo line of your check or on your offering envelope.
Yes, we expect our members (and attendees who call The Crossing their church) to give to the Operating Fund. We expect this because the Bible tells us that God expects this. And we expect this particularly of The Crossing’s members because they have signed a membership covenant that specified their intention and commitment to give.
Of course, a member’s commitment is not only to give financially to support the Operating Fund, it is also a commitment to give from our time and talents (skills and effort) in our church community and to the broader community in which we live. This is always our calling as followers of Christ. And whatever God calls us to do will always be the most pleasing to us in the end. God is our Creator and his will is always our ultimate happiness, even if it means sacrifice. We don’t sacrifice our time and money out of guilt. If we do that, we don’t understand the gospel—we don’t understand all that God has promised us in Christ. And whenever we obey out of guiltfaith. Faith is a trust in God. And part of trust is believing God’s promise that his will—obeying his commands—is always for our best, and therefore our ultimate happiness. He is our Creator and he always knows what we truly need to be happy. That’s the essence of trust, and therefore the essence of what it means to sacrifice out of faith. we’re not obeying out of
A metaphor we use in our Discovery Class to illustrate why a church member or attendee should be a committed, sacrificial giver is the metaphor of a hitchhiker. A hitchhiker is a person who wants the benefits of a car without any of the costs involved. The hitchhiker says to the owner of the car—“YOU sacrifice for the cost of the car—YOU sacrifice the costs for the gas and the insurance—YOU make the sacrifice of staying awake and alert with the burden of driving—and I’ll just put out my thumb and enjoy the free ride. YOU serve me. I want all the benefits of your car without having to make any of the sacrifice.” But of course, in the end, the hitchhiker has traveled much but possesses Nothing! And that’s also true of the church hitchhiker. What do they really possess without the sacrifice of giving out of faith? The Bibles says, Nothing (see Luke 12:15-21; Matthew 6:19-21; 1 Timothy 6:10-19).
And the challenge for all of us in a church like The Crossing is to overcome our tendency to just hide in the crowd and be served instead of serving—to be a hitchhiker who wants to benefit from the sacrifices of others and yet, in the end, spiritually possesses nothing. Our obedient, sacrificial giving is an important way that we serve one another in love. And when we don’t give, we’re simply expecting others to sacrifice to serve us while we’re just along for the ride.
The short answer is No. In the Bible we do see God’s people giving generously to the “operating fund” of their local congregation (Malachi 3:10; 2 Corinthians 8:2-3; 1 Chronicles 29:14-16). So it seems that minimally the call on our hearts is to give generously to our local church. But there may be other ways God is calling you to do good to all people, especially those in the family of believers (Galatians 6:10). Give generously and pray that the Holy Spirit will give you a discerning heart in choosing how you support the advancement of his kingdom through your giving.