The buidling maintenance, outreach programs, services, and ministries of First Congregational Church are supported entirely by contributions from our congregation ... and from people like you. Would you like to help us serve the community? Click on the link above to make a monetary gift to our Church. If you’d like to offer a gift for a specific program, service, or ministry that is not listed, please call us at 989-754-6565 or E-mail us at email@example.com. (Note: Memorial gifts can be made to the Church in anyone's name regardless of membership.)
The concept of giving to the church started in the Old Testament, at first "offerings" were given to God from the product grown or raised by a persons craft, later from what they bought or traded.
1. THE TITHE/PLEDGE: The first regular offering (the tithe) became standardized when the children of Israel occupied the "Promised Land." Each tribe was given their own lands to cultivate—except for the tribe of Levi. The Tribe of Levi were given solely over to the service of God, they were a tribe of ministers. Because they received no lands or inheritance, the other tribes gave 10% of all their earnings to "the Lord"--or specifically the people's ministers, the tribe of Levi. The tradition of giving a "Tithe" (literally a 10th) starts from those ancient days. Your “pledge” echoes this concept of supporting the church and its ministry.
2. GIFTS AND SPECIAL OFFERINGS: The idea of gifts (special offerings) is found throughout scripture. Most notably, the building of the tabernacle of Moses (Exodus 32-36). In the construction of Moses' tabernacle, the nomadic tribe had just made their exodus from Egypt where they were slaves! Here in the middle of the desert of Sinai, they give the very jewelry in their ears, fabrics from their homes, and animals of their herds for the good of the people--and Moses' tabernacle was built! For the people, by the people! This type of giving was always considered "above and beyond" the tithe (the 10% pledge). In the practical sense, the tribe Levi would have perished if all the gifts were taken from the tithe, or the tabernacle wouldn’t have been built! It was the "extra" that built the tabernacle. Churches run special fundraisers for buildings, instruments (like our Organ Fund), and other special projects that "build the church" that are outside of the normal maintenance and operations of the church. But such projects should never detract from the foundational needs of the church--while at the same time, should be encouraged for the growth and development of the church! The Tabernacle became an essential part of the history of Israel!
3. ALM: There are always the poor amongst us, those who have suffered by both their own hand and by the hand of chance and fate. It is very clear that Jesus believed in the ministry to the poor, as he himself "fed the poor and needy" and called them blessed. Alms are above the tithes and a type of special giving, but they are not for the "benefit" or even growth of the church--they are given as a gift with no expectation for return, and the blessing from such a gift is not for use to reap here as much as in heaven... indeed it is a way to bring heaven to earth for those in great need.