Proverbs 22:7 (ESV) The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.
When we planted City on a Hill Church we decided right from the very beginning we would never be a slave to the lender. In my 20 plus years in the church and in my 16 years of ministry I have seen great churches fall into the trap of becoming slaves to the lenders. Building buildings that they could not afford for the sake of “growth” an “if you build it they will come” field of dreams kind of mentality. Unfortunately, I have watched as ministry has taken a back seat and bill paying becomes a priority. The people are strapped with a heavy burden and it can feel almost as if they are taxed for attending. I have watched as the pastors have moved from risk taking leaders to nickel and nose counting managers. I know it sounds harsh but it deeply saddens me to see this kind of thing happening in an epidemic fashion in our country. Some have built cathedrals unto themselves and then walked away leaving the people to carry the debt and burden. In our day and time so many of us are living pay check to pay check we get monthly bills at the house. Some times there is more month than there is money! Then we come to church and get our bill for attending and when we leave rather than saying, “It has been a real pleasure.” We say, “It has been a real pressure.” My heart breaks for the people. At City on a Hill Church we decided that we will never be a slave to the lender. Are we going to have a church building? Absolutely! We believe God is going to give us or buy us a church building. Will we and do we save to buy a building outright? Absolutely as God provides we choose to be good stewards with God’s resources. The benefits to renting are endless. No lawn care, no maintenance, no electric bill, no water bill and he list goes on and on. God has provided for us an 11,000 square foot facility right in the middle of our community. It has everything that we need. It has more than we need and we are thankful. Not being a slave to the lender allows City on a Hill Church to do the work of the ministry. We are able to care for those within our congregation who find themselves in need. We partner locally with the city to minister to the needs of single moms, the homeless, the poor, the needy. We partner worldwide to see churches planted, Gospel crusades, bible colleges built in foreign countries, children receive a Christian education, and the list goes on and on to the glory of God. Now is it important to tithe and to give? Absolutely! According to Jesus in Matthew 23:23, Yes you should tithe but you should not neglect justice, mercy, and faithfulness. I believe in tithing! I believe in giving! We are made in the image of God and part of the image we bear is to be givers. We can give without loving, but we can’t love without giving. The people of City on a Hill Church are ridiculously generous. I don’t have to strap a heavy burden onto them. They give because God gives. They give out of grateful hearts because they understand the grace, love, and mercy of God. They give because they know they can trust us to be good stewards of God’s resources and blessings. Our core value is we are blessed to be a blessing. God has given us a certain amount of time, talent, and treasure and He expects us to use it to Love Him, Love people, and Preach Jesus. They give not out of duty but out of grateful loving hearts. As the pastor of City on a Hill Church I choose not to look at giving records. I chose to trust in God’s grace and the leading of the Holy Spirit to put in each person’s heart what they are to give.