Multiplex: Mobilizing Resources – Giving – Cape Town 2010


>>A very warm welcome to each and every one
of you to the Resource Mobilization Working Group multiplex session. I’ll go straight
to the subject of this session. The stewardship dilemma. The why, how and where of giving.

Have
you thought about why you and I should give to world evangelization? How should you and
I give to world evangelization? Where should you and I give to world evangelization? We
invite you to join us to explore these questions with nine speakers from eight countries – no
expenses spared, friends. We will do that in three sections.

The first section will
be facilitated by Dr. Sas Conradie. He is the head of the Global Mission Fund, CMS,
UK, and Coordinator of the Resource Mobilization Group.

The second session will be facilitated
by Dennis Tongoi, Executive Director of CMS Africa.

And the third session will be facilitated
by David Wills, President of the National Christian Foundation in the USA.

Hopefully
it will become clear that Christian generosity and stewardship is about the whole church
taking the whole gospel to the whole world with whole-hearted, generous giving. May God
speak to each one of us and maybe all become part of a flood of blessing to the whole world
as a result. I invite you to turn your eyes to the screen for the first of three videos
to whet your appetite, keep you guessing. Two more to come. Watch this first video with
me. Thank you.

Life is a gift
The greatest gift that has ever been given is
Life
Is good
God made us
to be good
Each breath we take is a gift
From the Creator of the universe
Who desires nothing
more than to
Know us
Bless us
Use us
We have been richly blessed
Life is a gift BUT
(that’s
a big bug)
Many of us are absorbed in a day to day existence.
And somewhere along the
way we forget
That we have been blessed for a reason
To be a blessing
This life is not
only ours for the taking
But was given as a gift
To be given as a gift
Talents, ideas,
resources, time
Our very hands and feet
If we just give them to Him
We all have something
to offer
Rich, poor, young, old, black, white, student
So why do Christians still give away
less than 2.8% ?
What if, our perspectives just need to change a little?
If we realize
or even remember that we’ve been given the greatest gift ever
Life
Abundant life through
Jesus
Then we begin to see
Everything around us as if it actually belongs to God
And we
are free to give back to God
By Radically giving to others
Sacrificially
Cheerfully
Imagine
if we held nothing back
If we place it all in his hands
If we place everything in God’s
hands
Then he, in turn, blesses others
Who bless others, who bless others, who bless
others
Creating a ripple of blessing
Movement, flood
That keeps going and going and going
What
if that was the plan all along
Join the flood
Give radically

(Ministry Spotlilght and The Generosity Resource Library – http://maclellan.net)

>>Wow.
What can somebody say after that video? So, I just want to introduce our panel, then,
to reflect on that specifically. About not only being a flood of blessing, but why should
we give. To look at this question, I would like to introduce firstly Reverend Ivor Poobalan,
the Principal of the Colombo Theological Seminary in Sri Lanka. He will share what the Bible
says about giving.

Then Silas Tostes, who is the President of the Brazilian Mission
Association. He will read a paper of Reverend Edison Quieroz of Sao Paulo, Brazil, who could
unfortunately not be with us. This paper is on the response of the local church to giving.

Finally
Mrs. Jokebed Thera who is a businesswoman from Bamako in Mali. She will introduce or
give a personal testimony on why she decided to give to world evangelization. Her paper
will be translated by Reverend Tiowa Diarra.

>>Most Christians are surprised when they discover
that the Bible speaks twice as much about money than about faith and prayer combined.
In fact, one statistic maintains that 15 % of all the recorded words of Jesus are on the
subject of money. So, what should Christians in churches today feel about their wealth?
And what should we do with our resources? Here are three principles of scripture that
form the bedrock of a Christian approach to resource management.

The first is sufficiency,
instead of a fear of scarcity. In Genesis there is the promise that all God’s creatures,
human and animals, will be sustained by the sufficiency of the earth’s vegetation. And
when Jesus miraculously fed the thousands, he used as his starting point a boy’s simple
meal. What is most telling is twelve baskets of leftovers. God’s provision was sufficient
for everyone to have their fill. But their instinctive fear of scarcity drove some to
take more than they needed. The result was waste.

The problem in the church today, as
in the world, is not that there is a lack of resources needed to fulfil our mandate.
It is rather that there is an unequal distribution of resources. Some segments of the church
are holding on to more, out of an instinctive fear of scarcity.

The second principle is
stewardship instead of ownership. The apostles model for us how Christian stewardship must
work. The believers kept bringing donations in cash in order to assist needy Christians.
The apostles focused on this mandate and so Luke records there were no needy persons among
them. And when the demands of the workload increased, the apostles gladly turned over
the entire project to seven deacons. They maintained the emphasis on stewardship, and
the church grew.

The problem in the church today is that certain leaders believe they
have the right to own the resources that God has entrusted to them. In reality God has
given them an honored role of channeling his vast resources for world mission.

The third
principle is generosity instead of selfishness. The sin of Cain and the sin of Ananias and
Sapphira are very similar in nature. They weren’t faulted for refusing to give. No.
They chose to give. But Cain, giving some of the fruit, showed his selfishness, and
stood in contrast to Abel’s more generous firstlings of the flock. Similarly the couple
in Acts kept back part of the proceeds, and died before they could get back to it. The
God of the Bible is pushing for generosity, not mere giving. This is why the New Testament
church is not legally bound to tithe. Instead, as believers move from being under the Mosaic
Law to the era of grace in Christ, the people of God have become free to give, and this
is why we should give. For God loves a cheerful giver. God, who is sole owner of the world’s
resources, is not interested in the amount we drop in the collection. He is only interested
in the evidence of unbridled generosity, of a church informed by grace. For God so loved
the world, that He gave.
>>Thank you. The next speaker is Silas Tostes
from the Brazilian Mission Association, reading Edison Queiroz’s paper on Church and Giving.

>>
God has all the resources he needs to spread his kingdom throughout the earth. Those resources
are in the hands of the Christians. It is, therefore, very important to challenge them
to give to missions and mission causes. As a pastor of a local church in Sao Paulo, Brazil,
my experience shows that the local church is a very effective vehicle to mobilize resources
for mission. Because it is easy to expose church members to various mission causes and
encourage them to give. Here are some insights to help establish the local church as the
base for mission giving, according to the biblical model.

The importance of the pastor.
The pastor of the local church has a fundamental role in encouraging giving to mission. Most
church members in churches follow the leadership of the pastor. So, if the pastor sees world
missions as a priority, he has world missions as a priority in his life and ministry and
the church. His church members will happily give to missions in this context.

The importance
of a mission vision. Members of a church follow the vision of the pastor. Jesus gave the geographical
vision for mission clearly in Acts chapter 1 verse 8. ‘You will be my witnesses in
Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.’ As a pastor,
a pastor must have this biblical vision to reach his city, his state, nation and the
whole world with the Gospel. As a result, church members will give with love and sacrifice.

Mobilizing
church members to invest. Church members recognize the vision and commitment of the pastors through
their preaching and attitudes. So, if you explain initiatives to reach people with the
Gospel in a clear, well-organized and strategic way, then your members will give. Secondly,
pastors need to motivate church members to make a commitment with God for the mission
initiative the church supports. If the commitment is with people or organizations, people will
stop giving when they experience difficulties. Also, church leaders must give assurance that
the giving will be vested only in mission initiatives. Finally, church leaders must
report on initiatives that are supported. As members hear about the results and see
the progress of the Gospel, they will continue to give with happiness. In my experience,
I have realized that two approaches are very important, encouraging mission giving.

Stewardship.
Christians must know how to use their financial resources more effectively, as the Bible frequently
teaches. Members of churches must be challenged with a biblical vision and information of
the needs of the world. We need to teach the principles of stewardship in churches, but
if we do not have initial initiatives to support and a clear mission challenge people will
not give or will give to others. We have before us the great challenge of world evangelization.
We need financial resources to accomplish this task. We need to give vision and tools
for pastors to encourage their members to give financially to accomplish this task.

>>
I just want to say that Rev. Queiroz’s church, as I know, gives every month $30,000 to world
evangelization. The next person to speak is Jokobed Thera a business lady from Mali.

>>
(speaking in French): My presentation will be done in two points. Initially my testimony,
then my convictions about biblical generosity.
First my testimony. I come from my part of
the world, which has traditions of solidarity and helping one another. But modernity, individualism
and materialism have tarnished our traditional values.
Our colonial heritage also generated
a spirit of assistance and strong dependence on gifts from the West. So much so that the
believers of the churches of French Africa developed a spirit of begging, contrary to
the ethics of work, generosity and biblical stewardship. However, it is important for
us to carefully preserve the values of the Bible as bequeathed us, such as generosity.
My
memories about biblical generosity go back to my childhood, where I was marked by the
suffering by the servant and maidservant of God. I noted at that time that the mentality
of living from the assistance of others increased the suffering and prevented them from finding
solutions on the level of the local communities in Africa.

I noticed that the many resources
offered our churches came more from the West than from Africa, so I had the following question:
Was the God that our brothers in the West serve different from the God whom we serve
in Africa? Are the churches of French Africa very poor?

When I grew up, I understood
that God’s way means it is necessary to work, invest, make profits and be generous
to support the work of God. I learned this principle that when you sow, you harvest.
Even though it requires a certain course of sacrifice, I started to give with the little
that I had and God (?). I understood that God is nobody’s debtor.

I then decided to invest
in the Kingdom of God to support some pastors and evangelists, to finance crusades for evangelization.
Today God has opened large doors in the business world in Mali. I continue to work in the business
world with my husband with an aim of investing even better in the Kingdom
of God.

My biblical convictions are this.
According to 2 Corinthians 9:6 “Whoever sows abundantly will harvest abundantly.”
In the field of generosity, we are partners with God. It is my responsibility and that
of all God’s people to give, depending on the level of our resources.

Secondly, 1 Corinthians
3:9 says we are workmen for God. 2 Corinthians 5:20 says we are ambassadors for Christ – in
the field of finances, too. We must defend the interests of God. We must know that God
is the owner of all things. We find that in Psalm 24:1 “The earth is the Lord’s and
everything
in it.”

We are stewards of God on the earth and with stewardship we are not owners, but
managers of the goods of God. God is the owner, but us, we are the servants. We have an obligation
towards God to be faithful stewards. The Lord holds us responsible to occupy and to maintain
the things that He gave us. Matthew 25:14-30 teaches us that we are the administrators
for God of all that we have.
Thank you.
>>Thank you very much. {italicized segment
not in video} Jokebed. Somebody from Mali, I think the third poorest country in the world,
giving generously to world evangelization. If that can happen in Mali, it can happen
everywhere. So yes, we are all stewards of God’s resources. We have to respond to God’s
generosity by giving generously to see all people having the opportunity to hear the
Gospel. But how should we give? The next section and the first video – or the next video
will explore this theme further. Thank you very much.

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