Celebrating God's Faithfulness in 2013
Looking over our shoulder, we see that God has been faithful throughout the history of creation, and no less so in 2013. Though numbers can be deceptive and never tell the whole story, they are an excellent means by which we can catch a glimpse of what God has been doing in and through our community.
NOTE FOR FIRST TIME ONLINE GIVERS: If are giving online for the first time you will need to setup an account for security purposes.
You can also give to One Harbor at our gathering on Sunday or by mail. If you would like to mail in your finances, please make out the check to One Harbor Church and mail it directly to:One Harbor Church
PO Box 1977
Morehead City, NC 28557
Thank you so much for your faithfulness and generosity in partnering with us to see the Gospel advanced in Eastern North Carolina and beyond. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call or email.
One Harbor Church Elders
We understand how much harm has been done in many churches and ministries with regard to finances. This is why we take it so seriously at One Harbor Church and have set in accountability measures. These measures include an audit every three years and an annual review by an independent accounting firm whose job is to come in and point out any inconsistencies, inform on better accountability procedures/policies, and account for all expenditures.
In addition to having accountability measures we have wrestled through the Bible discovering all that God has to say about tithing and other kinds of giving. Below is a summary of what we found the Bible had to say.
We Tithe To Jesus
Jesus cares how we spend our money. In Luke 19:13 (NIV) we see the parable of the servants charged to, "Put this money to work until I return". Jesus shows us the heart of the economy of the kingdom: no matter what we receive from God, we are to put it to work.
We ultimately tithe to Jesus. Moving through the Bible cover-to-cover, the first example of tithing we come across is “Father Abraham” giving towards Melchizedek (Genesis 14:18-20). This account is significant to us because we know from Hebrews 6:20–7:17 that Jesus is proven to be ‘a Priest in the order of Melchizedek’.
Why is this significant to us? Not only is Jesus connected to Melchizedek in the New Testament, but we are connected to Abraham as sons through faith (Galatians 3:7).
How then do we tithe to Jesus today? We can’t mail Him a check directly.
We tithe to Jesus by giving towards His Church & Jesus’ Gospel Ministry. This is why it’s not about the programs or the buildings, but its about the Gospel. We are giving money towards what Jesus gave His life for!
Tithing Is About Faithfulness, Not Generosity
In the Old Testament (OT), tithing was never seen as generosity, but was about us being faithful stewards of what God had given us.
We don’t see this change in the New Testament (NT). Most people don’t see “tithing” in the NT, but will admit that Jesus at least alludes to the possibility of it being still possible.
In Matthew 23:23, “…this you should have done…”. Jesus had a great chance to say, “this you should not have done”, but He didn’t. His appeal to them didn’t negate tithing, but appealed to them to also remember the weightier issues of the law.
In addition to Jesus’ remarks on tithing, what many seem to miss is Paul’s appeal in 1 Corinthians 9:7-12. In this passage Paul appeals to two things, human logic and the OT pattern for funding the local household of faith.
- Soldiers don't pay for the war they fight
- Those who plant a vineyard eat of it's fruit
- Those who tend a flock get some of the milk
Verses 8 and 9: "Do I say these things on human authority? Does not the Law say the same? For it is written in the Law of Moses, ‘Don't muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.’”
This reference comes from Deuteronomy 25:4. Even animals are entitled to their share of the harvest when they work the fields. It's only used in the NT in one other place (1 Timothy 5:17-18) when Paul is fighting for elders (especially those who teach/preach) to be funded.
It's also interesting to note that Deuteronomy 26:1-4, 12 speaks into when a person moves to a new area they should immediately bring their tithe to the "local household of faith". This counters the notion of "tithing to the past" (i.e., we give tithes towards where we "used to be spiritually fed").
God is not so sentimental about the past, but desires us to be committed to the present expansion of the Gospel in our current local area.
This Makes Tithing Extremely Missional
As the great missionary pioneer Jim Elliot once said, "Wherever you're at; be all there"
Deuteronomy 26 is appealing to us that our faithful tithing be "wherever we are at". Acts 17:26 shows us that God predetermined this EXACT place and time for us to be here. We can assume He determined that we would contribute there financially.
The Hinge-Point Between God’s Pattern and Plan
1 Corinthians 9:13-14, “Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings? In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel."
"In the same way"...God's pattern and plan hasn't changed.
There would be local households of faith that defended, declared and defined the Gospel.
The "bullets" would be bought, the war would be funded by the local members/partners.
There’s A Difference Between Faithfulness and Generosity
When we use generosity to speak of tithing, we do so incorrectly. Often we will use 2 Corinthians 8-9 (Generosity, God Loves A Cheerful Giver, Each Decide What To Give, etc...) to build a theology for the funding of the Local Church as opposed to Tithing. When we do this we err and go against God's pattern for funding the "Local War Effort".
The local “mission” is not to be funded based on feelings, but on the faithfulness of those “soldiers” stationed.
In 2 Corinthians 8-9, Paul is clearly appealing to something beyond this faithful funding locally. He is speaking about the opportunity to sow trans-locally, which appeals to us to go beyond the norm.
Essentially, 1 Corinthians 9 speaks of faithfulness, while 2 Corinthians 8-9 speaks of generosity. Both, as in marriage or anything else, are essential but neither cancel the other.
Imagine you came home only once every three months and gave your wife a new car because you wanted to be “generous.” She probably wouldn’t care about your “generosity” because she’d be wondering where you’ve been for the last three months.
However, if all you did was be “faithful” to your wife and never surprised her with something out of the ordinary, your marriage would suffer from boredom.
The point is that Generosity doesn’t trump God’s demand for Faithfulness. God wants us to be both radically faithful (locally: day-to-day operations) and radically generous.
FAQs On Tithing
We know that this is often a big deal for many people who have been a part of churches before and those who haven't. If you are considering Partnership with One Harbor Church and have some questions on Tithing in relationship to Partnership, please see the FAQ's below. These are designed to help you quickly find an answer, however if you still feel you do not understand something, feel free to contact the office (/(252) 422-2899) and set up a meeting with one of the Elders.
QUESTION 1: I don’t believe tithing is in the Bible or part of New Testament Christianity, can I still become a Partner of One Harbor?
SHORT ANSWER: Not if you are unwilling to change on this.
LONG ANSWER: We understand that people who love Jesus, and may even be very generous, differ in opinion on whether or not tithing is a Biblical aspect of Christianity. However, the vast majority of Scripture affirms tithing and nowhere in Scripture do we see it rejected. In addition, we see in the Old Testament & in the New Testament pictures of a local household of faith where the believers who were part of that household contributed towards seeing God glorified and the Gospel advance in their area. God’s plan was that the funding for that effort to see Him glorified locally would be done through those who participated in that community of faith. We do not see that change from the Old to the New Testament, as both pictures are that of a group of committed believers who partnered together so that there was an established work happening in their area. It was because of their partnership that they could benefit from in being led and taught about God and could also serve to provide for those in the community who were in need and unable to provide for themselves. For us, tithing is not about legalism, but about commitment. The old cliché is that you put your money where your mouth is. If you feel that God has called you to be a part of One Harbor, you should be contributing financially by tithing towards those who do the teaching and leading of the church and towards the Gospel being advanced in and through this church community you are a part of.
QUESTION 2: I tithe money to other ministries outside of the church and therefore do not give 10% to One Harbor, can I still become a Partner of One Harbor?
SHORT ANSWER: Not if you are unwilling to change on this.
LONG ANSWER: While it is obvious in this scenario there is a heart of generosity and that you believe in tithing as a biblical principle, we differ on where tithing should go and the importance of the local church. As an eldership team, we also believe that tithing is a biblical principle that is relevant today as much as it was in any period that we see in the Bible. We understand that scripturally, the tithe is to be brought to the “storehouse” where one is spiritually fed, which in the New Testament is your local church. Simply put, if I eat at Olive Garden I don’t pay for the meal at Starbucks. We understand that this tithe belongs to God and we each bring the whole tithe to our local church. Your local church is the church where you are knitted in as a participating partner and are under the biblical covering and authority of ordained leadership. Biblically, 100 percent, not 10 percent, belongs to God; however, the tithe (10 percent) is meant to go towards funding the local church. We can then, from the remaining 90 percent, look for ways to bless others where God leads us.
In addition, if you are in agreement with the above and will have to choose between tithing and supporting the ministries you are currently contributing to, please don’t just stop sending them money “cold turkey.” We recommend you communicate to them that in three months time you will no longer be able to support them so they have time to prepare, adjust and raise other support if necessary. You are welcome to go ahead and follow through with Partnership now and then begin tithing in three months time. If you still don’t see this in Scripture, we differ greatly on the importance of the local church and partnership is not for you at this time.
QUESTION 3: I am in debt and I cannot afford to give 10%, can I still become a Partner of One Harbor?
SHORT ANSWER: It depends.
LONG ANSWER: Debt is a symptom of greed and ignorance. It’s not wise to be in debt and/or to live beyond our means and the Bible’s wisdom for us is to not be enslaved by anything if possible. Our goal is that we would be free from debt and be able to live a life of generosity. However, we understand that debt is not something that can go away overnight. If you are in debt to the place where you are unable to tithe, you need to first repent that you have been an unwise steward of the resources, great or small, that God has entrusted you with. Then, you need to begin to work to get out of debt no matter how long it takes. As a church, we would love to be able to help empower you towards this end & would love to provide resources, coaching, etcetera, to help equip you to be free from the slavery of debt. We would ask that you just let us know that debt is the reason you cannot currently contribute financially, give what you can for now and be open to godly counsel on becoming a better steward of your finances. We cannot imagine that anyone wants to be in debt. However, if you are fine living in debt and don’t want to change (which means you don’t want to be able to contribute), the short answer is that Partnership is not for you. We would strongly encourage you to search the Scriptures and ask God to show you that you are blind and need to see His wisdom for finances.
QUESTION 4: I’m poor and unable to give 10%, can I still become a Partner of One Harbor?
SHORT ANSWER: Yes, you CAN be a partner.
LONG ANSWER: Jesus never rejected the poor, but embraced them. We want to do the same and be a blessing to you. As a church, if the majority are playing their role and tithing, we should be able to help those in our community who are genuinely in need. We would humbly ask that you trust us to not dishonor you by making your financial situation public, but allow us to know your needs so we can pray for you as your pastors and try to help support you where possible.
Also, we would ask that you would commit to give what you can in “time and talents” so that you are faithfully stewarding what you do have. In addition, we see in Mark 12:41-44 that Jesus commended the widow for giving financially even out of her poverty. As Christians, we do not believe that poverty is an excuse to not be faithful stewards of what God has given us. While we understand that your giving may be on a smaller scale, we fervently believe that God sees the heart and takes great joy in our giving.
Finally, as your pastors our desire is that, where possible, being part of One Harbor will eventually lead you to a point of being free from a life of poverty.