A Story of Generosity -- Jackie Riley
I was a tither before I was a church member. My mother taught me from age 6 or 7 to put 10% of whatever money I received into the little white offering envelope in Sunday School. Now … the church didn’t get rich off me in those early elementary years because I received no allowance or rarely any other funds from my parents – only a little pocket change every now and then from a bachelor uncle or a few dollars made from grass-cutting jobs for my neighbors.
I continued to tithe throughout high school, dutifully giving to the church the first 10% from my babysitting jobs or part-time job at the local dime store. My understanding of tithing grew in my college and young adult years, however, to a desire to give for a purpose rather than from expectation. And, as my salary has grown through the years, I’ve experienced the joy of offering more than a tithe – both of my money and time.
Gratefully, I can now donate at least 10% of my non-sleeping and non-working hours to serving God and others through this special body of believers called the First Baptist Church of Christ. By giving out of my abundance rather than from duty, I am blessed to help provide …
- A beautiful facility for worship, learning and fellowship, including delightfully designed spaces for children and youth
- Dedicated and hard-working ministers with unique gifts who work tirelessly with all ages both in times of celebration and sorrow while also planning meaningful worship experiences that include all ages in leadership
- The best music program for all ages that you’ll find for miles around
- Carefully crafted sermons both from inside and outside the pulpit that challenge us to become better people of God
- Programs and activities that teach our children, youth and adults how to be active participants in God’s work, for example: camps, Vacation Bible School and discipleship classes for children; retreats, mission trips and jubilate choir trips for youth; and workshops, retreats and ethics series for adults
- Unique worship experiences for our community such as the Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, lessons and carols, and Christmas Eve services and concerts presented by nationally known artists such as Ken Medema, Kyle Matthews and Pat Terry.
Mission endeavors such as providing food and clothing and a kind word and a smile for persons of our community less fortunate than I, supporting English language training for persons new to our country, giving money to missionaries around the world, and sending mission teams to Haiti and Liberia.