An EFCA Church in Snohomish, Washington, Echo Lake Community Church as led by Marc Hughes has an interesting take when it comes to giving. How many churches handle giving is problematic and it can also be troubling. This blog would like to see more churches transparent about their finances including making salary information public.
“Be just before you are generous.”
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
James 1:22 NIV
Glacier National Park in Montana
When I was working through the EFCA’s Pacific Northwest District some time ago I noted what an EFCA church said about giving on their website. It was something of interest that I wanted to explore later.
Echo Lake Community Church
Echo Lake Community Church is an EFCA Church in the town of Snohomish, Washington. Snohomish is a small town of about 10,000 in Western Washington, The church has been led by Marc Hughes for a number of years. Marc, according to my research has dual hats. He pastors at Echo Lake Community Church and then he coaches diving at Glacier Park and Snohomish High School. You can read about his coaching here. Aside from that information appears to be scarce on Echo Lake Community Church. The following below is on the giving page of Echo Lake Community Church. Let’s first read what it says.
In his book, Generous Living, author Ron Blue says, “The amount of money you have has nothing to do with financial security or contentment. Neither can satisfaction be found in wise investments, careful budgets, or debt-free living. Instead, the secret to financial freedom and joy is directly linked to one thing: the willingness to be generous with what you have.”
Being generous with our time, gifts and resources is a key indicator to our love for God, others and Life. The management of our finances has little to do with our financial security, investments, or disposable income but rather the state of our spiritual relationship with God. Our generosity is paramount to our ability to live life as though Jesus were living through us.
The Message version of 2 Corinthians 9:10-11 says it perfectly,
“This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God.”
When we reflect and ask the question, “What does it look like if we truly love God?” we can’t overlook one of our Father’s attributes – the attribute of generosity (“this most generous God” vs. 9 above). Our ability to live a Life of Generosity is essential to the accomplishment of our mission and must be developed in the lives of our fellowship.
Some Thoughts on Giving….
This blog is deeply suspicious of many churches and believes that evangelicals should be far more transparent when it comes to finances. Too often I find myself writing about financial issues inside evangelicalism. The other aspect that troubles me is how some churches get others to give. They can manipulate, guilt people or use prosperity theology to try and get people to give money. I asked these questions when I looked at an EFCA church in Las Vegas, Nevada a while back. You can read that post in, “Kevin Scott’s The Stream in Las Vegas, Nevada; Are these Legitimate Reasons to Give Money to a Church?”
So this blog has no problem writing about difficult issues and asking hard questions. One can look at all the other EFCA posts I have done in different districts that are about asking questions. But there is something that I noticed that I wanted to point out that I found refreshing about Echo Lake Community Church and giving. The post doesn’t stress that you have to give money. It also doesn’t say that you have to tithe 10% to Echo Lake. I find that to be much more sound. That seems to be a policy that can be healthy for differing people of differing backgrounds. It also avoids guilt trips. If one can work with the poor then that is as good as donating money. That is how I interpret their giving statement. It allows for more freedom and results in people being able to use their talents in different ways. Perhaps some other EFCA churches can learn from this one when it comes to this issue. As I work across the EFCA and research and write about the organization this was a quick post that I wanted to do.