Wilshire asks four things of its members and regular attenders. We desire that all in the Wilshire community Worship, Learn, Give and Serve. We operate from a mentality of abundance rather than scarcity, and we teach the biblical concept of tithing as normative practice. Because God has been generous to us, we must be generous to God's church and to others around us.
"Stewardship" means giving boldly of and managing wisely God's spiritual and material gifts through sacrificial service. At Wilshire, all members are encouraged to grow in stewardship of both time and money, learning the spiritual discipline of giving. What you give isn't nearly as important as that you give. From wherever your starting point may be, you can grow in the grace of generosity.
Answers to some common questions about stewardship:
Why talk so much about money?
The Christian church talks about money mainly because Jesus had quite a lot to say about money. In fact, money is the most frequently mentioned subject in Jesus' own words as recorded in the four Gospels. At Wilshire, we talk about money in terms of developing stewardship and learning a spiritual discipline. We do not encourage giving merely for the sake of collecting larger offerings. The emphasis falls on the good a person experiences learning to give and the good the church can do in the world with the money that is given to God's causes.
How much should I give?
The biblical model is to return to God a tithe, meaning 10 percent of gross income. That is the benchmark. Some people give more than 10 percent. Others need to work toward giving 10 percent. Of most importance is to begin giving at some consistent level.
Who came up with this idea of tithing?
It's as old as the Bible. Beginning with the law given by God to the children of Israel, God asked for tithes of 10 percent of each person's produce and livestock. See Leviticus 27:30. Later, the Israelite prophet Malachi (Malachi 3:10) admonished the people to be faithful in tithing and stop robbing God of what is rightfully God's: "'Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,' says the Lord Almighty, 'and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it." The principle of tithing has been carried into the Christian church through the centuries from this root in Judaism.
Does that mean if I give generously to God, I'll get good things in return?
The so-called "prosperity gospel" as advanced by many televangelists has little basis in the Bible. In fact, much of Jesus' own words called his followers to lives of sacrifice, not riches. Salvation cannot be bought. The Bible does teach, however, that God will supply all the needs of those who trust in God. It says nothing about getting expensive cars or houses in return.
Can't I just give my time and not my money?
Generous stewardship requires giving of time, talent and money. All we possess, all we are have come to us as gifts from God. If we are to be generous to God's kingdom in the same measure God has been generous to us, we cannot hold back in any area.