The Money-Back Guarantee. The friend of consumers everywhere. And at LifeChurch, the promise now applies to tithing.
The Edmond, Oklahoma-based congregation instituted the Three-Month Tithing Challenge. Recognizing that the prospect of giving away ten percent of one’s income can be frightening for first-timers, LifeChurch encourages members to tithe for three months, and look for signs of God’s faithfulness. If members believe God hasn’t proven himself faithful, 100 percent of the tithe will be returned, no questions asked.
In order to prevent abuse, LifeChurch has set up a number of rules. In order to qualify for the challenge, participants must not have tithed in the past six months. Before beginning to tithe, they must fill out a registration form, and at the end of the challenge, any request for a refund must come within 30 days.
The inspiration for the money-back guarantee comes from Malachi 3:10-11, which commands a tithe and promises blessing to those who give faithfully. Two separate sermon series, “Mind Your Own Business” and “Give it Up,” were presented in conjunction with the challenge. They can been viewed on the church’s website, LifeChurch.tv. Overall, the leaders of the church hope to encourage faith among those who give, and they’re waiting for the Lord to do some big things—guaranteed.
No Secrets Aloud
LifeChurch is also bringing back the confession booth—online. The church has a website, MySecret.tv, that allows people to anonymously post their secret sins or personal skeletons. It breaks sin into categories: addictions, shame, abuse. The confessions total more than 1,500 at last count.
Some postings are graphic (the site is for adults 18 and over), but no one is encouraged to wallow in their sin. Instead, the keystone is 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” A collection of “Your Stories of Life Change” demonstrates how strong that cleansing is.
“There is no magic in confessing on a website,” said Craig Groeschel, pastor of LifeChurch. “My biggest fear is that someone would think that and would go on with life. This is just Step 1.” Confessors are encouraged to visit the church or join a small group, and it extols the power of community for healing from past sins.
“We confess to God for forgiveness but to each other for healing,” Groeschel said. “Secrets isolate you, and keep you away from God, from those people closest to you.”
Apparently, confession is still good for the soul.
—With info from LifeChurch.tv, New York Times, and churchmarketingsucks.com
Copyright © 2007 by the author or Christianity Today International/Leadership Journal.
Source: CHRISTIANITY TODAY