Hi Friends,

Here is part 2 of our 3 part series on how to Be the Church in a Virtual Setting. The church is not a building, or a set a programs, but a gathering of people. We are the church.  And so while the way we normally do church has changed, the fact that we can still be the church has not changed.

In part 1 I wrote about the importance of engaging in corporate worship and some practical suggestions for how to do so during this time. Today, I want to write about generosity.  That might seem like an odd thing to talk about right now, but the reality is that many people in our church are finding themselves in difficult financial positions. Several have been laid off or furloughed with drastically reduced pay.  I know that my temptation during this time of uncertainty is to hold on to my resources as much as possible, but I don’t think that’s honoring to the Lord.  I want to be someone who is generous with others as God has been generous with me in His grace.

1 We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, 2 for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.3 For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord,4 begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints– For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. (2Co 8:1-4,9 ESV)

The gospel is a story of grace where God emptied himself of what was His, so that we could have His righteousness, forgiveness and love freely given to us.  And so we give, with joy, because we know what we have been given in Christ.  We give not to get God’s good favor, but because God has already given it to us by grace.  We give in response to God out of worship of God for the good of others. Something to think about is how you can use the upcoming government stimulus check you’ll be getting to be generous to others.  Do you really need that extra money or is that something that you can use to give to a need?

To help us be generous and give to those in need, we have expanded our church’s Benevolence Fund and want to give you the opportunity to give directly to it.  You can do so by going to http://christchurchsouthphilly.org/give/.  On the drop down menu called “Giving To” (which is right next to where you put in the amount.), please select Benevolence Donation.  Please note that you can give by either credit card or bank account.  We do have to pay fees for credit cards, but you can choose to cover those fees by clicking on the box “cover fees”, if you want to.  Obviously, you can also mail a check to our church office at 229 Moore Street and put Benevolence Fund in the memo line.  We are going to be getting in contact with families that we know are in need and working with them to be able to get these funds to them responsibly.  Thank you for prayerfully considering how you can participate.

Also, I would be remiss (and our financial people would get upset at me) if I didn’t also let you know that general giving to our church is down significantly.  This is understandable as this is a hard time for everyone and also it is easy to forget since we are not meeting in person.  However, I would encourage you to continue to practice the spiritual discipline of giving and trusting God to provide.  You can do so by clicking “tithe” on the Give To menu, or clicking on General Fund.

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you,

Pastor Jeff