Keeping the Tithe Holy | Pastor Mark Garver

Keeping the Tithe Holy
Pastor Mark Garver

Cornerstone Word of Life (Madison, AL)

Rick Sharkey Pastors Mark &
Rhonda Garver

1. What did you formerly do regarding the receiving of tithes and offerings? How was this done in your church?

For the last 15 years or so, we have taken about five minutes before receiving the tithes and offerings to give the church the Word concerning faith and finances. I have had a business man in my church with a strong revelation in this area receive the tithes and offerings on Sunday mornings and I do it myself on Wednesday nights. He is gifted and anointed to do this. So, before every offering we taught for about five minutes, then either prayed or led them in a confession, passed the buckets and we were done.

2. What prompted you to make a change?

Jim, who receives the tithes and offering, had a challenge in his business with growth and increase. They were not seeing the abundance the Word of God promises. They were struggling, toiling, and competing with other companies that seemed in the natural to have an advantage over them. Jim said he had struggled with this for several years and he told the Lord he had to have an answer. He knew the problem was not on God’s end, but his. He told the Lord he was going out on his patio and not coming back inside until he had an answer. Just as soon as he said that out of his mouth the Lord spoke to him. The Lord said to his heart, “You are more focused on what you don’t have than what you do have. If you will begin to thank me for what you have, I will give you more.” Jim said he made an immediate adjustment in his heart.

Jim then brought what the Lord had personally taught him to our church using the scripture from Duet. 26:10 “And now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land, which thou, O Lord, hast given me. And thou shalt set it before the Lord thy God, and worship before the Lord thy God:”. Jim taught on this and we worshiped the Lord for a few minutes. The anointing and presence of God came into the room and it was a tremendous time of corporate worship. I told him later it seemed like a very unique anointing came into the room. Jim then talked to me and asked me if we could continue to do this. I told him it seemed good to do this as long as it didn’t just become a ritual. We started doing this in mid-November and have continued until this point. It has not become a ritual but is a vibrant time of worship.

3. What specific changes have you made? What now happens in your church when tithes and offering are received?

The only change we have made is the adding of the worship time. After Jim gives the Word on faith and finances for about five minutes, we hold our tithes and offerings up to God and we worship Him before the buckets are passed. Everyone worships out of their own heart over their own tithes and offerings. Jim encourages everyone to participate and usually everyone does and there is a strong presence of God while we worship.

The way we do our service lends itself to this spontaneous worship. We start our services with two upbeat songs, then we break to greet first time visitors, do announcements, and then we receive the tithe and offering. Jim leads us into worship as we present our tithe, then the worship team takes over and does a worship set. Then, I take the service and go into the Word.

4. What differences are you now seeing in your services, in the church overall, and in the lives of the people?

First, there seems to be a real excitement about giving to the Lord in our church. As far as results, we started worshipping over our giving in mid-November and have seen record giving to the church starting in the month of December. December of 2009 was the largest giving month ever recorded in the 17 year history of our church. January and February have also been record months; the largest giving for those individual months. Our church is growing numerically as well with an increase of about 40 people in average attendance on Sunday mornings over 2009. However this record giving cannot be attributed to church growth and I attribute the growth in income directly to us changing how we receive the tithes.

Jim had a great personal testimony. After we began worshipping over our giving, he received a quarter of a million dollar contract with the largest hospital in our area. Also the city fixed a drainage problem in his back yard that only affected him and no one else in the neighborhood. A friend that worked for the city said there was no way that they would fix it for him and that he would have to do it with his own money. Recently, after 3 to 4 years of this problem the city suddenly decided to fix the problem at a cost of $70-90,000. We are getting regular reports of people getting raises, bonuses, and better jobs; right in the middle of a recession. We are going to continue down this path as long as the Holy Spirit leads us.