The VIVE Church in Palo Alto has accomplished what many would deem impossible - they raised $8 million in just 45 days to purchase their first permanent building. And it wasn't through the generosity of multi-millionaires or investors expecting financial returns, but through the sacrificial giving of over 700 households, made up of normal, average people.
But this feat is not unique to VIVE Church. In fact, the church as a whole is the most generous entity on the planet. According to statistics, over 30% of the $450 billion donated in charitable contributions towards nonprofit organizations every year is given to and through the local church. This is a larger percentage than any other category in the nonprofit space, with Education coming in second at only 13%.
But what makes the church so generous? It's not just their ability to respond to needs in the community or their embeddedness within it. Rather, it's their acknowledgement of God in everything, whether there is a need or not. This is where the tithe comes in.
The origination of the tithe is in the old testament with Abram. A simplified version goes like this: Abram goes into battle, wins, receives all the spoils, and honors God by giving 10% (a tithe) of all the spoils to the high priest. Abram was not forced to give but freely gave because he recognized that if it was not for God he wouldn’t have any of it anyway. And that is why no other entity on the planet can ever compete with the church in a generosity Olympics.
Many people hold misconceptions about the tithe, thinking it's a membership fee or a church tax, but biblically it's neither. It's a voluntary act of giving 10% of one's income to honor God and acknowledge that everything we have is ultimately His. This understanding of the tithe transforms people's perspective on money, leading to consistent and sacrificial giving.
The VIVE Church's successful building campaign is a testament to the power of generosity and the impact the church can have on the local community and the world. It's not about competing in a generosity Olympics, but about living a lifestyle of generosity that consistently acknowledges God as the reason for any victory, income, or provision we may have.