Greater Influence: Intervention or Prevention?

thumb.phpThe following is the teaching notes for Pt. 1 Greater Influence: Intervention or Prevention?  

The bottom line is that there is no greater influence you can have, or that GCC can have than through giving financially to “prevent” bad stuff from happening!

SO- Intervention or Prevention Giving? Thankfully GCC has a great past when it comes to being generous in the area of giving; especially to things that need immediate help like mission’s projects overseas and this past December, Urban Outreach and purchasing winter coats for those in need (200 coats at $3000 total)!

This is certainly an American thing and a Christian thing to do– it’s ingrained in our consciousness to want to respond to real needs or desperate situations.  Americans are givers: natural catastrophes at home or around the world, some other crisis situation, we respond and it’s allowed us to have great influence in our world.  And this is really rooted in our Judeo-Christian values that this country was founded on.

We are inclined to respond to the need to rescue someone or something!  GCC has a proven track record in this respect!  If I were to put pictures of needy, starving children on the screen today, there’s no doubt you would respond overwhelmingly and give to rescue those children!

But this weekend I want to talk about another kind of giving… the type of giving that doesn’t get much glory or attention for a variety of reasons: giving a percentage of your income to a local church so they can provide for serving the needs of a congregation, having facilities, paying staff, paying bills, serving young families and children and seniors, etc.  This giving is about an ongoing, steady, consistent, commitment to give!

INTERVENTION GIVING: There is a crisis and we give to help get someone out of the crisis!  Americans lean towards this way of giving.

PREVENTION GIVING: Giving to keep something bad or unwanted from happening!  Regrettably most of us are not inclined in this direction, which I’ll explain…

We just don’t do PREVENTION in most areas of our lives!  Take marriage: We don’t need the books, the mentoring, the Life Group, the marriage seminars, etc.  But then all of a sudden there’s a crisis in our marriage and we need an “intervention!”  We need a counselor, we need prayer, we need someone or something to intervene in our crisis!  But it’s very possible we could have prevented it.

We don’t do “preventative” in our health!  We just don’t take care of ourselves physically, the annual checkup, healthy eating, etc., and then something happens and we’re running to the doctor for an “intervention!”  Give me a pill, a surgery, something to get me out of this condition!  But we could have prevented it.

We don’t do preventative in our finances!  We don’t save, or we spend frivolously, we don’t budget, or we buy it now and worry about it later, and then suddenly, the “unexpected” happens, the financial crisis hits and we need, say it, an “intervention!”  But it’s possible we could have prevented it!

WE TREAT OUR GIVING THE SAME WAY- WE DO INTERVENTION AND NOT PREVENTION!  It’s how we think in every area of life.  WHY?

INTERVENTION GIVING is emotional and the results are measurable!  Again, if I put pictures on the screen today of starving, hungry children and tell you we can feed 500 children daily for just $20 per day (and GCC has done this…), you are going to respond and make it happen!  Because we’re emotional about it and we can measure the results!*

But PREVENTION GIVING is NOT emotional and generally CANNOT be measured, but it really does have a greater influence!*

Question:  Would you rather give to an organization that prevents child abuse or one that rescues kids from abusive situations?  It’s a trick question because the answer is BOTH!  When a child is rescued from an abusive situation, even though the damage is already done, you’re so thankful they’re no longer in that setting… But what do we always says?  “I wish this never happened.  I wish this could have been prevented!”

But that’s just it, you can’t measure what’s been prevented; it’s not emotional!  We all know there’s value there, but it doesn’t weigh on our emotions!  But wouldn’t the GREATER INFLUENCE be in PREVENTING all the bad things from ever happening??

So, here’s what I want you to get this weekend: SYSTEMATIC GIVING TO A GREAT CHURCH IS PREVENTATIVE GIVING!  And GCC is a GREAT CHURCH!  Because a great church is one that is on mission, that cares about the greater needs of it’s community and wants to serve and meet those needs.  A church that’s not merely going through the motions, or about self-consumption, but about finding ways to have greater influence for the glory of God!

YES!  If I just wanted to raise money I could stand up here week after week and show you pictures and tell stories about legitimate situations: the homeless, abused children, the less fortunate, and you would want to INTERVENE!  And we do that from time to time because the need, the crisis is real, it’s emotional and we can measure it!

BUT WE MAY NEVER BE ABLE TO MEASURE how many families will NEVER be HOMELESS, how many children will NEVER be ABUSED, how many marriages will NEVER end in DIVORCE, or how many crimes will NEVER be COMMITTED, or how many CRISIS SITUATIONS WILL NEVER HAPPEN!!

We can’t measure all those things!  BUT IN A GREAT CHURCH, LIKE GCC, WE ARE PREVENTING ALL THOSE THINGS!!  Yes, GCC will always be about the “rescues” and we will respond…

KEY: THE POWER OF A LOCAL CHURCH IS NOT IN THE RESCUE BUT IN WHAT WE PREVENT FROM EVER NEEDING RESCUED!*

Some of you are “PERCENTAGE” givers- you TITHE.  You give 10% right off the top of your income.  You give to pay the bills, pay the staff, purchase bathroom cleaners and paper towels- all the not-so-cool, unglamorous, unemotional stuff!!  And you have no idea the great influence and impact you’ve had, the things you’ve prevented!!

If you’re not a “percentage” giver, here’s MY CHALLENGE FOR 2013 FOR ALL OF US: 

GIVE- SAVE- LIVE*

GIVE first, SAVE second, and LIVE third!  I give you this formula not because I want something from you, but because I want something for you!  Being a GIVER in 2013 is the best investment, especially in a tough economy, you’ll ever make!

At GCC I get so excited about the COMBINED POTENTIAL we have to to impact our community and have greater influence- the prevention we can make happen!

Here’s what I’m asking you to do: Don’t just be an “emotional-intervention” giver!  Instead, become a “preventative” giver in 2013- to become a giver FIRST to your local church, to GCC, and TITHE!

What’s a TITHE?  It’s math!  (And I confess I’m not that good at math…)  “Tithe” is an ancient term and it simply meant to give the first 10% of your livestock, grain, silver, gold, etc. to God.

EXAMPLE: BUT today it’s about our income.  (Ex. 10 $1.00 bills- just take one of these and say, I’m going to invest this in my local church to prevent the stuff that we end up having to intervene in from happening.  I’m going to invest in GCC, a church that’s getting it done, so we can do more to prevent the bad stuff!”

And yes, do the math… $10 give $1, $100 give $10, $1000 give $100… but think about it??  It’s investing to PREVENT all the stuff that ends up costing all of us way more down the road, both personally and corporately!  It’s giving to your local church so together we can have a huge impact and greater influence to PREVENT- maybe not be able to measure it all, but we’ve prevented it which is far more influential!!

SO FOR 2013 START GIVING A PERCENTAGE AND COMMIT TO BEING A PREVENTATIVE GIVER!  Think and pray about giving 10% or maybe start with 5 or 7% especially if you’re just beginning to explore the journey of faith.  But let’s all commit to being a preventative giver.

KEY: I don’t want this to be complicated for you so consider ONLINE GIVING, unless you like to write the check and put it in the box back there!  Go to www.weallneedgrace.com and click on the “GIVING” button in the top right corner of the main menu.

Also, I want you to know this (I may make the board nervous) but if you do have a crisis, we are going to be there to help you, to give back to you, to be there for the intervention!

I want to challenge all of us to become a percentage giver so we can have much greater influence and impact in preventing the abuses, the pain, the crisis…

AS I CLOSE YOU MAY BE WONDERING ABOUT SOME BIBLE HERE!!  How about a few verses Broadwater!  Well, I wrestled to find the one that would cover everything I wanted to talk to you about in terms of being a preventative giver, not just an intervention giver.  Here were my options:

Option A: I could have stood up here and said, “If you give one, God will give you ten in return!”  And lots of preachers do that and I could have found some verses to base it on.  But I look at it this way, God has already given you ten, he just wants to one that’s his!

Option B: I could have said, “If you give to your local church you will have treasure in heaven!”  Scripture does go there.  And that’s true, you will, but that’s not what this is about!

Option C: I could have done the thing most hardline preachers do and say, “You just need to tithe and give because God said so!  The Bible teaches it, you need to believe it, and that’s that!”  But it isn’t about that either.

Option D: I could have made it about you getting something back and said, “If you invest in God’s kingdom he will invest in yours!”  And again, there’s some Bible to back that up.

Option E: I could have done the thing we all probably hate the most and have said, “Oh church, oh people, our giving is way down and it’s so bad you’re going to have to start bringing your own diapers to child care.  We’re going to have to unscrew every other lightbulb in the building and you can only use half the toilet paper as normal…”  You know, guilting you into this!  But that’s not the case anyway.

So what is this all about?  THE CHURCH IS THE HOPE OF THE WORLD BECAUSE JESUS IS THE HOPE OF THE WORLD!  And we have this amazing privilege and commission with Christ, to be the greater influence in our world, our culture, our city, our communities, our workplaces…  To take some of what we’ve been given and invest it back into God’s purpose, in this local church, to prevent the bad stuff from ever happening!

Here’s my Bible verse!  Jn. 10:10 Jesus said, “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.”

Jesus came not to simply “intervene” but to “prevent!”  He didn’t come to merely step into our lives momentarily, to rescue you out of your sin-crisis, but more importantly, to offer PREVENTION through accepting and following Him!  This life of following Jesus is a day by day, step by step, being consistent endeavor- and yes, sometimes, even many times, it’s not all emotional and it’s hard to measure, but you just keep at it…

To be honest… I can’t and won’t promise you that if you become a percentage/preventative giver that you will personally experience great blessings and no worries, because the truth is, that’s God’s business.

But I can say that together GCC will continue to make a significant difference and even have greater influence in PREVENTING the things that end up needing intervention!

Percentage Giving to a local church that’s getting the job done is the far more influential way to give!  Because it’s all about prevention!

And I’d love to be able to have the capacity to prevent more of the bad stuff from potentially happening- in our families, our marriages, our students, our children, our communities… and offer the “environments” at GCC that facilitate this…

LET’S NOT JUST BE INTERVENTION GIVERS, LET’S BE PREVENTION GIVERS!  I am so excited about the potential we have together, about what God wants to do in and through GCC- the impact and greater influence we can have to PREVENT!

* (Asterisks) indicate adapted from a teaching by Andy Stanley

 

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