A Saga of Church Offering of CBCSD – Chiamu Chang

A Saga of Church Offering of CBCSD – Chiamu Chang – Church Council Member

Chiamu Chang – Church Council Member

While conversing with Gene, a brother of West Campus who just came back from visiting a few Christian families in China, I learned somewhat surprisingly that quite a number of family churches in China do not practice tithing and offerings, simply because there are no ministries of cost-bearing. These churches do not grow much other than aging in the past ten plus years. Gene also visited a campus ministry of about 200 plus mainly students, which however sent short-term mission teams to plant churches and spread Gospels in peoples of minority groups near Tibet. They set goals to bring Good News to places like Tibet and wherever the Gospels have not been heard. That church evidently has well maintained tithing and offerings.

Are there any differences between an offering church and a church without offering in regards of supporting church local missions, caring and shepherding, new church building, sending missionary workers or other ministries? Practicing offering is not just to reflect our grateful hearts towards God’s bestowed gifts upon us, and more importantly to learn to be his disciples (Romans 12: 1). Offering is obviously not limited to wealth alone, should also include time and personal sacrifices. Naturally, taking no offerings seems to indicate that the church has all she needs. In a broader sense of God’s kingdom, is it healthy for a church?

Upon receiving God’s wealth and gifts, we also are given the accompanying responsibility and accountabilities as evidenced in the scripture “… From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” (Luke 12: 48). This principle carries a wish from God upon His people: He gives us wealth and gifts, but also stewardship to manage. The responsibilities of a good steward is thus to faithfully invest and enrich His gifts to be accountable when He returns. This principle applies to a person just as well to a church. During the expansion of His kingdom, God not only works Himself, but also invites each of everyone to join Him to be His co-workers and to this end He gives all wealth, gifts, and talents.

When CBCSD moved into her first newly purchased facility (current main campus) in 1997, the size of her congregation is about 240 people with its annual operating budget of little over $300,000. In the year of 2000 the church’s Chinese congregation has grown to about 325 people with annual budget of half of one million dollars. We started church planting. Why church planting? Where do we gather enough people and money for planting church, and we are certainly not the biggest Chinese church in San Diego? In the meantime we witnessed so many students and visiting professors from China coming to UCSD and inviting them to church some twenty miles away has not been an easy task. The West Campus, then newly planted church near UTC area was established for building a stronger congregation for His kingdom. God also moved His people from all over places to San Diego in joining the West Campus to expand His kingdom. By 2003, our main campus congregations reached an account of 450 people with an annual budget near 1 million in addition to its west campus of 160 people. The Central Campus was started as our second planted church of CBC SD in the Carmel Valley Area. Temecula Valley Campus started in 2007, and the North County Campus started in the area of San Marcos in 2009. We cannot have planted these churches if we only cast our trust in personal and financial abilities. But we certainly can if we focus on our God and His will. By faith then let go.

For so many years, God has continued to bless our church with gifts and wealth, this year’s annual operating budget has reached to $2,700,000. We have raised over two millions building fund which is in addition to the regular offerings. Without sufficient offerings of our brothers and sisters, His ministry in all areas like church planting, missions, evangelical outreaching, etc. will surely be impacted. May God continue to move our hearts towards tithing and offering, and expand His kingdom and works. This is the very goal of what God has commanded us to wisely use our gifts and offering. Offering with gracious heart is to do what God has called and revealed to us according to His will for building ourselves in faith while completing His works.