In today’s world, there is certainly no shortage of different opportunities clamoring for Christians’ giving. Never before has there been such a variety of worthwhile charities, non-profits, and ministries appealing to believers for financial contributions and support. With so many potential outlets for financial benevolence, why should anyone make giving to the local church a high priority?
From a biblical perspective, it is clear that giving to the local church should be a priority because it is the primary context in which your spiritual life is nourished—namely, through the teaching of God’s Word:
Those who are taught the word of God should provide for their teachers, sharing all good things with them. –Galatians 6:6
Elders who do their work well should be respected and paid well, especially those who work hard at both preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “You must not muzzle an ox to keep it from eating as it treads out the grain.” And in another place, “Those who work deserve their pay!” –1 Timothy 5:17-18
Spiritual growth and formation happen within the community of the church (Ephesians 4:15–16). It is the primary context that Jesus Christ has established for people to know and be known by one another, to care for one another’s needs and for the needs of those outside the church, and to represent Christ on the earth (Ephesians 5:29–33). Giving to the local church contributes directly to the only vehicle Jesus expressly ordained to carry out his mission in the world.
From a practical standpoint, no other ministry or parachurch organization offers greater impact potential than the local church—the local church stands alone as the most effective ministry investment available on earth.
To be sure, there are many admirable and worthy causes outside the local church.
Various charities and organizations are able to effectively focus on one of any number of worthwhile causes: spreading the gospel, supporting widows and orphans, feeding the hungry. While they can offer the chance to further their cause, there is not always an opportunity to go beyond a financial investment. They provide opportunity for your support financially, but not always a way to invest personally through service and personal involvement.
Comparatively, the local church casts a far wider ministry net than any single organization or non-profit. Rather than focusing on one or two isolated aspects of Christ’s mission, the cause of the local church encompasses a myriad of ministry opportunities in every category, all of which fall under the greater banner of Christ’s mission. Like a mutual fund, the local church serves as an outlet to a diversity of causes. Money given to Grace Church has far greater reach and return than it would if given to just one isolated piece of the mission. Giving to OneFund sustains various ministry opportunities both local and abroad, like empowering orphans and vulnerable children in Kenya, supporting short-term missions trips in Allendale, and equipping the next generation of church leaders.
Giving to the local church is not just one good option among many—it is far and away the most effective avenue for the cause of Christ in the world.