Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church

Memorial
Catawba Presbytery

WHEREAS in the meeting of our General Synod in 1997, a "Concise Statement on Biblical Stewardship" was approved, which statement emphasizes the tithe and benevolent offerings as means appointed by God for the financial provision for the ministry of His church; and
WHEREAS the General Synod in 1965 approved the following Statement of Policy: "The Board of Stewardship shall continue to express its opposition to fund-raising schemes such as bazaars, bake sales, etc., recognizing that in most (if not all) such cases, such efforts represent an effort to escape our responsibility to adhere to the principle of stewardship presented in the Bible." (Minutes, page 325); and
WHEREAS recent research by the Barna Research Group indicates that evangelical Christians in the year 2000 contributed only 2.5 percent of their income to charitable organizations; and
WHEREAS review of the financial statistics of the churches of our Synod would seem to indicate that Associate Reformed Presbyterians by and large are not faithfully tithing to their local congregations; and
WHEREAS many of our congregations are struggling under financial pressure, in some cases due to the rising cost of health insurance for church employees, and seem hard pressed to meet financial obligations, all the while members may not be faithfully tithing; and
WHEREAS in some congregations there has been historically and also recently the practice of raising funds for the support of the church and its work through the engagement of the church or its organizations in the selling of products or merchandise in the name of the church within the community to which the congregation ministers; and
WHEREAS this matter has been divisive in some congregations, with some believing such practice undermines proper understanding of stewardship and commitment to support the work of the church through tithing and making sacrificial offerings, and further that it may have a negative affect on the mission and witness of the congregation within its community, while others believe such practice is an extension of biblical stewardship and a means of making proper use of God-given skills and talents;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that Catawba Presbytery memorializes the General Synod of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in its meeting in June 2003 to instruct its Board of Stewardship, through whatever means of advisement or counsel it may require, to make study of the biblical and pragmatic issues involved in the matter of financial support and fundraising in the local church, and to present to the General Synod for its approval at its meeting in June 2004 a position paper setting forth biblical principles guiding the practice of the local church in regards to proper means for securing the finances necessary for the work of the church.

Adopted: June 9, 2003
By: Catawba Presbytery
Guy H. Smith, Jr., Stated Clerk