Hemphill teaches growth through giving
ST. LOUIS – As part of his state-wide teaching tour, Ken Hemphill, national strategist for Empowering Kingdom Growth, spoke to a large group of pastors and church leaders gathered May 21 at the St. Louis Metro Baptist Association. The topic was “Making Change: Transforming Your Money and Your Life,” the second part of a two-part presentation.
The first part, “EKG: Empowering Kingdom Growth, The Heartbeat of God,” is focused on the concept of thinking with a kingdom mind. The purpose is to help move small groups and individuals toward the pure resolve of being focused on just one thing—God’s kingdom.
“Making Change” aims to change how one thinks about money. It also changes the way one thinks about the Creator and one’s resources. Managing money and living without worrying about possessions are other teaching points.
“To change a church you must change the heart first,” Hemphill said. He taught that the church’s focus has turned inward to try building a particular church. “It’s not about growing a church,” he said. “It’s about growing the kingdom.”
The seminar focused on 10 undeniable kingdom truths we must all grasp to grow the kingdom of God. Hemphill taught that if Christians can understand and apply these truths, the kingdom would experience explosive growth.
1. God owns it all and therefore I don’t. When we live this life like this is all there is, we fail to teach that we are made for a coming kingdom.
2. God created everything with a kingdom purpose and a potential. Everything is designed with a purpose—including you! Don’t underestimate your worth or potential in God’s kingdom.
3. God created the world with sufficient resources to meet man’s needs, provide for the needy, provide for and expand the ministry, and reach the nations with the Gospel. “God’s blessings were never to be consumed,” Hemphill noted. “They were to be conveyed.”
4. God desires to entrust His resources to His faithful stewards.
Like a parent who has two children, one a good steward and one a poor steward, the good steward is trusted with more resources.
5. We will not be the instruments God uses to reach the nations if we don’t get serious about allowing Him to provide the resources through us.
6. We must admit we have a giving problem. Of a church’s regular attendees (attending at least once per month) 37 percent gave nothing. Less than 3 percent of church members actually tithe. If just half our church members gave a half-tithe, our churches would have no problem exceeding the budget.
7. To solve the giving problem, we must address the spending problem. The average couple spends $1.20 for every $1.00 they earn. We must help our families get out of debt.
8. We must have an educational strategy that deals with all areas of personal finance. Most people display an amazing level of ignorance when it comes to finances and biblical stewardship. They don’t understand that their giving has nothing to do with the church budget; it’s about obedience.
9. We have a tool that is both biblical and efficient for allocating God’s resources for reaching the nations—the Cooperative Program. The Cooperative Program is not a budget to fund a denomination; it is a tool to advance the kingdom of God.
10. The issue of stewardship is bigger than funding a ministry—it is the issue of repentance that God requires with a challenge and a promise. Malachi 3:10 is not a request. It is a command with both a challenge to put God to the test and a promise of blessing.
Hemphill illustrated the lack of giving with a story.
A pastor of a church was being interviewed live on the evening news about a theft that happened in the church. The news reporter asked if the pastor was surprised about the theft. The pastor said, “No, I’m not surprised.” A little shocked, the reporter asked why. The pastor replied, “Eighty percent of the people sitting in the pews steal from God every week.”
Hemphill gave a final warning. Don’t try to get your members to give more without first preparing their hearts. To do so otherwise could split the church.
If suddenly people became generous givers, the church would fight over how to spend it. First lead them in the “EKG: The Heartbeat of God” 40-day experience. When Christians have a proper understanding of who they are in the kingdom of God, they will better understand what they need to do for the kingdom of God.
For more information about getting the Hemphill seminar to come to your area, contact your director of missions.