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Pastor Claudia, Interim Pastor

Faith Story

Capital Campaign 2018

 This is not easy for me to share. 1) it is very personal and 2) I don’t want to come across as boasting or bragging.  Instead I want you to hear how God has worked in Jim’s and my life and perhaps be motivated to take the next step in yours.

 Jim and I were both teachers. In some respects, we still are. Jim spent 37.5 years in public school education, I spent 37 years in private and university teaching. We went into teaching because we loved music and wanted to make a difference. And we loved what we did. You might say that teaching is in our DNA. 

 It wasn’t too far into our careers when we became aware of the difference one teacher can make in the life of a student. After all we both had teaching mentors who influenced us. I cannot describe the satisfaction of the “aha” moment when a student gets it.  I can’t explain how humbling it is when a former student  come up and shared the impact you had on their life.

 The Bible says “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded.” (Luke 12:48 NIV) Jim and I have been blessed with much.  Wonderful teaching careers, for the most part excellent health, two neat sons, two awesome daughters-in-law, wonderful grandchildren and we’re financially comfortable in our retirement. We are blessed.  And the Bible says “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded.”

I remember many years ago, a conversation I had with Pastor Wally shortly after meeting him.  I was commenting on my awareness of the difference a teacher could make in the classroom – sometimes life changing differences – and the humbling responsibility that comes with that knowledge.  I said to him: “But, in ministry, the work you do effects eternity. I can make a difference for a lifetime. But, you. You can make an eternal difference.” Perhaps that was when the seed was planted.  Perhaps that was when it started to grow and resulted in my sharing this today. I knew at that moment, I wanted to effect eternity.

 When Jim & I first started attending FBC in 2002, we came from a prodigal season of wandering from church to church and finally attending no church. When we did find First Baptist, there was no room in our budget to give financially to the church.  We were heavily in debt even though we had two comfortable salaries.  Giving just $10-20 a month was a struggle. 

 We were both raised as Baptists.  We knew what a tithe was – 10%, 10% of our income. But giving 10% seemed impossible. So, we started off giving what we could. It took us many years but eventually we reached the tithe.  Every time a debt was paid, that extra money went into our giving. Any raises went into our giving.  I tell you, God honors the tithe. Not necessarily in greater earnings.  Not necessarily by always having enough money to make it to the end of the month. But sometimes in nontangible blessings.

 Now, I need to pause and explain what I believe about tithes and offerings.  You may or may not agree with me and that is fine.  This is what God expects of me.  Our tithe is the first check written every month, not the last, the first – and it goes to the general fund here at FBC.  I believe our tithe is what we owe God, no strings attached, so we do not indicate how this money is to be used. We trust the church to be wise stewards.  Our giving to the building fund is what I consider to be an offering.  This is a gift above and beyond our tithe, one that we can designate how we’d like it to be used.  Our giving to the building fund happens to be another 10% of our income.  In other words, we give a tithe to the general fund and we give a second tithe to the building fund.  Remember the Bible passage: “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded.”

 Why do we give another 10% to the building fund?  We believe it to be an investment. It is an investment in the future of this church. And we want to make a difference that effects eternity.  I cannot imagine a better way to do that, than by helping this church reach people for Christ.  How blessed we are to have a church that enables the disabled to attend – they can just walk or roll right in.  How blessed we are to have ample classrooms where children and adults can learn and grow in their relationship with Christ. How blessed we are to have a fellowship space large enough for all of us to celebrate together.  (Do you remember in the old building how some, not only the disabled, had to eat upstairs because there wasn’t enough room in the basement.) How blessed we are to have worship space that enables us to grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ. How blessed we are to be able to invest in the future, not just the future of FBC, but in the eternal future.

 For these reasons, Jim and I will continue to exceed the tithe in our giving to the general fund plus make a substantial increase to our giving to the building fund by increasing that gift by 33%. A few weeks ago, during the message I said that if you give and feel nothing, you are probably giving at a comfortable level. If you give and it hurts, you might be caught up in the “mine, mine, mine” syndrome. But if giving is to be a blessing, then perhaps you need to give until it feels good. This is what God has laid on our hearts and it feels good.

 “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded.”

 To God be the glory.  Amen.

 Claudia McCain

Interim Pastor






1515 S. Candy Lane, Macomb, Illinois 61455  °  Phone: 309-833-2479  °
First Baptist Church  °   Macomb, IL