Why I Give!
On the North and South walls of our Sanctuary is the hashtag: #WhyGiveCOTV, which begs an answer: “Why give?” My experience with church and money was not a positive one. When Evelyn and I were looking for a church, we first tried a church in Brooklyn, where we had to pay for the exploring faith class. That was the first red flag for me. We still went ahead and paid for the month-long class. We completed it to receive our Right Hand of Fellowship (becoming new members) of the church the following Sunday. That Sunday came, and the students that were in class with us received their Right Hand of Fellowship certificates but they forgot us (second red flag). How convenient – they forgot us but not our money! This furthered my dissatisfaction with church and money.
When Evelyn and I found The Church of the Village, we received marriage-counseling, preparation and our marriage ceremony free… all compared to the tens of thousands of dollars we would have to pay in the other church (third red flag there). What truly won me more over was John Flake. He was the piano player for our wedding. Evelyn and I offered an envelope of money to him and he refused it. It took some doing to make him take it. He in turn gave it to the church next Sunday as an offering. This blew my mind! Had I really found a church that really “walks their talk?
So to answer the question: Why give?, because it is about the people, not about the money. In an area where there are as many churches as corner stores; the economy in that area is in shambles and these areas are largely people of color. Black churches are a multi-trillion dollar a year machine with nothing to show for it in the black community. This church feeds our neighbors and we recently had a financial seminar. Church of the Village once had a human resource component that helped with MetroCards, getting employment and housing needs. After my wedding, I lost my job during the recession and this church helped me by giving me a job. Now I stand before you with two jobs and a possible third on the way. This is why I give to this church. I give for people in need. I give to experience the array of music, worship styles and gifts present in this church. I give because I have never seen a church like this before and hope that this church can be beacon for other churches and the world.