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Been to church? Now what?TM

That's a question that every Christian should ask him- or herself. Once we meet Jesus, and once we join together with other believers in our churches, what's next?
What does Paul mean when he writes in Ephesians 3:10 (NIV):

"His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms..."

The answers have to do with the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) in the context of the Great Commandment (Mark 12:29-31). Christians are working through the Wake the Sleeping Giant campaign to challenge churches across the U.S. to increase their outreach in Jesus' name. Following are some frequently asked questions that may come to mind as you consider whether to join us by making a financial contribution.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What exactly is “the sleeping giant”?

When we use the phrase, we are thinking of the church in the U.S. If church members tithed in 2005, there would have been an additional $168 billion available to help a hurting world in Jesus’ name. Instead, on average, church members gave about 2.6%. We don’t know our own strength and power for good! It’s time to wake up the sleeping giant!

Why should I give money to Wake the Sleeping Giant instead of my church?

Please understand, we are not asking you to give to Wake the Sleeping Giant instead of your church. Wake the Sleeping Giant is asking for a gift over and above your regular giving. The goal of an annual gift of $48 through the Discipleship Tree is very manageable for many Christians who want to do more to help poor people around the world.

Don’t most churches already have their own missions work?

Nothing close to what they could or should be doing. In most churches, less than 2¢ of every dollar goes for denominational overseas missions. Over 700 Protestant agencies combined had less to spend in a recent year than the $5.9 billion potato chip budget of the U.S. A congregation in Texas works to match every dollar they spend on themselves with a dollar to help other people. And a congregation in South Korea commits at least 60¢ of every dollar to help other people. So most of us can do much more.

Are you saying we should cut back on our current church activities and help other people more?

No. Current church activities are the foundation on which to build. We should keep those activities going. With our increased giving, though, we should not spend more on ourselves. We should start helping other people in desperate need.

Why should I let empty tomb pick which projects to fund?

empty tomb doesn’t “pick” certain projects to fund. Its Mission Match program has general guidelines for missions projects it will fund. Then the money is available on a first-come, first-served basis. So really, the congregations themselves “pick” the projects. As a contributor you are providing “seed money,” i.e., an alarm clock, that prompts church people around the country to begin thinking about doing more outreach to people who are hurting.

How does empty tomb, inc. combine its local works and the national focus of Wake the Sleeping Giant/Discipleship Tree and Mission Match?

Jesus told the church to reach out to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the whole world (Acts 1:8).

For us, Champaign County would be like Jerusalem and Judea. A lot of good activity is already going on in Champaign County. Church people deliver food, fix homes, share clothes and furniture free in Jesus’ name, help people with bills and prescriptions. All these activities are done through empty tomb’s local works. Other groups in the community do many other fine outreach activities as well. And these are very, very important.

The goal of Wake the Sleeping Giant is to encourage more people across the U.S. to also reach out to help others in Jesus’ name. By ourselves, we in Champaign County can’t take on poverty in the whole U.S. and around the globe (where the need is much greater). But as part of a “team,” i.e., the body of Christ, we can work with churches throughout the U.S. to love a hurting world in Jesus’ name. Through Wake the Sleeping Giant, we’re like a coach calling the team to a championship effort nationally!

Can you explain Mission Match in just a few words?

Wake the Sleeping Giant and its Discipleship Tree are empty tomb’s campaign to generate funds for mission projects. Mission Match is empty tomb’s program for dispensing those funds. If a congregation wants to expand their outreach to help people in Jesus’ name, Mission Match will match their dollars. Here is how it works: A congregation applies for a specific amount. If the funds are available, they are informed that they have a period of time to raise the money to match it. When the congregation tells empty tomb they have matched the money, a check for the agreed-upon amount is sent to the congregation for their designated missions project.

For more information about Mission Match, click here.

How do you know the churches that apply for money spend it on what they tell
you?

When a church applies, we ask them to give us a list of just what the money will be spent on. Then, when they’ve raised the money and we send the matching funds, we ask them to tell us in 15 days that the money has been spent as they described, or return the money to us. The churches have been very cooperative in providing information on how the money was spent, and by sending information about what happened as a result. As partners with these congregations, we think it’s very important to receive this feedback!

 

But wouldn’t you think that Christians would be doing this on their own?

Sure. We’re richer than ever before, have more freedom, and more information about need. Yet many congregations are cutting back on their missions budgets. Whatever the reason may be, that’s wrong behavior for people who worship a God who loved the world so much that He gave his only begotten Son.

We can try to lay blame because people aren’t doing enough. Or we can work to change it. We prefer to work to change it.

RESOURCES

If you want more information about Mission Match, or some of the church giving information that’s behind it, you might find the following links useful.

Mission Match homepage

empty tomb’s Church Giving Data

Theological Implications: An exploration of word and deed, including thoughts from Martin Luther and John Calvin.

Back to Top

 

At one point, the United Bible Societies could fill only two-thirds of the worldwide requests it received for Bibles.

 

 

When an Ohio pastor told the congregation that Mission Match money would only be available for Bibles for Cambodia if 75% of the congregation donated, there were 30 families who gave that had not helped with missions before.

 

 

 

 

In the U.S., the high school drop-out rate for low-income students is almost twice as high as for middle-income students.

 

 

When an Ohio church in a low-income area wanted to start a self-esteem program for kids in the neighborhood, they applied to Mission Match. The pastor wrote that people were bringing in jars of coins to help raise the new money to be matched.

 

 


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ph: (217) 356-9519
e-mail: wakegiant@emptytomb.org

empty tomb, inc.