The Take Back Offering

At Life.Church, one of our values is irrational generosity. But what does it mean to be irrationally generous?

If we’re giving something away that goes above and beyond what’s expected, that’s probably a good start. One of the things first-time attenders might be surprised by is something we call the “Take Back Offering.”

At the end of our services when we collect tithes and offerings, the campus pastor explains the Take Back Offering with specific and intentional language:

As the bucket passes, any adult who is in immediate need of food, clothing, or shelter can take back any loose cash from the bucket and let God meet your needs that way.

This accomplishes two things:

  1. It blesses a person in need.
  2. It sends a powerful message to everyone who hears it.

Because we truly believe it is more blessed to give than to receive, we encourage our people to be irrationally generous, too. The best way to inspire cheerful giving is to practice what we preach, and the Take Back Offering is one of the most effective ways we model irrational generosity.

While we want to be irrationally generous, we also want to be good stewards of our resources. Although it has been extremely rare, there is an opportunity to abuse the system. Our ushers simply keep an eye on anything inappropriate like someone popping into multiple services just during the offering. In cases like this we always address the situation with grace and benevolence. It’s even a great opportunity for pastoral care and to ask how we can better help to meet needs.

In the end, being irrationally generous can also be a bit scary. Committing to something like the Take Back Offering is a huge step of faith for any church, but at Life.Church we say that we hold God’s resources with open hands—it’s all His anyway.

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