One of the church (Iglesia Ni Cristo or Church of Christ) doctrine is about voluntary contributions. The church has many different offerings in real practice. These are
Worship Service Offerings – These are the offerings collected in the pouch during the worship services twice a week. The proceeds goes to a Central Office funds in the Philippines.
Locale Fund Offerings or Special Offerings (“Tanging Handugan“) – Locale fund offerings are placed in an envelope with the name and amount of the offeror during week-end worship services. The proceeds becomes the locale funds for the maintenance of the locale properties, some locale events and expenses of the assigned Minister.
District Fund Offerings or Special Offerings for District Office – Locale fund offerings are placed in an envelope with the name and amount of the offeror. One of this kind of offering is dedicated to the District Office. The District Office is an ecclesiastical office overseeing geographical area of multiple locales. If there are 20 locales govern by the district, all 20 locale funds goes to the District.
Special Special Locale Offerings – Locale fund offerings are placed in an envelope with the name and amount of the offeror. One of this kind of offering is sometimes allocated (again) to the Central office for use in a specific church event taking away another week from the locale funds.
Mid-year Thanks Giving – This is a one time special offering during the July 27 anniversary of the church. Every member put their offerings in an envelope with the name and amount. This is possibly the second largest one time collections of the church, the year-end is not necessarily the largest. The proceeds go to the Central Office funds.
Annual Thanks Giving – Every weekend worship services, each member deposits their yearly thanks giving so that by the end of the year, they have accumulated amounts that they want to offer during the year-end thanks giving worship service which is celebrated yearly in December. Each member has a deposit card as a proof of deposits. At the end of the year the amount is returned to the offeror as a church-made check. In addition to the check, a cash amount is added in the envelope and the offeror name and amount is written in the envelope before offering it. Because the money are deposit weekly, the annual thanksgiving may not be the largest collections (in cash) in a single worship service but it is the largest amount of all church offerings in totality.
Other non-doctrinal offerings are also voluntary but in most cases the officers of the church are the one contributing:
Contributions for Church maintenance – Although Locale Fund Offerings are intended for the locale chapel maintenance. The locale administration cannot use the money without approval from the Executive Minister. It takes a lot of effort to get approval so the resident Minister sometimes asked locale leadership and some officers to just split the expenses such as expenses for paints, bathroom supplies, fixtures, etc. Each department are responsible for theor own expenses such as papers, folders, pens, etc.
Other Church practices on offerings
- During “Special Locale Offerings”, every household members including infants in the family are reminded to participate in the locale offerings meaning each one should have an envelope with the name and the amount.
- Offerings are announced in worship services,
- Abundant offerings are included in the worship service prayers as a way of reminders,
- Offerings are reminded in the “committee prayer meetings”.
The INC Doctrines on Church Offerings
1. It is God’s command to offer and we should not forget…Heb. 13:15-16, RSV
2. Each one must give as his heart so desire … II Cor 9:7, NKJV
3. Offering is an obligation… Gal. 6:5, NKJV
4. The proof that it is our obligation to offer … Gal 6:6, RSV
5. By offerings we can share in teaching the gospel … II Cor 9:12, RSV
6. How do we prepare our offerings? … 1 Cor 16:2, TEV
7. Why we should prepare earlier? … II Cor 9:5, NKJV
8. The offerings are for propagation of the Gospel … II Cor 9:12-13
9. The offerings are for constructions of house of worship … Hag 1:8, NKJV
10. We return what is belong to God so we should not be offended …Chro. 29:11-12
11. God expect us to be willing to give … I Chro 29:9
12. Even in poverty or times of difficulties we should give … II Cor 8:1-3
13. We still need yearly thanks-giving at the end of the year… Ps. 50:14
14. Thanksgiving is part of being Christians … I Thes. 5:18
15. What is assured when we offer thanks giving? … Ps. 50:23, NKJV
16. How do we give our thanks ? … I Chro. 16:8-9, NKJV
17. Why do we still bring offerings on thanksgiving? … I Chro. 16:29, NKJV
18. We should prepare our offerings for entire year… II Cor 9:2, NKJV
19. We prepare weekly for entire year so there will be no compulsion… II Cor 9:5
20. What is God’s promise to those who give offerings? abundant blessings …. II Cor 9:7-8
21. What is the great blessings? true life … I Tim 6:18-19
The Cornelius Theory of Equivocation
Please continue reading part 2…