Tom Phillips Generous Testimony

“His blessings were always greater than our sacrifice.”

Tom Phillips recently shared how God moved his family and Diversified Conveyors to give sacrificially and cheerfully. Tom was kind enough to allow HOPE to spotlight his testimony of generosity at the 2010 Hope Celebrate Generosity in Memphis lunch on November 2, 2010 at the University Holiday Inn.

In 2000, Tom Phillips started Diversified Conveyors (DCI), after being employed for 17 years by another company.  From the start, Tom envisioned DCI as a vehicle to give back to the community.  Over the past ten years, the Lord has richly blessed DCI far beyond their expectations.  DCI is one of the leading U.S. designers and manufacturers of conveyors for clients such as UPS and FedEx.  More importantly, it is giving back both in Memphis and around the world.

Is Tithing the Enemy of Generosity?

The idea of tithing (10%) as the standard for acceptable giving has so permeated the church that no one (including Pastors and Elders) even question it validity or application.  Many pastors and preachers, emphasize tithing in hopes that their congregations will increase their giving above the national average of 3% by evangelicals.  They believe that if they could just get everyone in their congregation to start tithing the church would have more money than it needed to do all that it wanted to do.  Consequently, they fervently teach tithing as the floor that every Christian ought to start their giving at – the minimum entry point.  Pastors are not really aware that while their efforts to promote tithing will increase giving for a few, it actually ends up doing more harm than good to everyone in their congregation.

Take any congregation that is being consistently and regularly indoctrinated with tithing as the giving standard.  Those who for whatever reason (good or bad) are not able or willing to tithe are made to feel guilty that they are giving less than they “owe” God.  So their giving is accompanied with feelings of guilt because they are told they are “robbing God.”

Then you have those who are tithing to the penny.  They are content to give exactly what they have been taught God has prescribed for them to give.  Their giving will only increase as their income increases.  Then there are those rare few who have broken over the tithe standard taught by the church  and are now giving over 10%.  They often look upon themselves with some sense of pride because they are actually exceeding the required, minimum standard of giving.
As soon as you employ some mathematical formula to determine how much someone ought to be giving – what God expects – you actually create a spiritual, psychological and emotional barrier to encouraging generous giving.  We are all fallen, sinful creatures and consequently we want to know what the “rules” are because we want to “please” God. So, if we are given a formula for giving, we will use it as the predetermined acceptable standard and no longer feel any need to seek out God’s will for our personal giving.

Our giving is to be arrived at by careful, personal self-examination and seeking the Lord’s direction in how much we should give as we evaluate this crucial area of financial stewardship.  Paul instructs in II Corinthians 9:7, “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give…” In other words, the amount of our giving proceeds from our heart, not from our calculator.  Our giving is to grow out of a personal relationship with Christ and not merely a prescriptive formula arrived at mathematically.

Many pastors I have talked with about generosity vs. tithing express a concern. They fear that if they tell their people they are not required to tithe, the church’s weekly offerings will collapse.  I disagree.  If believers were properly taught and really came to understand and live our the idea of generous giving by faith instead of legalistic giving by math, I believe that congregation’s giving would actually explode.  Once people really understand they need to go to their knees to decide how much to give instead of to their calculators, we will likely see another outbreak of generosity that might compare to the what the Israelites experienced in the construction of the tabernacle.  Their giving was so “over the top” Moses had to command them to stop giving. (Exodus 35:20-36:7).  Generosity is neither clean nor simple and requires genuine soul searching, faith testing and wrestling with God.  In our struggle to find an amount we might find ourselves feeling compelled to ask, “How much can I present to the Lord in order for my giving to be both generous and sacrificial?”

Jay Link is both an ordained minister and the President/CEO of Kardia, Inc.  Find out more at

The Year of the Steward

The New Year is always an exciting time for me.  It is a time for new beginnings, to start from a clean slate and a time for new diets and New Year resolutions!  I want to encourage you to set aside some time to be alone for several hours and ask God what He wants you to do in 2010.  Where does He want you to go?  Whom does He want you to serve?  What attitude does He want you to change?

Continue reading →

Kingdom Advisors Growing In Memphis

In the fast changing regulatory and economic climate, wouldn’t it be nice to find a financial advisor whose advice is tested, relevant and sound?

Recently, a group of Memphis financial professionals – financial planners, trust officers, estate attorneys – began meeting on a monthly basis to receive just that type of advice.  It is part of Kingdom Advisors Community and Small Group model.  Kingdom Advisors was formed to engage, equip and empower Christian financial professionals to embrace and implement the life-changing principles of Biblical stewardship.

Continue reading →

Giving Declines as Income Increases

Two unexpected conclusions resulted from a recent study by the Tijeras Foundation of the 60 largest metropolitan areas on charitable giving.  Giving as a percent of income dramatically declines as income increases.  Persons earning less than $100,000 were more generous in 2006 than in 1993 while those earning more than $100,000 were less generous.

Continue reading →

Smarter Ways to Give: Giving Alternatives in Uncertain Times

The unprecedented financial turmoil of the last six months has resulted in reduced giving in a time when demand for charitable services is increasing. Hope wants to make sure you (like Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree) consider giving alternatives in such times:

Non-cash gift options. Consider this: non-cash assets represent 90% of America’s wealth. While giving appreciated stock is the most common giving alternative, the stock market has erased approximately ten years of capital appreciation over the past six months. Consider giving stock purchased twenty or thirty years ago. This can eliminate significant capital gains taxes and a charitable deduction at current market value.

Continue reading →