Offering time is blessing time! Is one of the strap line used during the collection of offering in some of the African Churches. As someone whose Christian roots is in African Pentecostalism, my understanding of this statement is that giving our offering is a time of worship to God. In essence, we worship God with our money because it is out of his abundance that we have been blessed. This is one of the reasons why the time of offering in an African Church is important and it is well celebrated with expressive music, clapping of hands, dancing and joyous singing. In some African Churches the offering basket is put in front with everyone row by row dancing around it dropping their offering. To a foreigner or casual observer this might appear insane or ridiculous, but to the participants this is done before our great God therefore there is no shame.
Another reason why offering time is celebrated is the belief that when we bless God’s work with our money, he blesses us in return. The understanding of how God blesses people when they give money has been a source of confusion for many. The extreme version of this will say if you give 10% of your income (tithe), God will bless you with hundredfold in return. The problem with this is that people give for example £100 with the expectation that God will somehow provide them with £10, 000. While it is right that God blesses us when we give money, time, materials, our gift and in kind, it is problematic to conclude the specifics of what God gives us based on what we offered. This is because we will be turning God into some sort of magician who can multiply our money for us. Our giving is not a magic formular to conjure God to bless us, it is rather a part of our worship to God. But God in his goodness blesses us whether we give or not. That God blesses his people is attested to in the Old Testament which is full of examples such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Job. The New Testament on the other hand did not have such clear examples, but there were well of people that either followed Jesus or supported his ministry. Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea used their influence and substance to ensure that Jesus had a decent burial place (John 19:38-42). Similarly, among the women that followed Jesus were some women of substance who supported his ministry materially (Luke 8:1-3). The New Testament Church also had some rich people that supported the work of the Church. Barnabas is a clear example of this, see Acts 4:32-37.
Another reason why offering time is a blessing time is that this is one of the ways Church work can be supported financially. African pastors are not ashamed to talk about money and its importance for supporting the work of ministry. To British Christianity money is not something we talk about in public but in private and giving is not often encouraged. This difference accounts for one of the reasons African Churches have the financial power to build mega Churches, and support its ministry while some British Historic Churches are struggling to sustain structures and personnel. While the talk about money and giving in an African Church could sometimes be over the top, the reality is that they are able to sustain their Churches and its mission, while some British Churches are shutting down because of lack of finances.
Here is a link to an offering time of one of the African Churches in the USA observe the man doing break-dance during the offering! Bro Franklin (Offering Time)