Commitment Stories: Ty Bowden
The financial lessons God had for Ty Bowden began before the launch of the We Are God’s Building campaign. They began back in April when he got a salaried job at The Net.
For the first time in his life he knew how much income there would be every month. The salary allowed him to give 10% from his paycheck. He decided to base that number on his pre-taxed salary, set it up to happen automatically, and thought he was good to go.
Then he discovered a building fund had been set up on The Paradox Church’s give page. (It has since been changed for our One-Fund campaign.) Ty knew how much having a building had changed things for The Net, so he thought it’d be awesome to give some money to that fund for The Paradox. He changed his monthly giving so that 5% went to the building fund and 5% to the general fund.
When conversations about finances began to percolate at The Paradox, Ty thought, “Maybe I should pray about what to actually give instead of just giving 10%. And so I did. That was the first time I’d ever done that.”
That intentional prayer and thoughtfulness about giving led Ty to give 12% instead of the standard 10% he’d given without any prayer or thought. “That was cool because it was the first time I’d thoughtfully given instead of just giving what I was supposed to.”
Even though God had changed Ty’s heart about how much to give and why, there was still a belief in the back of Ty’s mind that whatever he gave off the top was great, but the rest was his to do with whatever he wanted. That was the condition of his heart going into the vision campaign.
As a leader, he was asked to read The Treasure Principle and journal answers to the 31 Questions. Those questions, along with a conversation with Pastor AJ challenged Ty to recognize, “It’s all God’s, not just the 12% I give at the beginning.” At the same time, he wrestled with thoughts like, “I don’t really have anything. I’m 23 and just started working. I have no savings to speak of. I’ll just put my salary on the table.”
God used questions like “Am I acting as if not everything belongs to You, but only the leftovers, that part I haven’t already committed to something else?” and “Lord, am I honoring You as owner and CEO/CFO of the assets You’ve entrusted to my care? Or am I treating You as a mere financial consultant, to whom I pay a fee?” to continue to change his heart.
When he realized he needed to put everything on the table, it included his vehicle. Initially, Ty was trying to sell his truck and use whatever he got for it to buy something newer and nicer. It had been listed for two months, was older and had racked up some high mileage. The goal was to buy something with fewer miles and better fuel efficiency.
He began to sense God telling him, “You are going to sell your truck, but it’s not going to be for you. You aren’t going to get to keep all that money.”
In the span of a month, God changed Ty’s heart from thinking everything that wasn’t given was his, to praying about what he does with money, to putting everything on the table, including his truck. “God allowed me to joyfully ask what He wants me to do with my resources, what He wants me to spend.”
Giving was no longer a Christian duty; it was a worship experience, a lifestyle of believing God is trustworthy in all things.
Ty sold his truck the week before the leaders made their commitments to We Are God’s Building. He had prayed that would happen so he could include those funds in the initial offering. Then he asked God, “How much do you want and how much do I keep to spend on a new car?” God showed him how much to commit to the vision campaign and how much to set aside for a new car.
Ty found a car that was a great deal because it had been in an accident. But because the car was located 15 minutes from his girlfriend’s parent’s auto shop in Houston, he had them look it over before deciding whether or not to buy it. Their input: “It’s in great shape despite the accident and worth getting for the savings.” It was right in his price range. God provided a new vehicle and the ability to give.
Throughout the process and the lessons, Ty realized how important it was for him to cling to the belief that God wants to give us good things. He had a tendency to fear: “What if I put it on the table and He wants all of it? Then what will I do?” As God changed Ty’s heart, He also revealed something about His character.
“I think a lot of my reluctance to be open with my money was a lack of trust that God’s plan is ultimately for my good, a deep understanding of God’s goodness even if what happens with my finances is not what I planned. Until this experience, giving was never something that allowed me to see more clearly who God is.”