Wolthuis

Byte-Sized Giving

Article Type: Life Stories

It was the perfect present at the perfect moment.

“People at my church wanted to get on this new thing called the internet,” recalls Michael Wolthuis, who was only 13-years-old at the time. His parents had given him a computer the year before, positioning him to launch an entrepreneurial career.

“They didn’t see me for a year,” Michael says with a laugh.

Armed with dial-up internet, Michael used his talents to serve his church community. Whether it was through hosting his church’s webpage, installing internet in member’s homes or talking about the Bible in chatrooms, Michael’s connection to the Lord grew.

“At 15, when I started making some income from the business, I kept a spiral bound notebook of all the receipts,” Michal remembers. “I took out 10 percent and put it in the offering plate.”

It was a discipline his parents had modeled from the time he was very young.

“My parents were always committed to giving from their incomes from doing ‘the work of the Lord,’” he remembers. “My father told me, ‘We do this because of the blessing that we’ve received.’ I took that to heart.”

Throughout Michael’s life, technology remained a driving force for future decisions, one of which was to attend college for technology and business management. It was there that giving generously became about doing what God, not his parents, had commanded him to do.

Today, as chief technology officer for Virtual Systems, Michael gives to the Kingdom through what he knows and loves best: technology.

Through discussions with a coworker, he learned about Barnabas Foundation’s Stewards Fund, an online giving channel that allows him to send annual, recurring or one-time e-grants to Christian organizations. Michael arranged a unique giving option through his employer, making direct deposits from every paycheck into his Stewards Fund account.

“It’s my first fruits,” says Michael. “The Lord is welcome to my money before I do anything else. It’s just an amazing tool for me.”

Michael uses the Stewards Fund to give to a variety of charitable organizations. In particular, he loves giving to support technological advances.

“I always try to focus on giving back to technology because I’ve been so blessed by it,” explains Michael. “But most of all, my desire is to give in a manner pleasing to the Lord.”