Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Do you ever get sick of greedy, money grubbing churches always asking for your money? For some reason many people have the impression that churches are always asking people for money. Churches have reputation for being money hungry; for trying to squeeze every red cent out of the people who attend. Shoot – I would get tired of that kind of behavior!

In all honesty, though, churches probably ask for money a lot less than you think. I’m not talking about the weekly routine of collecting money. Different churches call it different things:

–         Taking the collection
–         Passing the plate
–         Time for tithes and offerings
–         What else have you heard?

Though this has become a standard feature in many evangelical churches it’s not quite the same thing as “asking for money.” It’s not like the Christian radio station that has a bi-annual fundraiser telethon. In the Christian worship service, giving becomes an extension of worship – something we do in recognition that what we have is a gift from God and through our giving we say, “I value God and his kingdom and want to express it through my finances.”

So giving becomes an act of worship (assigning worth to something) and a practical way of making sure the needs of the ministry are met.

I had a friend tell me the other day:

The church doesn’t need money. Jesus didn’t need money.

But the truth is that the church does need money. Ministry requires money. And yes, Jesus did need money. Jesus had a group of financial backers that helped make his ministry possible:

And the twelve were with him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means. (Luke 8:1-3)

Jesus and his staff were provided for out of the means (income) of these women.

Once the Apostle Paul was trying to raise money to do ministry to Christians in Jerusalem. He was collecting it from the Corinthian church:

On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come. And when I arrive, I will send those whom you accredit by letter to carry your gift to Jerusalem. (1 Corinthians 16:2-3)

There are many different financial needs for a church to do ministry. Some are related to physical location: rent/lease/mortgage, utilities, salaries, etc. Some are material needs for people: rent assistance, utilities assistance, food/clothing aid. Some are for spiritual ministries: materials for communion, children’s church, Bible studies, etc.

Ministry requires finances. And how will people in the church ever know about the need unless the church tells them? It’s plain logic, really. It’s not about being money-hungry, it’s about letting people in the church know that, in order to do what God has called the Church to do, it’s going to take some backing.

If you don’t want to give, no one is twisting your arm.

Paul says:

The point is this…each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:6-9)

To honor God and to participate in what he wants to do through my church my wife and I give. But that’s between us and God. Your giving is between you and God.

Whatever you decide to do, do it with joy for God, not for anyone else.

BE HEARD! How have you seen churches handle money well? How have you seen them handle money poorly?