Jesus addressed money more often than he mentioned prayer. Why? Definitely not because of the common complaint, “All the church wants is my money.” Actually, good churches don’t want your money, because God doesn’t want your money. He wants you—your love, your life. Why? It’s a better way to live. That’s what Jesus teaches. The Bibles also says, “Your heart is where your riches are. That’s why the Christianity focuses so much on money. We value what we pay for.
Of course, every church needs money for operations. It costs money to provide a facility, lights, heat, teaching materials, a web site, and staff. Why do some churches occasionally fall short?
Sometimes it’s due to poor management. That’s rare, however. Occasionally a church has a sudden, unexpected expense—like the need for a new furnace. More often, there are creeping financial increases in two areas: staffing and facilities. When churches are over staffed, it’s often because the staff is not following the biblical pattern. Staff leaders are not the “hired hands, to do ministry.” According to God’s plan, they are to “equip God’s people for the work of ministry.”
When a church overbuilds, it’s usually because too many people get their fingers in the project. Too many people want this or that, and it gets beyond the church’s level to pay. The result is a big mortgage with a lot of money going toward interest. The mortgage becomes “the mission” of the church.
Most churches with money issues are suffering from these challenges:
- Leaders fail to preach and teach enough about biblical giving.
- Church members are not challenged to give at generous levels the Bible encourages.
- Most of the members do not look at financial giving as a percentage of what they earn (this is the biblical model). Instead, they think of it only as a dollar amount. As their earning power increases, the actual percentage (portion of what they give) goes down. The percentage is what God measures, not the dollars.
God is not focused on how many dollars you give. Some people have more financial resources than others. God is not interested in equal giving, but equal sacrifice. The widow on social security, who gives 10 percent back to God, gives more than the wealthy man with a big check that represents 5 percent of his income. This is the way God does math. Christians, who follow God’s plan, attend churches that avoid a fiscal cliff.
What challenges do you see in the way people give to churches? How does your church encourage biblical giving? We welcome your comments below.
Kent Hunter is known as the Church Doctor. His most recent e-books are The Future Is Now and The J-Dog Journey, available at no cost. Contact him at (800) 626-8515, or you can visit www.churchdoctor.org.