Can I trust my church with my money? (Cont.)

By Stew

In the comment section of the first post in this series,  a reader named Randy Peterson, requested more Scripture passages in support of my list of ideas. I did not include Bible references in the first post (and this one), mainly to conserve space. The original article was well over 1500 words before I decided to divide it into two posts. Also, some of the ideas are implications of biblical principles that I have learned or experienced, but not necessarily dogmatic truth. My goal is to get you thinking and talking about this topic. Sometimes we find the subject of money to be uncomfortable and so we avoid it. As a result of avoiding the subject, we do not provide the accountability necessary for good church finance. On Friday, I plan to list a large number of biblical references on this topic without a great deal of commentary. I hope that you will take it from there!

So to continue – a church that is worthy of your financial support must be:

A church that is not focused on “facilities”.

Scripture makes it clear that the church is a group of believers – a family. Yet, many churches invest more resources in the care, maintenance and construction of buildings and auditoriums than in outreach, edification and care of the leadership. How can you tell if a church is too focused on facilities? That is somewhat subjective, but one indicator might be a large debt commitment on the part of the congregation. Another could be facilities so nice that the church leadership gets nervous about children or the homeless being present. Yet another tip-off might be a church that presently owns adequate facilities, but then starts a building campaign to move to another part of town. A friend of mine recently told of a church that had started five other churches – before they even had a building of their own. Even after planting five more churches, this particlar church was still meeting and worshiping in a public school building.

That congregation understands who the church is and how the resources of the church should be used.

A church who cares for its own.

In Scripture, the church is to care for hurting members of the congregation: orphans, widows, the sick, the poor, those with an emergency need. I am not a big fan of socialism in the public square, but one could say that the church family is to practice a little marxism – I jest. But if your church does not place a priority on finding ways to meet the needs of those within the congregation, that that church has a priority problem. Yes, it can be difficult and yes, there will be some faith involved, but God has promised to meet our needs. Your congregation should test that promise.

A church that seeks truth regardless of financial consequences.

Is your pastor afraid to preach certain passages because it might offend a large giver? Will your church leadership confront issues regardless of soci0-economic status? That is tough thing to do sometimes . . . I know of a small church that recently lost four families over truths found in Romans 8 and 9. The pastor refused to compromise the truth of Scripture and paid a temporary financial price. I trust that God will bless that church as it seeks to follow truth – but his blessings are not always financial.

A church that lives by faith.

When I was young, I remember that my family attended a church with a trust fund that was one and a half times the size of that congregation’s annual operating budget. This may sound like good financial stewardship in the business world, but it is easy for a church like that to cultivate less trust in God and more trust in the fund. I think the early part of the book of Revelation deals with a church that is “rich and increased with goods” . . . You might want to check out what God has to say to that assembly.

He has promised to meet our needs, not always our wants, but our needs. Money is a tool that God sometimes uses, but does not need in order to accomplish his will.

If you do not like how your church is handling your money – do not continue to give. Furthermore, it makes sense that you need to re-evaluate your attendance and/or membership in that particular church. I encourage you to  to prayerfully and biblically evaluate that “called out assembly” and whether or not you should remain. I have known several people over the years who mention to me that they do not give money to their church because they do not like how the church handles the money . . . my response is always: “Then why are you a member there?”.If you cannot support the financial decisions of your church, then you have two options, either you are wrong and your church is right or you are right and your church is wrong. Both require a serious conversation with the leadership of your church.

Article by Stew

Photo by jsorbieus

5 Responses (including trackbacks) to “Can I trust my church with my money? (Cont.)”

  1. Laura Says:

    I would agree 110% with this. My husband and I have talked repeatedly about this very issue. We had one church where we did give for a time, before money got too tight for our own daily living (long story, but unemployment was involved). Now, we’re getting back on financial track, and we’re in a new (and closer) church, and they update the congregation weekly on the status of spending vs. budget. Being an accountant, I’m always curious to see the books, but honestly, I trust them because even though the church desperately needs a new facility due to growth, the elders refuse to put the church into debt to fund it. It’s a “pay-as-you-go” system, and God has provided. He has also provided us to begin giving again, and we are being faithful (as faithful as humans can be) to give accordingly. :) I also agree that giving to the church is a biblical principle that is very important, although it’s not always about cash – sometimes time is just as important to give.

  2. Stew Says:

    Those brand-new church buildings can be tempting, but God will provide if you need it. You have wise elder-leaders.

  3. Mark Says:

    Hi Stew,

    I appreciate these two articles very much. However, to answer your question, why are you a member of a church that you don’t agree with how they handle money, the answer for most (I would think – my wife and I included) is that because it’s the best in the area. My wife and I give part of our money there, but most of our tithe goes to ministries outside of our church, where we appreciate what they’re doing with the money much more than what our church is doing with it. I’ve heard John MacArthur discuss how he has heard repeatedly that so many people rely on his teaching for their spiritual food, because they don’t have any strong churches in the areas in which they live. They don’t neglect being active in their churches; they just can’t get fed there.

    I greatly appreciate your article and it’s very motivating to, not just look for this type of church, but to be this type of church. Again, the sad reality of it is that to find a church that meets most of these criteria is almost impossible in many areas.

  4. Stew Says:

    Mark, your comments are very accurate – we feel very blessed to have a church like we do so close to us. It is literally the most biblical church that I have ever been a part of and it is less than 10 minutes away. In fact, if I were to ever lose my job here, I am not sure that I would look for a job anywhere else – because of this church. Not everyone has that kind of situation.

  5. Kika Says:

    My husband and I do not support every financial decision that our church makes; he is on our church board so has some input and we both are actively involved in trying to live out our values in our church and community. Despite being the ‘voice of dissent’ at times – we tend to be the minority – we choose to trust in our pastor’s vision and leadership. We do believe this is where we are supposed to be and I don’t think there exists a ‘perfect’ church.