MONEY AND THE CHURCH…

II CORINTHIANS 8:16-21: “But thanks be to God who puts the same earnest care for you into the heart of Titus. For he not only accepted the exhortation, but being more diligent, he went to you of his own accord. And we have sent with him the brother whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches, and not only that, but who was also chosen by the churches to travel with us with this gift, which is administered by us to the glory of the Lord Himself and to show your ready mind, avoiding this: that anyone should blame us in this lavish gift which is administered by us— providing honorable things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.” NKJV
‭‭
OBSERVATION: “The reason I don’t go to church is that all they ever talk about is money!” This is the statement I heard someone make at a movie theatre before the movie started. At that time I was preparing to plant a church and was thinking through what this new church would look like. This statement stuck with me as I prayed and planned.

I NEVER WANTED PEOPLE TO THINK WE WERE FOCUSED ON MONEY!

The ministry is supposed to be about the formation of people. We are called to make disciples. Of course, this takes money. However, how we approach the subject of money in the church will speak volumes to those who are earnestly seeking, when they visit our church. I never wanted to be timid concerning the subject of money but I wanted everyone to know that our focus was on people and not the offering plate.

I think this is what Paul was speaking of when he said,

  • “…Avoiding this: that anyone should blame us in this lavish gift which is administered by us— providing honorable things, not only in the sight of the Lord but also in the sight of men.”

Paul was stating that he intended to handle the offering to the poor saints in Jerusalem with integrity and transparency. Their offering was being carefully stewarded by chosen men and their handling of this offering was accessible and visible to everyone – “…both in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.”

As a church planting pastor, I determined two things. I wanted to trust God for our finances and I wanted everyone to know how we stewarded these gifts to God. My personal decision was to place an offering basket at the exit of the sanctuary. We would refer to it in our announcements but we made a conscious choice not to pass an offering plate. This was the first decision.

Our second decision was to give full visibility to how we used these offerings in the ministry and life of our church. Each year we would publish a detailed financial statement that was available to anyone in the congregation and that was fully reviewed and open for input during our annual congregational meeting. We also would report the use of special offerings, both how much was received and how we used these offerings.

In over 15 years of ministry, we never had to beg for an offering. I would teach on stewardship, but only as it came up in the text as we were going through a series or book of the Bible. We would publicly thank people for their faithfulness in their tithes and offerings but we would never put pressure on them to give. What we found is that God always moved through His people and supplied all of our needs as we worked at being good stewards of the Gospel and the offerings.

AS WE DID THIS WE DISCOVERED A SPIRIT OF CHEERFULNESS, FAITHFULNESS, AND GENEROSITY IN THE CHURCH TOWARD GIVING!

How many ministries have been damaged by an over-emphasis on offerings or the mismanagement of them? How many churches steward their offerings behind closed doors and do not share any detail of how they are used with the general body? How many people in the process have gained one more reason to avoid going to church?

Paul chose to be a tentmaker rather than receive financial support for his ministry. He did this so that no one could accuse him of proclaiming the Gospel for profit. Yet, it was Paul who taught that a minister of the Gospel should be paid for his laboring in the Gospel. The balance between these two points is stewardship. There is nothing inherently evil with money or receiving a salary for being a pastor or Christian worker. The issue is how our handling of these funds appears to both the Lord and those inside and outside the church.

THE ADMINISTRATION OF MONEY IN THE CHURCH SHOULD BE MARKED BY INTEGRITY AND TRANSPARENCY – TO ALL!

Lord, this morning I pray for all those who are leading a congregation and have the oversight of the ministry and the administration of the offerings of God’s people. I pray that You will give them the wisdom to do both in a way that is pleasing to You and will enable them to maintain a good report both inside the church and without. I pray that You will guard all of our hearts from anything that would tempt us to handle the resources You place in our hands in any way that would not be pleasing to You.

Help us all be good stewards of the resources of Your Kingdom!

In Jesus’ Name!

About Kirk's Devotional Journal

Kirk L. Zehnder is the Founder of Resurrection Christian Outreach. RCO is a ministry that promotes the growth and vitality of the local church through speaking engagements, seminars, various media tools, and written curriculum and books. This ministry was started over 35 years ago by Kirk as a means to strengthen the church that he was pastoring. It grew as Kirk began to share these tools with other churches. Today many of the materials are being used by local churches both nationally and internationally. Kirk's Devotional Journal is a result of struggling with Bible reading programs that never seemed to work. Kirk feels the Lord helped him discover an easy-to-follow program to Read, Reflect, Pray, and Journal through the Bible in one year. This program is called L.I.F.E. Unlike other programs there are no dates to follow. You can miss a day and still complete your reading. You never feel like the dates and verses you missed are chasing you. You are free to enjoy your daily Biblical journey and listen to the voice of The Lord. For more information on the L.I.F.E. plan, send an email to rcoutreach@aol.com. Kirk is also available for speaking engagements, seminars, and retreats. With over 40 years of professional business and pastoral ministry experience, Kirk brings a unique combination of practical wisdom, humor, and Biblical insight. If you would like Kirk to speak at your church, school, or ministry, please send an email to rcoutreach@aol.com and we will get back to you as soon as possible to discuss your opportunity.
This entry was posted in II Corinthians. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to MONEY AND THE CHURCH…

  1. eldermike547yahoocom says:

    Hello Brother Kirk,

    This is an interesting post. But I think many still misunderstand the way the early Church operated, functioned, and conducted their everyday concerns. I have written an in-depth study dealing with tithing (giving). But it envelops so much more, and covers the very heart, of what you have written in your column. Here is the summation of my article.

    “Christian giving is very simple. Believers should be the most generous, openhanded with what they have, with what they earn, the most kind, and the most loving people you could meet anywhere. Jesus stated: “Give and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again” (Luke 6:38). Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Be generous, and you will find others generous to you. As Jesus taught, you will get the same proportion as you give.
    “I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God and they shall be my people” (Jer. 31:31-34). This verse in Jeremiah deals with the Christian dispensation. God says He will place His law in our inward parts and will write His word in our hearts. As Christians, we need to have God’s word burn within us, and if it does, we will be the most giving people you will ever see.
    Christians are commanded to give, and if done God’s way will produce the fruit of the New Covenant. How should we give? Freely, sacrificially, generously, abundantly, regularly, and joyfully, with the motivation of love for God and man. We should also give to produce equality. Those who have more abundance should give more in order to make up for the inability of those who have less and cannot afford to give as much.
    As in all things pertaining to our walk with God, the attitude of our heart is most important to God. We should never give to be noticed, never give to get or receive, and never give to be rewarded spiritually. If our hearts are in the right place, and God indwells us, we will walk in fellowship with God and change the world, as Jesus did 2,000 years ago.”

    I would be happy to send the whole article for your review.

    Like

  2. Great thoughts! Thank you!!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s