Missionally, churches exist to be a beacon of hope and a safe place for the community. One could look at the church as a spiritual hospital. Those who have wounds can come and their wounds can be bound. What happens, however, when the wounds a person carries was created by a church? I have heard stories of people who flee from churches because of the treatment they received because of their divorce, lifestyle, past, or even because the perception of being “money hungry”.
Let’s face it, churches ask for money regularly. For some, it is a concept that is second nature. Whether it is a bonus check at work, an inheritance, regular pay check, or any other source of income many people choose to give a portion of that money to the church. Others are not used to this idea and are even offended to think that this could possibly be an obligation.
In my other job as an office administrator for a church, I receive 10-15 calls a day asking for money for those who are behind on bills. I also receive the same number of calls from telemarketers wanting to sell me a new service or product that will enhance my life. As a Lead Pastor, I am also approached by people needing help…which I am glad to take part in.
In today’s culture the average Christian gives a little over 2 percent of their income to God’s kingdom (church or other charities).
What’s my point? If the Old Testament legalism says 10 percent, then aren’t we glad that the New Testament was written to get us off the hook? Wait a minute though…if what we learned yesterday is true, and Jesus gives his followers a different standard (care for the widow, orphan etc) then this would mean a different level of responsibility, right? Do you think Christ would say “still continue to trust in God, but not nearly as much as you used to…”?
The church may talk about money a lot…but so does every department store, infomercial, telemarketer, car salesman, shopping mall and magazine ad you come in contact with. Mission shouldn’t need a commercial.
My next post will talk about what I eluded to earlier…a new standard for the way a church should welcome people…people with wounds and imperfections.