The Church is called to help those in need, and this comes in many forms: spiritually (obviously), physically, emotionally, and financially. There are probably several other words ending in -ly that can fit, but we’ll just stick with those 4 for now. I mainly want to focus on the last one – financially.
My least favorite Sundays in the church calendar year are when the preacher quotes dozens of scriptures about tithing and being good stewards of God’s money. I will admit, though, it seems that preachers can get the members to give more if they make it a month-long sermon series. It just bugs me for some reason. Maybe because there is such a low percentage of those in the church that actually tithe. Maybe because I am one of those that struggles with trusting God with my money. I know it is important, but I always wonder where my money goes.
Electric bills, mortgage payments, salaries, mission support, and community outreach are the first ones that come to mind. It is interesting that my top three are all internal expenses. Yes, it takes money to keep a church running, and I learned that when I worked in a church for two summers of college.
Internal expenses will always be there, but what is the Church’s stance on external expenses like outreach, missions, and community development? What if the Church was the first line of assistance for a single parent working three jobs to feed and keep a roof over her two children? What if the Church stepped in to rejuvenate a neighborhood riddled with drugs and gang violence? What if the Church set up a ministry in business districts to help workaholics?
At Southland Christian Church, they have an extra dollar offering each Sunday. In addition to the regular tithes, they ask everyone to put an extra dollar in the collection basket. With a church of its size, $1 will go a long way. Jon Weece, the preacher, informed the congregation that the previous week they collected about $10,000. That’s a lot of money. The cool thing was he told everyone exactly where it went – to a recovering alcoholic whose prosthetic legs were falling apart. The money went to purchase new prosthetic legs and to help renovate his house to make it more handicap-friendly. I was really encouraged, not only by what the church did to help the guy, but also by how the leaders of the church wanted to share the story.
Should the Church be more open in sharing how it helps others? Is it bragging to say how the Church helped a family in need?