Get Those Wallets Out – by Mrs. Blue

I’ve noticed a really bad trend lately. Even before the recent economic meltdown, our economy had been going into some unhealthy directions, and clearly, people have felt it in their wallets and purses. I’ve read stories about how churches are having a hard time right now because collections are down (tithes, offerings, pledges, etc.) and have been for a while now. And the church that the hubby and I attend right now is having to consider laying off an associate pastor and possibly cutting back on office hours to conserve its funds.

I admit that the Deacon and I are a bit remiss in our tithing right now. I would love to be giving 10% of our income, but that’s just not feasible right now. But I do make sure to give something every time I go to church. What amazes me are how many people I see these days who don’t even bother to put a few bucks in. They just pass along the collection plate and don’t look back.

I know people, both personally and in my many online venues, who complain about how churches ask for money. They complain that they shouldn’t have to support the church and that it’s just moneygrubbing. They say that God will provide for the church even though they and everyone else around them aren’t giving anything to the coffers. And yet these are the same people that use church services and who advise people in need to go to the church for help.

Just how do they think a church pays for a pastor’s salary, much less all the services it provides? How do those mortgage payments (or rent) and utilities get paid?

Do they think that God just funnels money directly into the churches?

These same people often tell people who are wrestling with the tithe and offering issue that they should tithe their time instead of their money. Which is all well and good, and volunteering is nice, but it doesn’t help the church pay the bills.

It’s not as if a church gets its space and its utilities for free. It’s not as if it can have a pastor and not pay him or her (do you really want your pastor trying to juggle the flock and carry a full-time job outside the church too?). It’s not as if tax-exempt status puts money directly into the coffers.

At a time when people are leaning on churches more and asking them to do more for them, that is NOT a time for us to be pulling away our financial support. You may not be able to give as much as you once did, but give something. And take a look at your priorities. Are there things in your life that you are clinging to and paying for that you don’t really need?

Because churches need money to do their work, and it’s our responsibility to support them.


4 Responses to “Get Those Wallets Out – by Mrs. Blue”

  1. October 31, 2008 at 5:25 pm

    Dont worry to much, if you really consider yourself Christian then you dont have to “Tithe”, youre supposed to give from a Joyous Heart not some predetermined amount.

  2. November 1, 2008 at 4:27 am

    Mrs. Blue: “They say that God will provide for the church even though they and everyone else around them aren’t giving anything to the coffers.”

    It’s good to hear from you again, Mrs. Blue. I’ve pasted the part of your comments that resonated most with me.

    What I learned early on was how God moved others to answer our prayers. When I needed food to eat, someone was moved to call me and invite me to dinner. When I needed ties to wear to church, a neighbor stopped by and offered me dozens he was planning to toss.

    And God would give me ideas–solutions to meet my needs that I hadn’t considered. When I needed money to have my car repaired, I fully expected the money to fall from the sky. It didn’t. Instead, I was given an idea that met my need.

    More often than not, God has worked through others to meet my needs. So a church congregation that’s waiting around for God to act on their behalf have only to act on their own behalf. Now if the money descends from Heaven (I’m not ruling that out!) please let me know. I want to be there to offer up my praise.

    You should know that I haven’t attended church in years. Yet, there’s one church I would support, if I did.

    And what you have done for me is to remind me that it would be a good idea for me to give my support during this time of economic crisis.

    So tomorrow, or the next business day, I will be calling that church for an address where I might send a donation.

    I wanted you know that your blog entry has produced fruit, and I pray that that fruitage continues for your church, and all those other churches seeking to make God’s presence more than a spiritual reality, but a physical one as well.

  3. November 1, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    I think there’s a lot of lessons we can learn from when we see statistics on giving. For instance Barna came out with some research about a year ago that stated our giving isn’t declining overall, but giving to religious organizations is declining. more and more people are giving to social programs that help the poor and things like that. This trend right here just shows how people are fed up with how the Church is spending the money they aleady have. I’ve never ever ever heard of a church that said, we’re satisfied with what we have. We don’t want any more; so just give your money to the poor. The church is the richest organization in the world, and i’ve never seen any other organization besides the government be that poor of investors into people. We are busy pouring money into ourselves, our church programs, our buildings, etc. On the other hand as the Church is pouring tithing into it’s infrastructure, we ask God’s people to not do that for their own family.

    Do you see what i’m saying here? The Church organization asks us to take away from our family, but with ‘their’ own actions, they do not practice this. Yes, there are exceptions. Some churches do a fine job of taking care of needs.

    I’m not trying to get people to stop giving to the Church. I’m trying to get people motivated to put some accountability back into how the money is spent.

    You know what’s ironic. Tell people to give because the Church needs money and you feel like you are pulling out teeth; but let people know that the basic needs of some people are not being met, and you do not even have to ask them to give. It’s natural for us to give towards real causes. I’m not saying that ministers don’t have needs. I’m saying that we’re going about it the wrong way, cause we’re worried about keeping the organizational machine afloat, when really all giving was about in the new testament was meeting basic needs.

    I think my thoughts came out the wrong way. I’m not trying to throw the baby out with the bathwater here, i’m just trying to re-route the heart of giving and receiving.

    – jared b

  4. 4 Deacon Blue
    November 1, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    First Domino…thanks for the thoughts. We were without a church for quite a while and were sending our money to the organization that was feeding us spiritually during that time both online and on TV…InTouch Ministries. And we still give to them.

    Just my personal example of how we can support good ministries in small ways even when we don’t have a church home.


    Jared…I would have to disagree about the wealth of the church, because if you’re talking about wealth, you can really only be talking about the Roman Catholic Church and the few Protestant mega-churches out there.

    Most churches are far from wealthy. Sure, there are a too-sizable number in which the pastor gets fat and has a nice car or two while the building crumbles, but by and large, even the churches that pissed me off doctrinally aren’t exactly rolling in money, and often what money they do have above and beyond meeting the bills and such actually does go to ministeries, outreach, and various useful services. At least in my experience.

    And even with the Catholic Church, let’s remember that the Vatican doesn’t rain gobs of money down on individual churches worldwide unless they are the grand old expensive flagships…;-)

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Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

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