Lots of people do not like hearing about money in church, and in lots of cases I don’t blame them. I too have seen televangelist try and swindle little old ladies out of their social security check. Only God knows the hearts of men but it sure seems like many of these prosperity preachers are very self serving when they talk about money. Like for you, it turns my stomach and I believe it is a perversion of the principles found in Scripture.
I remember being in a service when I was about 17, and becoming very offended. Now, just so you know, I tithed on the very first paycheck I ever got and have never stopped. So I was not offended by the idea of giving but rather the manipulation they used to make you give.
The cause was a good one and one that I have supported since and will again. A dynamic preacher spoke for an hour on why we should give and give a lot. At the end of the service an altar call was given for us to give money, then we were to go to the wall of posters with different of amounts of money ranging from 20 to 5,000 dollars. We were instructed to get up, before we knew why, walk over to the wall and claim a poster and lay our hand on it. People were moving toward the wall before they knew why and the pressure was immense.
I realized what they were doing and having the confidence that I was already a giver, I went back to my seat and sat down. Then the preacher went on to try and make anyone still sitting feel like dirt. I sat for a long time and finally was so embarrassed and got up and walked over to the wall where I found all the 20 dollar posters were gone, only posters 500 dollars and up were still there, I sat back down.
The ends justify the means except when they don’t. This type of pressure to give trains christians to be immature children in the area of giving and steals the true blessing God intends. I know preachers who preach a mini-sermon every week because that is the only time people give. If that is the case you have trained your people to be moved by manipulation and emotion rather than what Scripture says.
I was leading worship at a camp meeting once where the camp needed money for a tax bill they were not expecting, of 8,000 dollars. Again, the speaker was very dynamic and took the offering over and over, using different gimmicks until that audience of 120 people gave the entire amount. That small crowd paid the whole bill. Two months later they sent out a newsletter and guess what, they were asking for 8,000 dollars for the same tax bill. I understand how complex cash flow problems can be but the reality is they lacked integrity and then broadcasted it for everyone to see.
There has been a lot of bad behavior in the church in the area of finances. So much so that part of me would prefer, like a lot of preachers, to just not talk about it. However, I can’t claim to preach the Word and not talk about money in church, because:
3 of every 4 parables dealt with $ & possessions
In the Gospels, 1 of 10 verses deal directly with money.
2300 verses in the Bible. 5 times as many as prayer and faith.
I can not, with integrity, claim to preach the Word and not talk about money. So I have come up with a pledge that I make to you, it has three parts.
- I will not use emotion to manipulate you to give.
- I will not lead where I will not go.
- I will not rob you of God’s best for your life by not talking about money.
Over the next few blog plosts/videos, I am going to talk about each of these pledges and hope you will allow me to share with you how you can handle everything God puts in your hands for his Glory.
May the Lord richly bless you and I hope to see you in Church on Sunday.