Many years ago my church participated in our city’s 4th of July parade. We built a patriotic-themed float and paraded down the streets with hundreds of others, waving and passing out fliers advertising our Sunday services.
As one of our members handed a flier to a man, he refused it and said, “All you Christians are alike. All you want is people’s money.”
In more than thirty years as a pastor, it’s been my habit that we never ask, beg, shame, prod, play games, or run gimmicks for money. I never want to be perceived as being materialistic or greedy and I don’t want Christ’s bride portrayed as money-grubbing.
Instead of asking for money, each week we publish the amount of money needed to pay the church bills and how has been received. I trust the Holy Spirit to provide as He moves upon people’s hearts to give. People who are taught the Word of God will naturally give to the work of God. And through the years, He has always provided – maybe not for the wants, but always for the needs.
In his letters to the Christians in the Greek city of Corinth, the Apostle Paul gave 5 simple principles about financial giving.
- God doesn’t need your money; everything already belongs to Him. He wants you give yourself to Him before you give your money (2 Cor 8:5).
- Christian ministry should be supported by Christians – both rich and poor – not unbelievers (2 Cor 8:1-5).
- Our giving is a cheerful and thankful response to God’s grace, not because we are shamed, goaded, or commanded to give (2 Cor 8:8-12). If you can’t give cheerfully, don’t give, for God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor 9:7).
- Give what you’re able, from the abundance you have (2 Cor 8:12, 14; 1 Cor 16:2), but don’t be stingy (2 Cor 9:8-11). Trust that God is the One who provides for your own needs.
- Be purposeful in your giving. Plan and set aside money each week according to your own willingness and desire (1 Cor 16:2; 2 Cor 8:12; 9:7).