Fund-Raising or Giving an Offering?

Father Dennis Darilek and Father Jimmy Drennan of St. Paul’s Catholic Church in San Antonio, Texas, positioned themselves atop a 20-foot pole in an effort to raise money for the church.  Sitting in an eight-by-four foot plywood box, these two priests committed to staying in their perch until parishioners had donated $50,000 to build an athletic complex. ”I told everyone, the good news is the money is out there,” Darilek said. ”The bad news is it’s in your pockets.”

At the same time, the pastor of a Baptist Church in Texas encouraged folks in his congregation to sign-up to buy frozen food in the church foyer.  The church had recently voted to call a part-time youth minister and the proceeds from the sale of the frozen produce would be used to pay his salary.

These two theologically diverse congregations have something in common.  They both approach giving to support the work of the church as fund-raising.

When we reduce giving to fund-raising we totally miss the biblical teaching.  Giving is always presented in God’s Word as worship.  In fact, in the Old Testament, the entire worship experience was centered on giving an offering or bringing a sacrifice.

In the New Testament we also we find the same relationship between giving and worship: “Now about the collection for God’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do.  On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income . . .” (1 Corinthians 16:1-2).

A common trend among churches today is to remove the offering from worship.  This is done by tacking it on at the very end of the service, after all the important stuff is done, or by simply placing a collection box in the foyer.  We even do it by reminding the visitors that they are not expected to give an offering; giving is only for members.  These approaches, designed to make visitors feel comfortable, give the message that the offering is nothing more than fund raising to pay the bills.

The church does not need to resort to gimmicks in order to receive funds for ministry and missions.  We simply need to challenge God’s people with God’s Word.  Motivated by their love of God and understanding of God’s will, Christians will give without manipulation and chicanery.


1 Comment

Filed under Church, Stewardship

One response to “Fund-Raising or Giving an Offering?

  1. A mind open to truth

    I understand what you are saying about gimmicks. However, at the same time church leaders should be mindful that they are not creating an environment that encourages giving that is mechanical or inspired by guilt or a desire for approbation. Relentlessly banging the drum for the ten percent tithe, and auspiciously passing the plate for all to witness carries the risk of tarnishing the experience of cheerful giving. If a believer antes up because he or she has been trained from childhood for a knee jerk response to a certain hymn it is mechanical. If a believer gives so there will be a record of or a witness to their generosity then the gift loses its desired spiritual effect. I often wonder how many people deposit money in the plate so that the person sitting next to them will notice or so that that they won’t be disqualified from holding the office of deacon. I think this is why Jesus made it a point to say, “6 “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:1-4

    For it to be meaningful, giving must be inspired solely by a desire to please God and produce fruit of the Spirit. I believe it starts with the church casting off anxiety about money and trusting that “…God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 After all, the sermon on anxiety in Matthew 6:19-34 applies to the body as well as to individuals. If a person gives because they are worried the church will crumble without an immediate infusion of money they are admitting to anxiety that Jesus has told us we need not have. The bottom line is this:
    2 Corinthians 9:7
    7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

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