Editor’s Note: Pastor Roger Barrier’s “Ask Roger” column regularly appears at Preach It, Teach It. Every week, Dr. Barrier puts nearly 40 years of experience in the pastorate to work answering questions of doctrine or practice for laypeople, or giving advice on church leadership issues. Email him your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why does it seems, churches or leadership seems to be oblivious to us trying to pay tithes and offering every time we come to service. They never stop asking for money. Life is a struggle.
Let’s share some reasons why the Church should talk about money and ask for it consistently.
FIRST: OUR GREATEST FOE IN THE CHRISTIAN LIFE IS NOT SATAN; IT IS MATERIALISM.
In our United States, Materialism, the rival god to the real God, has destroyed more marriages and lives than Satan ever will.
Jesus recognized this: “You cannot serve both God and Money” (Matthew 6:24). Materialism is the only other god that He mentioned during His earthly ministry. Materialism is our greatest spiritual rival.
When I teach my classes on Biblical Economics I use a checklist to help people analyze whether or not they are struggling with the sin of Materialism. Materialism is when Money is more important to us than God.
What Are The Symptoms Of The Sin Of Materialism?
- Compulsive buying
- Being discontent with what we have
- Holding on to more wealth than we need (Hoarding)
- Failing to give God the top portion of our income
- Spending everything we make and saving nothing for the future
- Borrowing money for depreciating items (credit cards)
- Cheating on our income tax
- Using a credit card and not paying off or being able to pay off the balance completely at the end of the month
- Getting nervous or upset when the pastor preaches on money
Hopefully, preachers talk about money to help people find victory over sin as well as to experience financial blessing.
SECOND: FOLLOWING THE PRINCIPLES OF BIBLICAL ECONOMICS GUARANTEES SUCCESS.
God has clearly laid out His plan for how we handle our money. If we do it well He promises to bless us. If we fail to obey then he promises to curse us.
“Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, how do we rob you?’
“In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse … because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse … Test me in this,’ says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven …” (Malachi 3:8-11).
Biblical Economics Has Five Major Foundational Pillars.
1. Pay God His 10% Tithe.
God lays out the principle that the first 10% of what we earn belongs to Him.
Jesus said: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices — mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law — justice, mercy and faithfulness. YOU SHOULD HAVE PRACTICED THE LATTER, WITHOUT NEGLECTING THE FORMER (Matthew 23:23).
2. Pay The Government Its Share.
Paul taught: “This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue” (Romans 13:6-7).
3. Spend Less Than You Make.
Solomon observed: “In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has” (Proverb 21:20).
4. Stay Out Of Debt For Depreciating Items.
Paul instructed: “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another” (Romans 13:8).
5. Save Some For Future Needs.
Solomon said: “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest” (Proverbs 6:6-8).
6. Have Some Left Over To Give To The Poor
Solomon demonstrated the importance of having a surplus to give to the poor: “He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses” (Proverbs 28:27).
Biblical Economics seems unreachable to so many people. That is because most Americans spend more than they make.
If you decide to commit yourself to good Biblical Economics remember that it all begins with the tithe. I recommend that people in financial stress don’t try to fix it all at once. I suggest that they start with 2% and repent and confess to God their sin of materialism and not being able to give the tithe right now because of their sin. Then increase your giving by 1% or 2% and after several years you will be up to the 10% tithe.
THIRD: MONEY IS ESSENTIAL FOR FUNDING MINISTRIES AND ADMINISTRATIVE COSTS.
Church staff need to be compensated. Mortgages need to be paid. Floors need to be waxed. Benevolence money must be laid aside for those in need. Training materials must be purchased. Parking lots need upkeep. Utilities must be paid. Overseas evangelism endeavors need continual financial support. Of course, as a church grows, buildings need building.
I remember an angry woman chastising me for our church not paying the mortgage of her friend when she lost her job. “This church has so much money,” she said, “and you won’t help her?! What kind of loving church is this? It is all a fraud.”
My response was short and simple. “I am sorry, the money is all already allocated for other things or spent. There is none left. The real problem is that the average church person gives less than 1.5% of their income to the church.” I pictured her as one of those “Dollar Christians” who look in her purse and pull out a dollar or two for the offering plate. I am sure that I was not wrong. She had nothing more to say.
FOURTH: FEDERAL, STATE AND LOCAL TAXES HAVE TAKEN AWAY THE ABILITY OF THE CHURCH TO ACCOMPLISH MANY OF ITS GOD-GIVEN RESPONSIBILITIES.
Once upon a time churches had resources and funds to care for the poor and needy. Churches founded hospitals, orphanages, bread lines, soup kitchens, and shelter for the poor.
There was no income tax when the church took care of the nation’s welfare. Then, in 1913 income tax was instituted to raise a few funds for a partial operation of the federal government. Income tax was approved by Congress with the understanding that foreign tariffs would basically fund the government. The average income tax was around 1%. Pundits theorized that the income tax would never approach even 10%.
Were they wrong or not! Today the average individual or family works from January 1 to May 15 to pay their governmental tax requirements.
The government is now the one responsible for welfare care. It is no wonder the church tries so hard to raise funds for social needs. We have the responsibility while the ability of church people to give has been usurped by the various governments of the land.
FIFTH: PASTORS AND CHURCH LEADERS MUST USE WISDOM AND BALANCE IN RAISING FUNDS.
Church leaders are to inspire the people to give according to God’s plans. Inspiration revolves around financial success for both the individual and society. This can be exciting and inspirational. Unfortunately, too many churches approach this subject with fear of offending someone or by using guilt to try to motivate the people.
Personally, I used every opportunity to teach and inspire the people about the joys of investing in God’s kingdom. I wanted everyone to hold the offering plate as it passed by to remind them of the importance of Biblical Economics.
We were careful to tell our guests that they were not expected to give anything until Casas became their church home.
Some churches put a box in the foyer and hope people put something in the box as they enter or leave. I am embarrassed by those churches. God deserves something better than a box.
Looking at the pastor’s heart, balance can only occur when he humbles himself enough to remember that any money given to the church is for God’s sake and not for his.
By the way, the pastor is the chief fund raiser of money in the church. The top five priorities of the church may fluctuate but raising money must be somewhere in those five.
It is hard to prioritize, and the priorities will change with different people. However, next to preaching and to developing my own spiritual life, I considered raising money and teaching Biblical Economics to be the most important things that I did.
Well D, I hope this helps.
Love, Ask Roger
P.S. Shortly after answering D’s question he emailed me the following note: Thank You, it helps to know the right thing. – D.
Dr. Roger Barrier retired as senior teaching pastor from Casas Church in Tucson, Arizona. In addition to being an author and sought-after conference speaker, Roger has mentored or taught thousands of pastors, missionaries, and Christian leaders worldwide. Casas Church, where Roger served throughout his thirty-five-year career, is a megachurch known for a well-integrated, multi-generational ministry. The value of including new generations is deeply ingrained throughout Casas to help the church move strongly right through the twenty-first century and beyond. Dr. Barrier holds degrees from Baylor University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Golden Gate Seminary in Greek, religion, theology, and pastoral care. His popular book, Listening to the Voice of God, published by Bethany House, is in its second printing and is available in Thai and Portuguese. His latest work is, Got Guts? Get Godly! Pray the Prayer God Guarantees to Answer, from Xulon Press. Roger can be found blogging at Preach It, Teach It, the pastoral teaching site founded with his wife, Dr. Julie Barrier.