by Bishop Dr. Peter L. Baker | Project Manager, I AM Kingdom Brands
Curiosity in the finance room occurs every Sunday, as we wonder if the financial obligations of the church are collected. I fully understand that concern, but the financial strategies of the church involve much more than merely wondering what is in the plate. Therefore, I’d like to offer for discussion these three thoughts to examine: The theology of tithing, The rainy-day dilemma, and our personal stewardship.
The theology of tithing
Tithing has long been a controversial subject, especially among those who struggle to engage in tithing. As a believer, the last thing we really should struggle with, it seems, is the principle of giving. It should be a natural desire of ours to see the Kingdom advance. There should be no amount of money that is too much or will pay back God for all He’s given us.
Unfortunately, many struggle because they face the challenge of desiring worldly riches and fame. If we, nevertheless, are more concerned about our spiritual purpose than our selfish desires, then we would do what it takes to sustain Kingdom work. It is little hesitancy to buy things we feel would make life more enjoyable. But they are no match to the joy we derive from seeding into Kingdom work. In other words, we must have an appreciation in the principle of love for Christ and His purposes for us to even consider pouring financially into Kingdom ministry.
You noticed I didn’t address the 10% tithing challenge, the tithing on gross or net, or our concern with what the church does with the money. I suggest these to be the strategy of the enemy, in keeping our mind off what’s needed to do Kingdom work.
The Rainy Day Theology
Secondly, the practice of saving for a rainy day works in the church as well as at home. We must not just spend as we receive God’s finances. It’s always important for a church who has reached a point of covering its basic bills to now look at various savings strategies. Having a member that is good at understanding investments, CD’s, money market accounts and the like, can be an invaluable resource.
In many churches giving is all over the place. Having started a church from nothing, membership and giving are indeed all over the place. You can never predict giving. That’s why it’s important to plan for a rainy day - the season of low giving. As good stewards of God's money and resources we must constantly review ways to keep Kingdom work alive.
The Theology of Personal Stewardship
Lastly, how do we handle our own finances? There’s a belief that too many times we handle other people’s money with less concern than our own. Just like our home needs a budget, God’s house needs a budget. Just as we are to be good stewards of what God blessed us with at home, we must do the same in the church.
We must, therefore, not allow people to make decisions of church finances who are not good stewards over their own money. That’s a big pill to swallow, I know. But when we accept the concept of treating God’s money with care, we see the Kingdom benefit of doing so.
Maintaining financial stability with the ministry is of utmost importance. We do so by constantly creating ways and means to secure and increase funding. I find it counterproductive to use guilt in making people give or have continual ‘plate sales’ or fundraiser events.
I realize this is my ‘theology’, but a church should be an asset and not a detriment to the community. So, to lean on the community to make money, admittedly, is a pet peeve of mine. Nevertheless, I pray that this blog has helped us to take a fresh look at the financial approach to our ministries.