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The Question:  If it is truly God’s will that religion be provided and His Word disseminated, then why the offering plates, the mention of donations from the membership, etc.?  Should this ever really need to be mentioned?  If it is truly His desire that the church should thrive to preach His Word, would the congregation not be drawn to donate without mention?  Would there not be membership that goes out and finds grants, monies, and other funding sources on their own to bolster the financial setting of the church without having to draw and ask from the membership?  It seems that in many instances, the offering plate/box/whatever is nothing more than peer pressure to drain money away from the congregation in a submissive show of force.  Example - “ did you see ‘so and so’ didn’t donate?  Did you see how they walked right past the donation box?”  Rather, I would think if someone were truly saved, truly believes the Word, and truly wants the church to survive and thrive that the information should be provided one time as to how donations can be made to the church and then from there it should be the drive and belief of the congregation to do what without reminder...

The Answer:  From this pastor’s heart, let me say this - I COMPLETELY AGREE.  I WISH that were the case.  Let’s look at this from a different perspective.  Have you noticed that no one has to teach children to say “mine!” and take a toy from another child?  What we DO have to teach children is sharing, and service, and sacrifice.  The selfish stuff comes on its own from our innate sin-nature that puts “me” before “He” and before “we.”

In the same way that children need to be taught to be generous/share/etc., so also children in Christ (those who are following Jesus, but are “new” to it and learning) need to be taught the word “DISCIPLINE” when it comes to lots of areas of their lives.  As a society, we struggle HEAVILY with that word - we do what we want to do, but not necessarily what we need to do.  Because of that, we need to be taught (and at times reminded) of the discipline of giving.

Some of the apostles referred to Christians as “little children” or “children” or the like because they had a lot to learn about the faith they claimed.  There was a process of growth and maturity that needed to take place.  We know that Romans 10:17 says “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God,” therefore we need to teach what the Word says about giving of our time, talent, and treasures, as well as what the Word says about our interactions with each other, how we carry ourselves in business and life, etc.  We need to be taught.

So, the goal of CommUNITY Church is to TEACH what the Word says about giving.  We will NOT shame someone for not giving (2 Corinthians 9:6-7 reminds us to give cheerfully, and not out of compulsion or grudgingly), but will attempt to teach and provide opportunity to apply that teaching.  In that same vein, we attempt to be as transparent as possible about the church’s finances because we want people to understand what their finances are helping the church do in the community.

What we will NOT do is attempt to bully someone in to giving in an effort to line our own pockets.  Sadly, some “churches” do that and the Word is clear that a harsh judgment is coming for them (James 3:1).

Bottom line, if congregations would tithe (10%) and provide offerings (anything above 10%) regularly, most churches wouldn’t have the the financial issues they have, and there would be ability to do MUCH more with and for the Gospel than is currently being done… and so, because we DO KNOW it’s God’s will that God’s Word be preached to God’s creation for God’s glory, we do what we can with what we have, knowing that God will continue to provide.