OceanSide church of Christ
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IT TAKES MONEY TO RUN A CHURCH
Victor M. Eskew
I was there simply to visit and say: “Hello.” After a few minutes, she left the room momentarily. When she returned, she put $300.00 into my hand, and said: “This is for the church.” I told her she did not have to do that. Her reply was filled with truth and understanding. She said: “It takes money to run a church.” This woman was 101 years old.
This woman expressed a truth that we all know but do not like to discuss. The Lord’s work involves the use of money, the main medium of exchange, used in our society. The more the church does, the more money it takes. In this article, let’s talk about the church’s need for money.
Every congregation must have a place large enough to assemble. In Hebrews 10:25, we read: “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” The church could assemble in someone’s home, but most homes are too small to accommodate the entire congregation. Some churches choose to rent a facility. Others purchase a church building. The initial cost for a building is quite substantial. There are also other costs associated with keeping the building functional: electricity, water, phones, air-conditioning, sound equipment, lights, cleaning supplies, insurance, yard care, and regular maintenance. From time to time, large costs associated with the building arise. An air conditioning unit needs to be replaced. A roof must be replaced. Saving for these large expenses is essential. One expense can be anywhere from $5,000.00 to $20,000.00.
Another large expense involves the preacher’s salary. This salary often includes the preacher’s home. This house also has numerous costs attached to it. If the house is not maintained, it will lose its value. Too, there will come a time when the church is forced to do some major repairs. These can be costly. Most elderships, therefore, say on top of the preacher’s home and make repairs and improvements as they are needed. This, however, takes money. Just this past year, the elders have had to put in a countertop and sink, a new air conditioning unit, a portion of a fence in the back yard, and a new roof on the preacher’s house that the OceanSide congregation owns.
Money is also associated with the works of the church. Our Bible School is a work. Missions is a work. Gospel meetings and Vacation Bible Schools are works. The youth group is a work. Benevolence is a work. Every work involves money. To do more works, there must be more money available. We could go into a lot of detail about the expenses associated with the works listed above. Dear readers, a few dollars here and a few dollars there really add up.
When a need arose in the first century church, the apostle Paul instructed the churches as to how this need would be fulfilled. The need involved assistance for the saints and people in the area of Judea who had been adversely affected by a famine. Paul sought help from the Gentile churches. In I Corinthians 16:1-2, we read his inspired instructions. “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order unto the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.” A weekly contribution upon the first day of the week was the way the assistance was gathered. This gives the twenty-first century church a divine pattern for collecting money that is needed to accomplish her works. Every Lord’s day, therefore, the collection basket is passed. In this way, the church has the ability to fulfill the monetary needs of the congregation.
Remember, it takes money to run a church. The monetary needs are not small. Thus, it requires the members of the church to reach deep into their pockets and give liberally. This was the same type of giving Paul encouraged the Gentile churches to do in the first century. In II Corinthians 8:7, we read Paul’s exhortation to the church at Corinth about this matter. “Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.” Some churches responded positively to Paul’s admonitions. II Corinthians 8:1-5 reveals the generosity of the churches of Macedonian toward the saints in Judea. “Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; how that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave themselves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.” Dear readers, this is the kind of giving that it takes to “run the church.”
Many grow discouraged when they are asked to give. Some even get angry when they are reminded that the church must have money to function. Their reactions are unfortunate. We need to remember that God has promised His blessings to those who give liberally and bountifully to His cause. “The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself” (Prov. 11:25). And again: “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give, not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work” (II Cor. 9:6-8). My friends, it takes money to run the church. The Lord knew this and instructed us to give liberally. Let’s comply with our Lord’s instructions. If we do, He will bless all of us abundantly.