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Church Shames Congregation Into Cheerless Giving
The Christian Diarist ^ | May 6, 2012 | JP

Posted on 05/06/2012 11:12:51 AM PDT by CHRISTIAN DIARIST

My wife and I have traveled back and forth across the country the past year. It has given us the opportunity to visit a number of churches.

We have felt the movement of the Holy Spirit in every service we have attended. That is, until recently, when he heard a message we found quite disturbing.

It actually wasn’t the main topic of the pastor’s sermon. Rather, it was a sidebar at the end of his message.

It concerned the church’s finances.

He told the congregation that weekly collections had not met budget all year long. And he admonished church members that many of them were disobeying God by failing to faithfully tithe 10 percent of their weekly earnings.

Well, my wife and I believe it is our Christian duty to tithe. And we are mindful of the Scripture advising that “God loves a cheerful giver.”

Our problem is when pastors emphasize certain of God’s commandments – like tithing – while purposely ignoring other commandments for fear of offending the sensibilities of certain members of the congregation..

Indeed, I am certain the church we visited included couples who were living together outside of marriage. But the pastor didn’t guilt them.

I am sure there were homosexuals in the pews that Sunday. But he didn’t call them out.

And I suspect there may have been a few substance abusers in the church. But he didn’t rebuke them.

Yet, the pastor took the congregation’s non-tithers to task.

“I know most of you,” he said, surveying the sanctuary. “I know how much you make. And I know you’re not tithing.”

The pastor’s remarks fomented a palpable uneasiness among the congregation.

I believe it was because the church is located in an economically-distressed metropolitan area with one of the nation’s worst jobless rates, worst rates of home foreclosures and worst percentages of households without health insurance.

What made matters worse, as far as my wife and I were concerned, was that, despite the economic hardship afflicting many members of his congregation, the pastor declared that the church was moving forward with plans to relocate to a bright and shiny new building.

And he reminded the congregation that it needed to join him in raising $200,000 in so many months to put down earnest money with their bankers.

That was, of course, in addition to the tithes and offerings the pastor expected the congregation to put in the collection plate each week to meet the church’s ongoing operating expenses.

I understand that churches need financial support. But I believe the absolutely wrong way for a pastor to generate that support is to use his pulpit to make a hard sell; to shame his congregation into giving until it hurts.

They just might put more in the collection plate. But they will not do so cheerfully.

TOPICS: General Discusssion; Ministry/Outreach; Theology
KEYWORDS: blogpimp; cheerlessgiving; church; commandments; forcedgiving; religion; tithe; tithing
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To: Celtic Cross

Equal sacrifice — not necissarily equal giving.

41 posted on 05/06/2012 3:50:29 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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I have heard more and more in the church that it is a reward based system you give money you get money. I finally did a study writing down every time money was mentioned in the New Testament...and well let’s just say Jesus compliments were higher on the side of the poor then the rich. Sure he loved the rich, but they had a whole lot more “issues” than the poor. I do believe in supporting the church, but the American church is becoming shameless in promise reward system. The American church should prepare for are you going to serve God when you lose your money because every indication is that troubled times are coming, and then the people who have faith will remain Christians in spite of difficult circumstances

42 posted on 05/06/2012 4:29:30 PM PDT by MarySmith (Statistics)
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To: Malone LaVeigh

Church operations are very expensive, as you know. People would be aghast at how much one prayer book or hymnal can cost, much less hundreds. With that said, I find that pastors dun the congregation for money much like the government covets taxes - to fund the myriad new “programs” they’ve dreamed up - which then can never go away.

43 posted on 05/06/2012 5:18:39 PM PDT by ichabod1 (Cheney/Rumsfeld 2012)
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To: Colofornian

Wait, you mean non-temple Mormons and non-Mormons do NOT get to live with Heavenly Father and be happy with Him forever, right?

44 posted on 05/06/2012 5:24:25 PM PDT by ichabod1 (Cheney/Rumsfeld 2012)
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IMHO your not running into this sort of thing before is the aberration. 

45 posted on 05/06/2012 5:33:01 PM PDT by Rashputin (Only Newt can defeat both the Fascist democrats and the Vichy GOP)
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To: MarySmith
Our sermon today was about Christ sending out the 12 disciples to heal, spread the word, etc. Don't take any money or spare clothing with you - just go. Along with the stuff they were to do, Christ told them of the things they would receive in his name. Part of that was a bed and food from those that received the message. But also persecution, brought up on charges, etc. (and ultimately death).

The life of a Christian is difficult, but it is also rewarding, blessed, and full of adventure.

46 posted on 05/06/2012 5:45:21 PM PDT by 21twelve
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To: Jukeman

Agreed! You would be surprised at how many “members” in many medium to large churches do not tithe but a mere pittence, if at all, yet use the facilities. If they want a nice church, put something into the offering plate or move on. It is a simple fact of having a church.

47 posted on 05/06/2012 6:12:57 PM PDT by SgtHooper (The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list.)
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I went to a church where the pastor lived in a huge McMansion, wore designer suits, sent his kids to the most expensive universities (and paid cash for it), but was constantly demanding the congregation give more. He took a spirit-filled church of 2500 and turned it into a spirit-dead church of a couple hundred. The new building that he was funraising for a solid year for, stands empty most of the time.

If God wants you to have that new building, he will lay it on the hearts of the people to give. There’s no need for 60 Sundays of “stewardship sermons” (read: fundraising demands.).

48 posted on 05/06/2012 7:17:34 PM PDT by Ellendra ("It's astounding how often people mistake their own stupidity for a lack of fairness." --Thunt)
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To: reflecting
so true....the baptist

Let's see now, the true Christian church was not the Catholic church, established by Christ, on the Apostles, 2,000 years ago. The true church was established in 1609 in Amsterdam, by John Smythe.....O.K., but I'll stay with Jesus' church. Just an aside many Baptists were there when America was discovered?? A/ (0)

49 posted on 05/06/2012 7:59:43 PM PDT by terycarl (lurking, but well informed)
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To: ichabod1
Wait, you mean non-temple Mormons and non-Mormons do NOT get to live with Heavenly Father and be happy with Him forever, right?

Yes...(My error in failing to include the word "not")

50 posted on 05/06/2012 8:04:05 PM PDT by Colofornian (Mom when I grow up, I want 2B like Ike. Mom when I grow up, I want 2B a god from Kolob like Mitt.)
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To: dps.inspect
Would that be the church of the inquisition?

Yes it would. The inquisttion, of course as you know, was far more a governmental situation than a church one. The church, of course, was not without fault. Think of yourself in charge. You are the only Christian church that ever existed and along come a group of dissidents who challenge your authority and the authority of the church itself.

As the ONLY protector of the religion, you might tend to react strongly against someone who is attacking Christ's church for fear that the church could be harmed. While the inquisition certainly was not, as we now know, a good thing, nevertheless the people at the time deemed it necessary and, indeed, critical.

You noticed, of course, that throughout my answer I referred to THE church....that's because there was only one....the true curch of Jesus, the Catholic church. Blame it if you wish, she was the only one there.

51 posted on 05/06/2012 8:12:30 PM PDT by terycarl (lurking, but well informed)
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To: Celtic Cross

Your Pastor sounds like my priest b-i-l, in MS.

52 posted on 05/06/2012 8:41:14 PM PDT by SuziQ
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Reminds me a little bit of Glozell’s TTBN lady:

“Do you want someone who’s telling you what the Bible is about to only have 2 rings and I don’t have a helicopter?”

53 posted on 05/06/2012 9:10:05 PM PDT by ReformationFan
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To: Future Snake Eater

Yep. Couldn’t agree more and didn’t Jesus say swomething about where your treasure is your heart is also.

54 posted on 05/07/2012 1:14:57 AM PDT by bjorn14 (Woe to those who call good evil and evil good. Isaiah 5:20)
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To: terycarl
But how misguided, the church is all body of believers, not just the Political-Liturgical-Pharisaical-Traditions of Men structure that the Catholic church has become... The church at Emphases was not "Catholic", none of the early churches presumed to be anything more than a body of believers banding together to live out their lives as Christ followers.

The Catholic church is Politics, and of the nastiest kind; it intertwines governance of population with religious belief, same thing we condemn in the Taliban and Al Queada. Rather than being a force to to propel government in the right direction, it seeks to become government, as it has historically. Were she to hold all the reigns of government, would she not forced populations to adhere not just to its religious principals but also its politics. Let the Catholic church be a force for good, but let her not govern, for surely, you'll loose your head just the same as if she were the Taliban, if you do not tow her line.

55 posted on 05/07/2012 6:32:37 AM PDT by dps.inspect (the system is rigged...)
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To: dps.inspect
The Catholic church is Politics, and of the nastiest kind; it intertwines governance of population with religious belief,

nonsense...the Catholic church was, early in history, the only game in town and of course became intertwined with politics. Stete positions were handed out by the church and church posttions by the state. Since everyone involved was both a Catholic and a Frenchman, or a Catholic and a Spaniard, it seemed logical at the time to comingle positions.After the protestant revolution, changes had to be made since there was now competition for the state positions. In modern history, no christian denomination , with the exception of the Church of England (protestant), has closely tied itself with the country's political establishment.Catholic president Kennedy did not make the U.S. subject to the demands of the Pope...

56 posted on 05/07/2012 12:14:53 PM PDT by terycarl (lurking, but well informed)
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Identify the “Pastor” and “Church”.

57 posted on 05/08/2012 8:27:31 AM PDT by US Navy Vet (Go Packers! Go Rockies! Go Boston Bruins! See, I'm "Diverse"!)
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To: PrairieLady2

You, my dear, are not only misled....but confused.

The New Testament didn’t totally negate the Old Testament; if so, it never would have been included in the Holy Bible.

It is in Malachi Chapter 3 that God, in the only such instance in the entire Bible, explicitly says “challenge Me on this one”.

You challenge Him all you want, sweetie. I’ll not cross Him one iota. If it’s that important to Him, it’s that important to me. Tithing is law, and it (or should I say, His word) hasn’t failed me yet.

58 posted on 05/10/2012 10:07:34 PM PDT by RightOnline (I am Andrew Breitbart!)
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To: PrairieLady2
I agree! The tithe is an Old Testament Jewish law an encompassed much more than a tenth of whatever earnings the people had. But, if you notice, it is NOT a part of the Ten Commandments. In this age of grace we are not under the burden of the Law but under grace. God wants us to give to support our local congregation in its outreach to the poor as well as the needs of the pastor so that he can devote his full time to the church. God loves a cheerful giver and we are not to give out of duress or fear.

What I especially like about the passage in Malachi is that God is not really "daring" the people to keep back their tithe and regret what He would do to them, but rather, to trust Him that you "can't out give God". He obviously doesn't NEED our money - he owns the cattle upon a thousand hill tops - but our money is often that which we hold most dear and letting go of it in faith that God WILL provide all our needs, is a major way that he grows our faith.

I had such a teaching lesson many years ago while in Bible college - one of many, BTW. I was working full time and also carrying a full load of classes (I paid my own way through) and was getting minimum wage ($1.50 per hour). I got paid on Thursdays and, seeing it was only Tuesday and I had $2.00 left, I was feeling the pinch of doubt. On Tuesday at chapel, the school took up a collection to help with expenses and I felt moved to give $1.00. That left me with only $1.00 and two days until payday. I ate lunch, which cost 80 cents (this was early 70's) and I had 20 cents left for bus fare to work but not back. I decided I was going to trust the Lord.

As I was walking out to the bus stop, I noticed students hovering around the mail slots - the mail had come early that day - and as I had a few extra minutes, I decided to check my mail. In the mail was a card from my Mom (no special occasion) in which she included a check for $20.00. Now, she did not know I needed that money, I didn't tell anyone and she had to have sent it almost a week before. But the Lord knew, and with that He taught me that I CAN trust Him. My faith was encouraged by this experience and I have shared it many times over the forty or so years since.

So, when God says "test me", I really do believe He wants us to learn he is trustworthy, that He does see our needs and when we give in faith with a cheerful heart, our faith grows and he is glorified. Sometimes, leaders of churches forget that the Holy Spirit is who moves hearts to give and that demanding and embarrassing their members into giving does NOT bring glory to God nor does it enrich the faith of the believers. It turns into resentment and that is NEVER how God wants it be.

59 posted on 05/10/2012 10:41:34 PM PDT by boatbums (God is ready to assume full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to Him.)
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