LOCAL CHURCH REVENUES
SERIOUS QUESTIONS TO ASK CONCERNING THE APPROPRIATION OF REVENUES FLOWING INTO LOCAL CHURCHES
There is no attempt here to condemn the actions of all local fellowship organizations,
but rather to probe objectively into the practices and bureaucratic systems in place,
to determine how biblical they are or are not.
“For ye have the poor always with you...” Matthew 26:11
- Does it seem unscriptural and unreasonable that there is little or no benevolence fund for congregants among churches in America? In most churches, there seems
to be a “give-to-us-but-we-will-never-give-to-those-in-need-among-you” attitude, policy and practice. Where is the outflow of money to those who gather together in the midst of these local fellowships which are supposed to be set up according to New Testament truth? Why is there no allocation of funds to help those in need right under the noses of the ones controlling the finances? Why does it all have to go to a pastoral staff, foreign missions, and the physical building and its furnishings? Did not the early church distribute among themselves as each had need?
- There are 5 servant-leadership office gifts listed in Ephesians 4:11 - apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor & teacher. Why is it that in the modern church system, only 1 of those 5 elder positions (pastor) is receiving the vast majority of finances from the people of God, while the other 4 are left with nothing to operate in their callings? Are these 5 ministry gifts of Jesus to His beloved body not all listed in plain daylight in Ephesians 4:11 and said to be for the building up and maturing of the saints “for the work of the ministry”? (v12) How can the body of Christ possibly be coming to maturity and accomplishing “the work of the ministry” without the fulness of all 5 of these ministry gifts being in place and in operation? And how can these men possibly function in their ministries when local church revenues are being hoarded and squandered by the pastors? Did the Holy Ghost lie to us in Ephesians 4 by telling us there were 5 office gifts Jesus gave to the Church? Is shutting out the other men who are divinely called to function as servant leaders/elders not a type of taking an evil preeminence like Diotrephes? (3 Jn. 9-11)
- Concerning the work, workers, and building up of God’s kingdom, the Bible instructs us in Ezra 6:8 - “forthwith expenses be given unto these men, that they be not hindered.” The reason all of God’s people are to give to His authentic work is “that they (His servants) be not hindered.” (Ezra 6:8) Does this not include all the servants He ordained to build up His body and win lost souls? In in most cases, all or most of the money goes to the pastors and instead of spreading it to the others who are called, they justify the building of larger houses for themselves and ever increasingly larger church buildings (programs to expand their physical assets, not the kingdom of God).
- Have we stopped to think of the fact that a million dollar home costs approximately $100,000 for property taxes? $100,000 could fund one or two families/ministries for a year.
- Has far too much power has been given into the hands of a few men among us who are not rightly stewarding God’s resources for the expansion of His kingdom? Are we empowering these moguls to continue to more deeply embellish their already abundant lifestyles? These men will give account before a holy God for greatly hindering the advance of His kingdom. Make no mistake: Millions will be in hell due to this gross and evil injustice. “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17) “But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.” Luke 12:48
- Is there true community in your fellowship, or has your gathering become a place to “make merchandise” of those who gather? Is there true Christ-centered fellowship or is it a socializing environment? Have people been trained to come, give their money, and go home?
- Hirelings build their buildings, programs, and egos and not the kingdom of God by sending forth laborers into the harvest They are zealous to go to any length to create building fund programs and gain the support of their audiences in the absence of seeking to fund the real work of the Gospel which does not include the New Testament model of advancing the Word of God in the earth through the funding of ministries and missionaries (Matt. 9:36-39).
- When peering a little deeper than the surface at what is represented so often before the people when fund-raising programs are rolled out, one may find that the focus does not align with the New Testament Gospel. So many who are at the helm of the organized church, occupying buildings, are simply misusing revenues to perpetuate their own existence and in place of the advancement of the kingdom of Christ - the One they claim to represent.
Acts 2:40-47 “And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”
- Does it seem a bit funny that all money is to flow to the local establishment which is controlled by a handful of men?
- Have modern church houses been hi-jacked by a band of deceivers with supposed credentials and qualifications? Have you compared your local fellowship with the New Testament model?
- Let’s face it, why are we surprised at the way God’s money is or is not being distributed in the modern church arena when the LORD Himself told us that most of those in leadership were “blind”, which means they cannot see from the LORD’s perspective. “His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way (self-serving), every one for his gain (personal gain), from his quarter (their own little deal is all that matters). Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and to morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant.” (Isaiah 56:10-12) Has much changed since the prophet Isaiah’s day? It is obvious that the overwhelming majority of those who hold positions of leadership in the modern church do not possess a kingdom revelation and mindset - the mindset of Jesus and His apostles and the early Church. The “apostles doctrine” consists of the spread and establishment of the kingdom of God (glorifying Christ alone and not men), and not being entrenched in some little self-serving building program, which is to continue to deepen roots in this fleeting world (Acts 2:41-47; 8:4). With the overwhelming majority of leaders today, it seems to be more about further embellishing temporal buildings that are already overdone, than it does about being about the Father’s business by feeding His sheep and seeking to save the lost (Lk. 2:49; 19:10; 1 Pet. 5:2). Is it time that the remnant begin to support true and uncompromising remnant works and cease to build the sinful dreams and empires of false prophets?
Acts 4:29-35 “And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus. And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.”
Did you see the sequence here? Notice the power of God where there is the exalting of Jesus Christ as first love and genuine unity based upon divine truth and charity. These early believers showed their love by sharing with fellow believers. Note: This writer does not believe it is a sin to be rich, but it is a sin to be rich and not be charitable and hell awaits all who live in this sinful state (Mk. 10:25; Lk. 16:19-31; 1 Tim. 6:17-19). Everyone has something to share, especially in the western world.
- Why are people taught that the tithe must be given on Sunday morning in a certain building and to a certain “official” organization? Is biblical New Testament ministry transpiring in that gathering? Or the programs and psychologies of mere men? Are they excited about God’s 66 Book Bible or some program of men or fad book full of heresy?
- Why is there not the liberty to do more liberal distribution to a wider spectrum of believers and genuine NT ministries – truly fruitful works? After all, the revenues flowing into modern church houses does not seem to be getting to the end user in need. Jesus told us there will always be needs, which means there will always be blessed opportunities for Christians to be a blessing by giving.
- If God’s people are not allocating the funds using His holy Word as a guide, is there something greatly amiss? If so, what?
- Why are nearly all the funds received in offerings spent on those few men and their building projects? Not that a few men or a man couldn’t deal uprightly with the funds, yet it is questionable that they are operating uprightly if in fact there is no charitable giving among the people they are supposedly serving. This may be due to the pastor or staff spending it all upon themselves and physical buildings. Is the LORD glorified in this? Note: Authentic men of God are to be fully taken care of financially, so they can do the work of the ministry with no hindrances (Ezra 6:8; 1 Tim. 5:17-18).
- Are there finances allocated to local evangelism? Where is the Gospel tract rack in your local fellowship’s meeting place? Any church organization without Gospel tracts on hand selfishly defies the LORD and His Great Commission command to win lost souls for whom He bled on the cross - unless they aggressively promote evangelism in other ways.. By refusing to reach out to lost souls, the leadership proves that they are in the ministry for themselves and not Christ.
- Why does such a large percentage of the revenue go to pay for physical buildings when some among “the building of God” – His people – have unmet financial needs? (1 Cor. 3:9; 1 Pet. 2:5) Why is so much of the money given in local church gatherings absorbed into bureaucracy and buildings when God made it clear that His people are a “spiritual house”? (1 Pet. 2:5)
- Where is the accountability of those in leadership?
- Perhaps adjustment, based on a fresh understanding of the full-counsel of God, should be made in the allocation of incoming funds. May this writer humbly suggest 10-15% or so being placed in a separate charity fund to be distributed joyfully to those in need among that particular body of believers. Also, like the Good Samaritan, those in need should never be wrongly questioned and interrogated before receiving financial help, but rather, freely blessed. Perhaps in following divine principle, those who are counted least among us should be set in place to determine the appropriation of funds (1 Cor. 6:4).
- Most pastors are building physical buildings and this is the extent of their productivity. Many of these men seem to misunderstand the elementary purposes of God and that Christ didn’t come to earth to die so they could have their little church profession that feeds monetary gain into their coffers and builds a name for themselves. They seem to see their position as one of opportunity to elevate self through their ministry career and in the process are neglecting those they are there to serve.
- Why don’t those in leadership share their revenues with other ministries in their midst that are not pastoral, yet just as divinely called, valid, and needed as the ministry of the pastor?
- Is the established bureaucracy in your local fellowship denying access of other of Christ’s children who labor in the Word and prayer? Remember Diotrephes in 3 John?
- Does the way the modern church is set up resemble the early Church found in Scripture? Or, does it rather resemble the evil system set up when the church went into gross apostasy in the middle ages, where there was a monarch and central building headquarters and controlled by one or a few?
- Are members of the local body of Christ being denied?
- The good Samaritan didn’t question, he just served.
- The Scripture tells us that If a man doesn’t work he doesn’t eat, so there are biblical parameters to be honored.
- Are some being placed on a guilt trip or shamed due to not having much to give?
- Giving large amounts to missions and other churches is really noble, but is it good to do this while neglecting those right in our midst?
- How can we possibly be boasting about how much money we are or have given to overseas missions, when there are those who sit under the noses of leadership every Sunday morning who live in quiet desperation and destitution (severe lack), and go totally unnoticed? Absurd hypocrisy!
- Should Gospel workers suffer be suffering lack with all the revenues handled by the so-called Christian churches (billions annually)?
- Does a divinely called and prepared man need a pile of bricks and wood (building) to make his ministry legitimate? Does he need to operate on foreign soil to become eligible for receiving God’s money to sustain his life and further his Gospel ministry calling?
- There is no record in the New Testament canon of Scripture of the early Church owning any building. They didn’t because they were mobile and advancing the kingdom and not becoming entrenched in this sinful world while building their own little kingdoms, which is what pastors today are doing. Read closely Isaiah 56:10-12 and see the self-serving nature of false shepherds exposed.
- Beloved, if you still have the mindset that most leaders claiming to represent Christ are true, you are not yet thinking biblically. Though sad, it is no less true. In the complete absence of any Scripture hinting that there are many true prophets and the words of Jesus and John His apostle who stated "MANY false prophets are gone out into the world." (Matt. 24:11; 1 Jn. 4:1)
- Do American pastors feel a sense of accomplishment because they send money overseas to support mission work while they neglect the ministries the LORD has placed under their noses? And then gloat over such? Have we not “denied the faith” and become “worse than an infidel” when we have not provided for “our own?” (1 Tim. 5:8)
- “Jezebel cut off the prophets of the LORD.” (1 Kings 18:4) Through his ministers that held high positions within the kingdom of God, the devil “cut off” the supply of finances to those prophets who remained in the truth, refusing to compromise with the system and majority. God-fearing Obadiah secretly supplied these servants of Christ with food and water to sustain their lives. Is there any new thing under the sun? No. In our day, when those few who refuse to compromise are being cut off from financial supply by those who have a stranglehold on the control of 99% of the finances flowing in the church world, we, the remnant, have been called out to be like Obadiah and supply those who remain true to the LORD in serving His people. See 1 Kings 18.
AUDIO Message “Beware of Covetousness”
Beloved, we must immediately stop the madness of funding unfruitful ministries! The financial flow in the modern industry of church business is not pretty nor is it fulfilling the Great Commission our LORD gave us to teach ALL things HE commanded. His eternal kingdom is not being advanced in the hearts of men and in the earth through church services that are designed to entertain and further lull to sleep those already at ease in Zion (Amos 6:1). Yet nothing is going to change until the true remnant of the LORD ceases to fund false ministries (unfruitful according to New Testament standards) and begins to financially fund the true Gospel through full-counsel, God-fearing servants who labor for the glory of Jesus Christ alone - whereever they find themselves and not just behind a pulpit or in a church building. Friend of Jesus, cause every dollar you give to make an eternal difference in the hearts of men. Jesus is Coming!
Financial Stewardship Grid/Vision for a Local Fellowship
Remembering God’s Priorities System
- People - His people first, then the world - Gal. 6:10; John 17:9; Matt. 25:40,45
- Geographically – Acts 1:8 – Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, then the utter most parts of the earth.
- Divine Principle & Directive: Take good care of those men who do the most important work on earth - they worship and serve Him full-time and watch for the souls of His beloved people in prayer, the Word, rebuke, maturing and fruitfulness (Acts 6:1-7; 2 Tim. 3:15-4:5; Eph. 4:11-12). All suffer when they are shorted - Deut. 12:19; 1 Tim. 5:17-18; 1 Cor. 9.
One might say that this seems pragmatic, but is it not biblical? Need we pray and be “led of the Spirit” to the point that we do not acknowledge what the Holy Spirit of God has already given us in His Word? See 2 Peter 1:20-21 and 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Deuteronomy 29:29; 1 Corinthians 2:12-13.
Below is a possible revenue flow model to begin a local fellowship – to honor God according to HIS Word - seeking to follow the wisdom of His kingdom priorities.
The pie is 100% - percentages can be adjusted, this is a possible model, attempting to align with the divine plan. The attempt is to exercise kingdom priorities as revealed and recorded in the Holy Scriptures. As we saw above, it seems that many local churches do not exercise biblical priorities when stewarding the revenues coming into their local body of believers. The LORD reveals His priorities to us in His Word and we should diligently adhere to His wisdom.
- Local evangelism – 15% (to support several diligent witnesses and a Gospel tract ministry, etc.)
- Benevolence for local believers – 10% (hardship needs for God’s people, etc. – Matt. 25:40,45)
- The Poor (support genuine local ministries who do this type serving) – 10%
- Other authentic ministries in America – 5% (possibly rotate monthly to various genuine ministry works)
- Foreign Missions – 5%
- Administrative – 5% - administrative servant, printing costs, postage, etc.
- Future Physical facility fund – 10%
- Head elder (Acts 6:4) - 15% (tent make until amount becomes livable – or whenever he feels he needs to be full-time if he does – Acts 6:4; 1 Tim. 5:17-18; 1 Cor. 9)
- 1 (to begin with) other mature preaching elder (1 Tim. 5:17-18; 1 Cor. 9) – 10% (tent make until amount becomes livable – or whenever he feels he needs to be full-time if he does)
- Auxiliary fund 15% – to be prayerfully decided upon by elders as they seek the LORD – possibly to be used when another preaching elder(s) is set forth by the Spirit (1 Tim. 5:17)
In local gatherings already established, I think it wise to reconstruct current revenue flow to align with the LORD’s priorities. For those who may be being led to begin a new fellowship for saints, this could be a real good way to lay the foundational grid up front.
Jesus Is Coming to take account of every penny of our stewardship. See Matthew 25; Luke 12,16.
Wise Kingdom Givers
The LORD is calling for the launching and financial support of ministers and ministries for the advancement of His kingdom. He is not pleased with the waste of money on temporal physical buildings, CEO salaries, unbiblical church programs, and the myriad of irresponsible spending and waste that goes on in the modern visible church. As a member of the body of Christ, we should understand and see that God’s kingdom is a “spiritual house” and not a physical building (1 Pet. 2:5). To His own, Jesus said that the LORD’s kingdom is “within you.” (Lk. 17:21) There are numerous other unnecessary expenditures that are the result of the physical buildings - light bills, electric bills, janitors, supplies, repair, upkeep, remodeling, etc. ….. To a large degree, it seems that the vast majority of the financial love offerings of God’s people are absorbed into a building and a bureaucracy. Also, the people – who make up the real church – are being pigeon holed into a central meeting place without launching and mobilizing them for ministry, which is the divine mandate placed upon leaders - to mature all Christians they oversee to do ministry (Eph. 4:11-12).
Going a Little Deeper
“The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” Luke 17:20-21
The Greek word that “observation” comes from here is parateresis which means inspection, ocular evidence. God’s kingdom is within the saint in the earth and so His children do not need to look with their physical eyes for it to come. King-dom = domain of Jesus the King. Whereever He reigns, His kingdom has come.
I believe the LORD is calling His people to defund the hirelings who have built their little church building nest and are absorbing billions of dollars of the money of God’s people for their own selfish gain. Regrettably, so many people do not peer into the Word and look beyond their own immediate comfort to see what is really going on.
Most of our minds have been well trained by enterprising pastors to bring money to their church building on Sunday mornings. This allows a nice comfortable place for us to be entertained for an hour weekly….. All local churches that meet in a separate building are not operating this way, yet it seems the majority are in this hour of apostasy.
Kingdom Proposal - at any time (don’t wait till Sunday or when you are inside a physical building), write a check or carry cash to a true servant of Christ so their lives and families can be sustained to do the most important work on the earth – the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the hearts of men. The time is short beloved. Pray daily for the true servants of Christ around you to be able to be full-time in the care of souls, fastings and pray and the ministry of the Word.
I remember when I owned my own company - a Christian business directory here in the Dallas area. Checks of varying amounts would come in to the business. Having been blessed to understand “firstfruit” principle or truth, I would call one of my friends who did ministry and would ask them to meet me somewhere in the vicinity in which we lived. I would then give them a portion of the amount of money that had come in to the company that day. Would you mind if I shared a personal testimony? – Knowing God’s plan for His kingdom furtherance and economy, it felt good inside to immediately or expediently release those funds into the hands of men who were laboring in caring for the body of Christ and to win souls.
Unfortunately, the hoards of hirelings have made their church buildings the “official’ place to give. God doesn’t limit our giving to a certain building - He says to give the offerings where the Word/meat is being brought forth (Mal. 3:8-11; Gal. 6:6).
Instead of focusing on furnishing the hearts of men with the Word and character of Jesus, the hireling further furnishes and embellishes his own church palace.
Always keep in mind that we must live by God’s Word and see things the way He sees them. His kingdom is not limited to any man’s church building. Jesus Christ made all things for His own pleasure (Col. 1:15-17; Rev. 4:11). To the true servant of Christ, the whole world is his pulpit and mission field – he doesn’t hypocritally wait till he is conducting a church service/program to serve others and communicate the Gospel. In contrast, the hireling has his staged profession with no passion for lost souls or to perpetually declare God’s Word to all, everywhere he happens to be.
“Go ye into all the world...” (Mk. 16:15) The spread of God’s kingdom in the hearts of men is the worthy cause which true believers are to support and also to cease funding all who are not doing such in their daily lives. Anyone can stage a ministry - true disciples live to serve and minister. For example, most leaders today do not do personal evangelism, nor do they care about those they speak to on Sunday mornings -and yet they have the luxury of passing a basket (taking up offerings weekly). When do we see those who are supposed to “watch for your souls” calling their sheep on the phone for a moment to ask how one is doing and asking to lift up a prayer or share a Scripture to encourage? (Heb. 13:17; 1 Pet. 5:1-6) Of the false shepherds cited in Jeremiah 23, the LORD says they “have not visited them.” (Jer. 23:2) In other words, their shepherds, like many today, were too busy playing golf or sporting around to care for them. Such a person is not “given to hospitality, apt (capable, ready) to teach.” (1 Tim. 3:2)
“For the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought the LORD: therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered.” Jeremiah 10:21
As we partake in His true Gospel program, will our Father in Heaven not reward each the giver and the goer for eternity? Let’s fund the true Gospel saints and those who genuinely live and spread it! Jesus told us: “And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.” (John 4:36)
AUDIO Message “Beware of Covetousness”
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