The LADA Group New Alternative CHURCH ECONOMIC System.
Fragmentation and poverty within our economic systems is unparalleled. It’s clear that we need new solutions and better systems. And the good news is, we have an opportunity to create economic systems that will sustain our world. The church is already a conduit in market systems – owning properties, receiving and distributing philanthropy, stewarding investment assets. Over time, the church has been at the center of building international development, micro finance, and healthcare systems. But now, we are not only asked to be sound economic beings, but financial change-agents as well. But how do we do this? How do we transform our economic relationships in order to reflect our belief that this is God’s world, and therefore, God’s economy?
Church Economics 101
A church is not a building or a set of programs or a piece of paper. According to the New Testament, a church is an “assembly” of believers in Jesus Christ. Without an assembly, there is no church. Thus, a church must always be concerned with attendance and membership.
A viable church must also be concerned with money. In the New Testament era, churches assumed the responsibility of providing for their own pastors, supporting missionaries, and caring for widows and orphans. All this required money, just as it takes money now for a church to operate. Today, those operating expenses involve not just missionaries and staff salaries, but also insurance, maintenance, outreach, electricity, etc. Accordingly, a church must be concerned with finance, as uncomfortable as it may be for a pastor to address it or for people to hear it.
How should a church address financial issues? Here are three basic principles:
King Solomon wrote that a “wise man will hear and will increase learning” (Proverbs 1:5) and that “where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” (Proverbs 11:14).
Many Christians accept that churches need money, but they resist any kind of systematic or “business” approach to money, feeling that it’s denying the spiritual aspect of church life. These folks would rather just pray or fast and trust God to take care of it. No budgets, spreadsheets, or spending plans needed.
Wisdom involves planning. It involves thinking through one’s priorities and goals, and determining the best course of action to achieve those priorities and goals. The bottom line is that churches are organizations. Like any other organization, a church needs people, money, and (yes) planning to operate.
“Churches are businesses as well as ministries. The success of your ministry is dependent in part on the way you manage money.
When Nehemiah rebuilt the walls around Jerusalem, he didn’t just pray the walls up. He planned, organized, and presided over a massive and systematic building effort. Nehemiah would consider many church members’ attitudes toward money today to be naive and unrealistic, and in some cases, downright ludicrous.
A local church then must clearly identify its vision, plans, and priorities — and allocate its resources accordingly. A wise church will then prayerfully consider what can be done to minimize wasteful spending as well as expand its means to accomplish more of its goals.
Pastors and church leaders are often reluctant to address finances, because the people don’t want to hear it. In many cases, people want or expect a “spiritual free ride” — they want the benefits of God and church, and don’t want to pay for it. And they get rather upset when asked to do so.
Yet as unpleasant as the subject may be, it must be addressed. A church without money is a church in serious trouble.
Most importantly, the Bible spends a great deal of time addressing the subject of money, and pastors are commanded to teach “the whole counsel of God.” Congregations need to be taught scriptural principles regarding money, and that includes tithing and giving offerings to one’s local assembly.
In the first century, churches met primarily in homes. Without buildings to contend with, churches allocated most of their money toward taking care of widows, orphans, pastors, and missionaries. The early Jerusalem Christians were so committed to these priorities that many of them liquidated their goods and possessions – and gave the money to “those who had need” (Acts 2:45).
Not many churches today are encouraging anything close to this level of commitment. In fact, even those churches who encourage a ten percent tithe (which is obviously well shy of the 100% example in the second chapter of Acts and yet in keeping with the clear tradition of the Old Testament) are not seeing anywhere near the kind of commitment indicated in the book of Acts.
Christians today, like just about every other demographic in society, are increasingly self-absorbed and less committed to church. When they do think of church, it’s more along the lines of what the church can do for them, as opposed to the other way around.
This lack of commitment on the part of individual Christians is leaving many church pews empty and church accounts drained. This is the surest obstacle that most churches have in achieving financial health.
Pastors and church leaders who prayerfully and thoroughly cultivate a culture of wisdom, courage, and commitment in their congregations will see greater results in their church finances. For more Biblical Business information go to: http://biblicalbusinesswisdom.com