Could simple/organic/house churches be more strategic with their finance?

Dollar sign

There was good news about giving within simple/organic/ house churches in my last post. This came from Steve Lyzenga's doctoral thesis, which is now available on the House2Harvest website. (The House2Harvest website serves to network and assist simple churches and house churches to do strategic missions in order to finish the task of reaching all peoples with the gospel.)

Steve's research showed that those of us within simple/organic churcnes tend to give a higher proportion of our income and to spend very little on internal, administrative needs. This means there is considerably more money available for Kingdom purposes–for benevolence and missions.

Now for the potentially challenging news from the same research: Around 70% of people gave 25% or less of their giving via their simple church. Most people are giving to their own friends on the mission field or some other charity rather than via their simple church. Why is this? Does it matter?

Could we be more strategic in our giving if we corporately sought the Lord as to where he wants our giving to go?

I would be interested to hear about other people's experience.

4 replies on “Could simple/organic/house churches be more strategic with their finance?”

My own walk has led me to personal giving as the way for me. Even simple church/corporate giving, leaves things in others hands… didn’t Judas hold the purse strings??? …even possibly leading others into temptation. Being a cheerful giver is a personal experience and seeing the need that God brings into my personal life, around me, in my own sphere of influence and contact is enormous enough to absorb my finances and also gives me a chance to see that what I give is handled properly. If someone in need is not able to handle money carefully, it can be given directly to the source of getting needs met, rather than an agency or the person. Purchasing materials to help in a group project is another matter…corporate undertaking of help…as in my church is making dresses from pillowcases for children in Haiti…buying the pillowcases for the dresses I make…that is cheerfully done. I just think that if folks took care of the need in front of them, there wouldn’t be as much need for the big corporate agencies that incur so much fraud…this can also be the case in “church” giving operations. I have heard sincere Africans say don’t send us your money, it just feeds fraud and enables tyrants to redirect it to their purposes. The word strategic is not a pleasant word for me…it is indicative of everything other than the move of God through his Holy Spirit…through the simplicity of a at a time. I have experienced the corporate church scene, the strategic church goals and while I know God can make all things work together for good, I have come into a much more simple form of Christian Living of this amazing gift of life and find it ever so exhilerating in the anticipation there is in each day, in each meeting, in each contact, in each need etc. of seeing Jesus meet needs and do wonders.

TO FINANCE OR NOT TO FINANCE THE MISSION? Here is a short reply I sent to a friend recently about finances and house churches. I hope it adds to the ongoing discussion:
Hi Brother,
Thanks for the reply. No worries about taking a little while to respond. I remember your work and life schedule. I am sure you are busy. Okay, now I think I understand what you were concerned about in my article about financing apostolic leaders. And I think I agree with some of your concerns. You are right, I was not suggesting a rigid organizational and financial structure. And I was not suggesting that everyone who travels apostolically should always be financed by others out of duty and always fully. However, I do think that the Scriptures I sited at least allow for variations along a spectrum, anywhere from being self-supporting, to support by the receiving/sending house church(es) during a mission trip, to full time support when possible by a house church network on an ongoing basis. I am concerned for example, that well-known apostolic folks have to get themselves into personal debt to travel (like Wolfgang Simson) and others have to get their spouses to work while not receiving anything from the very house churches they have started (like Neil Cole). I think this indicates some immaturity and perhaps lack of vision on the part of many house churches. And this is simply shooting the whole movement in the foot. It is interesting that the two largest networks in Canada each have grown to their size, in part, because they have full time apostolic workers/planters, e.g. John Pritchard (12 groups in Calgary) and Lon Vining (7-8 groups in Montreal). The rest of us in Canada, and other places in the West, seem to be just crawling along isolated and barren because everyone is too busy with their secular work and responsibilities to devote to multiplying an entire network of house churches. I like the way some of the Indians do it. One network has about 10,000 house churches. These are led by something like 10,000 volunteer house church leaders on a local level, but there are 100 travelling apostolic leaders, i.e. master builders, who are financed fully to connect, coach, and catalyze this network. This seems like a good ratio. Anyway, just a few of my thoughts on it. Okay, stay well brother.

It would seem to me that if groups are growing “organically,” then the giving would naturally be organic. It seems each believer and group of believers would seem to find opportunities to give. I can think of dozens of missional opportunities for our group to give resources and minister to people in need. The key is taking them before God, and asking for His Spirit to guide us.

Rita, I agree with you that some charitable agencies are not wise or reliable with how they spend the money entrusted to them, and that we need to investigate before we give money to groups we are not familiar with.
By strategic, I don’t mean man’s strategy. I mean that God sometimes has a plan that cannot be covered by an individual–or even a network of house churches. For example, Paul collected money for the saints in Jerusalem in the event of impending famine. I think that was God’s strategy. And as Rad says, we are not suggesting an organization or a rigid structure. More that through relationships, God lays something on our hearts corporately that we can respond to financially.
I suspect that as a movement, we are still immature in the area of finances. Some of this is because of the abuse of the past.
Mark, I like the impression your comments give of organic, corporate giving. I think this is what we need to investigate further. In a few posts time, I plan to tell a story of this.

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