How should we give financially within the simple/organic/house church?

Stacked money
There are a number of reasons (see the last post) why people within simple church may not give via their simple church network.  Some of these reasons are good, for example, they sense God wants them to give to a certain person who their simple church doesn't support financially. Others are not so good: finance is too hot a topic for our simple church to handle.

Does the Bible have any criteria as to how (not so much our attitude, more the mechanism) we are to give?

  • Matthew 6:3-4  But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.
  • Luke 19:8 Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!”
  • Acts 2: 44-45  And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had.  They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. 
  • Acts 4:34-35  There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them  and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need.
  • Acts 20:34-36 You know that these hands of mine have worked to supply my own needs and even the needs of those who were with me. And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’
  • In 2 Corinthians 8 and 9, Paul urges the Corinthians to make sure their gift for the church in Jerusalem is ready when he comes to collect it to take the saints there.

I've chosen verses some verses that imply that giving is directly to the person in need, and others that imply that giving is via the apostles. 

It seems that there are two basic approaches, both dependent on the fact that we have totally surrendered our finances to the Lordship of Christ. And it may be more of a both/and rather than an either/or.

  • Each person seeks the Lord as to where they should give. Can we trust the Holy Spirit to lead us all in such a way that the needs of both benevolence and those in traveling ministry are met?
  • Our simple churches, or networks of simple churches, seek God for financial vision. Are there projects He wants us to support? Orphans in other countries we can provide for?  Could we release more people into missions? Can we have a transformative impact on our cities?

More on finances to follow…

 

3 thoughts on “How should we give financially within the simple/organic/house church?”

  1. Felicity,
    I’m enjoying this series. Do you think it’s important that even when the believers gave “to the apostles” that they knew the money was going directly to people in need and was not being kept by or used by the apostles themselves? Plus, the money wasn’t given by people, and then later others decided how it could best be used.
    -Alan

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  2. Good point Alan…I’ve been studying, reading and praying over what exactly God does desire from our use money to bless/serve others…..and the process He desires. I’m not currently sold out to giving to a corporate entity, only to watch the purses get bigger, while those in my community are starving, hurting and homeless. The mechanics of most churches plans to help others are limited, obstructive, directionless and ineffective.
    Felicity, do you think it’s essential to supply all through a church body, or are we free in Christ to meet other’s needs without the complexity of the corporate machine?

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  3. Alan and Tom, sorry to have been so long in replying to your comments. We had a dozen people staying with us for 4 days, and my correspondence has suffered accordingly.
    These are great points that you both make. Opinions on this subject vary hugely from some like Wolfgang Simson who believe that all money for many different purposes should be laid at the apostle’s feet, and many more others who think, like you say, Tom, that we are free to give to other’s needs without going via the church.
    I think that apostles may often know where the money can be most strategically given when it comes to helping the poor, because they tend to have a wider view of what is out there, but there are other areas where I would prefer people with business experience as well as a spiritual calling to have responsibility–for example, micro-loans or any kind of business. This may be because I am married to an entrepreneurial businessman who is sold out for the Kingdom. We often have people come to us with crazy business ideas that they believe are from God that are somehow going to be used to support them in apostolic work but which haven’t a hope from a business sense. We try to let them down gently, but sometimes they don’t take our advice and go ahead anyway. Christian business failures are everywhere. Just because a person is a Christian doesn’t mean their business will automatically succeed. You need good business sense–or at least, hire people with business experience–as well as an idea from the Lord
    Alan, I personally do think it’s important that people knew that the money was not being kept by the apostles but moving through their hands to those in need. You cite the example from Acts 4, and the collection for the famine in Jerusalem is similar.
    I don’t want to imply by this that there isn’t a place for apostles to receive support. I think it’s quite clear that some of them did, and one of the areas where I’m hoping to take this series of posts is to make people think more about the fact that if we work together, we could actually release more traveling apostolic workers.
    There is obviously a huge diversity of opinion on these topics!

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