Our friend, Steve Lyzenga did his doctoral dissertation on releasing resources (both financial and personnel) towards completing the Great Commission. He compared how resources are used within a traditional church set up and house/simple/organic churches. I had the honor of being on his doctoral board, and so was closely involved in the whole process. His results (not large enough to be statistically significant, but giving some idea of what is going on) were very revealing.
Here’s a couple of the interesting results:
Of those surveyed, 51.6% of those involved in organic/simple church gave 11%-25% of their income to charity, and 7.5% gave greater than 25%. In other words, almost 60% of people are giving more than a tithe. (The typical American Christian gives less than 3%.)
The money spent on the internal administration of simple/organic churches is very low: 59.1% of the participant’s house/simple church spent less than 1% of their total annual proceeds on internal needs, and 15.1% spent 2%-5%. In other words, more than 70% say their simple church spends less than 5% on administration costs. (The typical institutional church spends 85% of all church activity and funds directly toward the internal operations of the congregation, such as staff salaries, building payments, utility and operating expenses.)
People in simple/organic churches are giving more, but their churches are spending less on internal needs, so more money is made available for Kingdom purposes. Their money goes towards benevolence and missions.
One of the verses that motivates Christians to mission is Matthew 24:14. Jesus tells his disciples, “And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come.” They believe that Jesus will return when every nation or people group has heard the Gospel.
The New Testament Greek word for “nations,” comes from the Greek word ethne. A “nation” or “people group” is a group of individuals who share common ethnic, linguistic, or cultural traits. It’s the largest group within which the gospel can spread without encountering barriers of understanding due to culture, language, or geography. When there is no representation of the body of Christ within that people group, they are known as “an unreached people group (UPG).”
According to the Joshua Project, of the 16,690 people groups in the world, 6,955 are still considered to be unreached, totalling approaching 3 billion people. The majority of these are in the 10/40 window.
So how are simple/organic churches doing when it comes to UPGs? Fifty percent of the participants surveyed by Steve give 5% of their total annual giving to UPGs. (Compare this to the typical annual giving of 0.07% to UPGs by the typical evangelical Christian.)
What are the best ways to use the money that is being given?
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