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…

 

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.