People have strong opinions about money. As a matter of fact, I believe that many people actually love money. But when money and faith or money and the church combine in discussion, I have found over the years that people get nervous, angry, or opinionated.
Personally, I have have intentionally worked to make sure that ReCAST is not a church that has even a whiff of grubbing for money. We certainly need offerings in order to continue the ministry and mission. But there is a fine line between making that need known and appearing as though money is the focus.
When I first moved to Mattawan 10 years ago with the plan to plant a church, I spent a lot of time in the coffee shop. And several conversations there informed the way that I think about the relationship between a church and money. In our little community a local pastor had made off with a lot of money a few years before I moved here. And I heard a lot of reasonable frustration that, “the church is just after people’s money!”
This guided the formation of ReCAST to the place where we do not pass an offering plate, but instead, we just leave a box (which is now a slot in our “welcome table”) where people can give if they would like to support the work of God in this local church.
Over the years it has been amazing to witness the way that God has regularly provided for ReCAST through the generous gifts of the individuals and families that make up ReCAST Church! He has been faithful as we have attempted to strike a balance between letting people know how they can give and not being pushy. My hunch over the years is that our error has been more on the side of not addressing money.
There is no question that Scripture indicates that God is pleased with the generous heart of His children. And while I have been very pleased to see the faithful and sufficient provision of His people over the years, I am not sure that I have done a great job explaining why we give, or even motivating from a spiritual understanding of cheerful giving.
I am not afraid of money, but I am concerned that the gospel would be/ could be tainted by the wrong approach to church finances. My solution has been to say, ‘there’s a slot out in the lobby where you can give if you’d like to.’ That has worked out fine. But my hope is that any and all giving at ReCAST IS perceived as a spiritual act of worship to God and not merely a duty or even worse yet some kind of penance for a rough week.
This Saturday the elder board will sit down to walk through the annual budget of ReCAST Church for our next fiscal year that runs from July to June. We have been blessed by leadership that seeks to run a tight and efficient ship. I’m personally a penny pincher who would rather underspend the budget, and put extra payments down on our building loan. And the other elders are also of the same mindset.
I have honestly been blown away by the financial health of ReCAST down through the years! I know that many churches and especially church plants struggle with finances. But as we sit down in a couple of days to work through the finances, there are needs that we trust by faith will be met, by the spiritual worship of God through generosity. There is a call to the church to share in the support the ministry of the local church. And at ReCAST I have every reason to trust that this next year will be as encouraging as the last!