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Finances in the Church.

1. Christians must learn that the word of God teaches that giving for the support of the ch. is a Christian duty. Paul admonishes Christians to be lavish in the grace of giving and thereby prove their love to Christ and His ch., 2 Co 8:1–9. The Lord asks Christians to give financial support to their pastors, 1 Cor 9:7–14: 1 Ti 5:17–18 The Lord took His people severely to task when they were remiss in supporting His work, Hg 1:2–11; Ml 3:8–10. The poor widow and the chs. of Macedonia were praised because they gave liberally despite their poverty, Mk 12:41–44; 2 Co 8:1–5. When the tabernacle in the OT was built, the people brought “much more than enough” and had to be “restrained from bringing,” Ex 36:5–7. The Lord promises to reward Christian giving, Pr 19:17; Ml 3:10; Lk 6:38. Christian giving is an act of worship enjoined by the Lord. It is therefore proper that giving money be part of worship services. In the OT the Lord said: “They shall not appear before the Lord empty; every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord, thy God, which He hath given thee,” Dt 16:16–17. The NT says: “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come,” 1 Co 16:2.

2. Christians must be duly informed regarding needs of the ch. This should be done, e.g., by sermons, in various meetings, and in ch. schools. Mems. should also be urged to read ch. papers and other ch. literature.

3. A cong. budget is a financial estimate of moneys needed. A budget is desirable in order that needs of the ch. and proportionate amounts needed by each treasury may be known. Pledging for support of the ch. is an old custom and is not contrary to the Scriptural method of freewill offerings if the individual is free to determine whether or not to pledge, the amount of his pledge, to give more if the Lord increases his ability to give, and to give less if circumstances prevent fulfillment of his pledge.

4. The weekly envelope system is successful in many congs. It is essentially the same system that Paul suggested 1 Co 16:2. Some congs. use the single envelope system, the cong. deciding how much to use for its own needs and how much for the ch. at large. Some congs, use the duplex envelope system, one pocket used for home purposes and the other for outside purposes. The duplex system is preferred by some because it keeps needs of the ch. at large in the minds of mems. Scripture enjoins Christians to support the ch. by freewill offerings, to be given as the fruit of their faith and in accord with individual ability, Ex 35:5; 1 Ch 29:5; 1 Co 16:2; 2 Co 8:12.

5. Christians should support their ch. and not solicit contributions from people of other denominations or of the world. But if gifts are offered, they may be accepted, provided they are not ill-gotten gains. Raising money by bazaars and the like is not regarded good practice; the buyer is not giving a freewill offering, but is paying for something he gets in return. Often less money is secured in this way than when Christians are trained to bring freewill offerings out of love to Christ and His ch.

6. Tithing, giving a tenth, was commanded by God in the OT, Lv 27:30. There were several sorts of tithes: that paid to the Levites and priests (Nm 18:21–31); that paid for the Lord's feast (Dt 14:22–26); that given every 3d yr. for the poor (Dt 14:28–29). In times of religious depression the people neglected to pay tithes, Ml 3:7–9. In the NT tithing is not enjoined (Mt 23:23 and Lk 11:42 refer to past necessity); it would be contrary to Christian liberty. That does not mean that Christians should not give tithes; but if they do, it should be voluntarily.

7. A ch. extension fund provides a revolving system of financing bldg. projects. Money given to this fund by congs., through the budget, and by direct gifts, loans, or legacies, is lent to needy congs.

8. Some chs. have pension and relief, or welfare, systems to provide funds for retired workers and their widows and orphans. JHCF

See also Stewardship.

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod

Original Editions ©Copyright 1954, 1975, 2000
Concordia Publishing House
All rights reserved.

Content Reproduced with Permission

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