The True Threat to the World’s Churches
by Josh Tolley
The filed bankruptcy of the Chrystal Cathedral in California should act as a confirmation of the fear that churches around the globe have been suspecting. That suspected fear is that the Body is going broke.
Without getting into a long diatribe about generational economics and how the acceptance of middle class standards has lowered wealth, let me just state simply; a church with no money cannot reach a world that operates on it. The worst thing that a reader of this article could do is dismiss it by saying “we don’t need money”, or “the love of money is the root of all evil.” First, I am not talking about loving money. Second, need I remind you that the Bible teaches more about money than it does Heaven? Need I remind you that the area of money is the one area in which God tells you to test him? Need I remind you that every week your church asks for…money? The truth of the matter is that it has been the Church’s history of ignoring this subject that has crippled the Church’s ability to impact the culture at a rapidly declining rate over the past 80 years.
One of what I have classified as “the four pillars of church growth” is financial instruction. No church should have the audacity to ask for money if they do not also teach how to Biblically make that money. The first step in teaching this pillar has to be a return to logic and the Word regarding our view of money. Today there are basically two camps when it comes to money and spiritual life. One side views the pursuit of wealth is bad, the other holds to the “prosperity Gospel”. So ignorant is the Body that this very article will be classified as prosperity Gospel by one side and claimed as their own by the other; both sides are wrong!
The Bible teaches us to not only give in the form of tithes and offerings, but to also provide financially for ourselves, our children, and our children’s children. Newsflash, that is wealthy! The Bible also teaches us that the person providing the funds for the spreading of the Gospel receives an equal reward from God as the one doing the preaching. Newsflash, that is rewarding wealth (and one’s control over it)!
Since that is what the Bible teaches, then we would be right to suspect that the Church’s treasuries would be pressed down and overflowing with funds. Instead, what do we see? We see churches that have mortgages, churches in debt, churches facing financial hard times, bankruptcy among the members, and tithing at shocking lows with no end in sight. Matter of fact, we have even begun using God as a justifiable excuse to our failure by saying “If it is God’s will, He will provide” or regarding financial hard times, “The rain falls on the just and the unjust alike.” Verily Verily I say unto you, DO NOT BLAME GOD FOR YOUR FAILURE WHEN HE HAS CLEARLY OUTLINED HIS TEACHING ON WEALTH AND HOW TO CREATE IT! I cannot imagine the wrath that would fall upon those who either do not teach on financial issues or blame God for their lack! Need I remind you that the Bible calls poverty a curse? A Curse! Our lack of teaching on the subject (or teaching the wrong things) means that we could be placing our people under a curse.
This may come as a shock, but gone are the days when churches can soundly teach from the example of the lady who put her last few coins in the temple’s coffers. The reason this treasure is no longer available to most churches is that most churches teach debt, teach employment, and teach servitude to others instead of Christ for money. The woman in the example may have been poor, but she was not in debt, for if she were she would have been in debtor’s jail. How many of our members today are in debt? We also know she made the decision to give those coins. If your church teaches employment as the answer to life’s calling, it is teaching a system that takes away the ability to choose and control those funds.
The world needs the Church, the Bible tells us the Church needs money to help the lost, and instead of realizing that the desire to control money is not evil nor should it be our hearts desire, we instead either ignore the subject all together or we teach false teaching. Can we expect God to bless our churches and our ability to have an impact when we are in sin? Of course not!
Let me be blunt for a moment. Your church may have a great sermon on Sunday, but odds are the families in the building will be arguing about money on the way home and become divided due to financial issues. It is not because of their lack of faith, but rather from their pastor dropping the ball. The lack of money (or control over it) is the leading cause for divorce, teen drug use, suicide, and even illness. When a church ignores the money issue, it is allowing money to have control over the people (lordship) instead of teaching the people how to have control over it. When people control the money, then the money serves the one that they serve!
How bad is this situation really? Well, on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or whatever day you go to church have a look around you. 9 out of 10 people cannot write a check for an extra $600. The majority will not even be able to provide for themselves in their later years. There are people who no longer go to church because they do not have money to put in the plate, not even a few coins, because they are in debt, which means they have LESS THAN ZERO! On a personal note, I remember visiting a church and as the featured guest I was sitting right near the pastor’s place for prayer when a prayer offer is given. About a dozen people came forward for prayer, out of those twelve people, eleven of those prayer requests could have been answered with less than $40,000…COMBINED.
So, what are churches to do? Sadly, there has been no real instruction in the arena for generations. Yes, there are a few well known, nationally recognized names out there who teach on “leadership” and “getting out of debt” but all these things fall short of actual solid, sound teaching. Think about this, while no debt is a must, in reality all that really means is that you are back to zero. We need instruction that goes beyond zero!
That is why I am proud to announce that my next book, Evangelpreneur, will be made available to everyone soon. It empowers people, churches, and church leaders with not only the correct perspective regarding money, family, priorities, employment, etc, but also real tools and systems so anyone can make the changes needed to implement these teachings.
In conjunction, we will be touring the nation and working with great churches to conduct speeches and seminars from coast to coast in order to inject the rewards of these teachings exactly where it is needed most!
Josh Tolley is a business and behavioral strategist. His latest book, “Quit Your Job or Die: Discover the Importance of Self-Employment” has been a top ten best seller for over 12 weeks. His teachings have been implemented by hundreds of people and dozens of businesses around the globe. He is ranked as one of the top 100 business and personal growth trainers in the world and the developer of many human interaction technologies. To book Josh for a seminar in your area contact Mike with The Annex Group at 626-893-4917 or firstname.lastname@example.org