7 Jun 2016

Giving To Go To ‘The Next Level’, Building Magnificent Church Buildings, And Other Stories

On social media recently, I have seen a couple of funny stories of people misinterpreting biblical giving.

The first is this laughable picture from a Nigerian church trying to raise money to build a new church building...from poor church members in a poor country!!!


That magnificent church building of yours is an economic waste

Recently, a friend and I walked passed this gigantic church building-warehouse on a street and I lamented to him- “This is an economic waste of a building!” I said to him that in a pathetic situation where businesses are folding up, and the only organisations able to buy up warehouses are ‘charity organisations’/churches, then our (national) economy has moved into the church, yet they do not pay taxes! The buildings springing up everywhere are economic wastes, wise Christian (leaders) do not waste time and money on physical buildings!

An ultramodern Church building in Lagos, Nigeria
 A zealous ‘Christian’ passerby who heard me disagreed vehemently with me. He said that if the members are willing to contribute their money towards a beautiful church building what is my own?! Moreover he continued, these churches are helping the economy by employing some of their members, even if they do not pay taxes as charity organisations. He also noted that they do a lot of charity deeds even though it looks like a tiny drop in the ocean, but we can’t expect the church to become the govt.

However, the guy misses the whole point of charity/religious bodies.

No society progresses without the input of the religious organisations. They are the moral compass. Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach.

However, when businesses in a country begin to close down- people are losing their means of livelihood- yet, charity organisations are becoming stupendously rich.... When the government of the country is not financially accountable and responsive, and the church/religious organisations look away, it is just a matter of time before that society/country (morally and economically) collapse and eventually everything crumbles...together with the religious organisations!

[And Nigeria’s economy is said to be in a recession...another word for ECONOMIC COLLAPSE! Unfortunately, this collapse does not seem to have a long-term solution being worked out by the stakeholders. And the rich charity organisations are continuing business as usual.]

Back to the sacrificial form picture above-: Funding a new church building project

So the parent church of the branch which owned that picture above denounced the “money-making gimmicks” by releasing this rejoinder.

But there is still a problem here. Let me explain better. Note this line:

“...Has acted without approval. Whilst we decry his approach, we will like to state that giving is a God-ordained principle and that we teach and encourage in RCCG..."

In other words, He has not done anything wrong, really...he was not just smart by allowing it come unto social media without our approval. Do please "continue GIVING anything, anyhow"!!
You just said you DECRY something! So, what exactly is 'BIBLICAL GIVING...to a project'?!!!

At best, all I can say is that they are simply ignorant of the bible/Biblical giving. At worst, they are (biblical) charlatans swindling people of their material possessions! (Phil 3:18-19)

Project management 101 and accountability
You do not embark on a project, whether in business or charity, without a budget. And you do not just continue to raise money without accountability or resort to the budget, else you will make a fool of yourself, and risk being called a criminal/fraudster. (I am saying this from personal experience.)

You must show how much you need, and what plans exactly you have to raising the needed amount- how your audience/investors come into the picture. Then of course, how much you raised (so far) and how it was spent.

More so, you do not plan to build a new building beyond your means. The Bible expressly states in Luke 14:28-29 that no one starts a building project without first counting the cost to know if he can complete it lest he becomes a laughing stock.

If God commands a vision, he will make provision too! And he will expressly state to you how HE WILL DO IT- not your own wisdom/gimmicks.

[Have you read Tough Time Never Last But Tough People Do! by the late Robert Schuller?
In the book, he talks about a principle for raising funds for a massive project- Count To Ten and Win! It is ok to divide the money for a project, say N10 million, into 10 and get exactly ten people to fund it with N1 million each, or get just 20 people to contribute N500,000 each, etc...and that HUMAN strategy is good enough. And even Schuller's ministry had to sell the $20million Crystal cathedral in 2012 after they declared bankruptcy in 2010.]

Late Robert Schuller pictured in his Crystal Cathedral before it went bankrupt

Moreover, you can STOP people from GIVING!
Yes, and it is totally biblical!
In Exo. 36:1-7 Moses had to tell the people to stop bringing more materials for the Temple building because they had more than enough already. Not today anymore. Our men of God seem to always want more – they are continuously raising money for God. These days, the mantra is GIVE, GIVE, till you are dead (broke and have no more to give). It should not be!

In the example above, if you have 10 people who have each given N1 million cash, you have a right to stop people from bringing more, and it is totally biblical.

Christians in poor countries mistake their church-going for spirituality
The fact that you go to church as a Nigerian Christian more than a Christian in USA who is more comfortable economically does not make you more spiritual!

I may be wrong, but many developing country Christians are actually materialistic (mammon worshipers) and shallow in bible knowledge- THEY DO NOT READ OR KNOW THEIR BIBLE AT ALL!

It is unfortunate that you can be poor (financially in this world, not in 'poor in spirit'- Matt 5:3) and yet still miss heaven. And some Christians even think/believe that it is ok for people to be poor as long as they keep coming to church. They miss the whole point of ‘fellowshipping together’.

Your ‘Dangerous Seed and sowing’ messages are not welcome everywhere
My final story is that of a ‘prosperity preacher’ used to preaching messages such as financial prosperity, possess your possessions, promotion to the next level,“24-hour miracle”,  and so on.
He was invited to minister in a church in a simple town in the USA. Unknown to him, the members of the community were contented people who lived modestly. The pastor was preaching his usual “sow dangerously; Sow dangerous seeds” message but noticed that the audience was cold and unresponsive. Later, the host pastor pulled him aside to say that he forgot to tell him that his church members are not the materialistic, ‘hungry type’. They are spirit-led Christians, content with their levels and are not looking to ‘move to the next level’, or to ‘breakthrough powerfully’, etc. He was embarrassed. Lol

Give for the sake of giving
I wrote an article on 
the Maimonides ladder of giving. Please read it if you have not. There are higher ways to/in giving.

We should learn to give simply for the sake of giving- not to get back a 24-hour miracle, or to become Millionaires, etc. In New Testament, Christians are not told to give dangerously or sow dangerous seeds, neither was any amount/percentage placed on giving.

In summary, we are simply to give cheerfully and generously, as we purpose in our hearts...not under compulsion. 2 Cor. 9:7-8.

Macau church relic China

And Pastors should remember that Church buildings ALWAYS wear away, or become relics, but the true church- the body of Christ/believers don't! Let us not misplace priorities.

Thanks for reading. Cheers!
Brooklyn Church building relic

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