Mission Issues

Thinking and re-thinking missionary issues

Spending God’s money in church

I was invited to attend a cell group meeting this evening in order to inform the members about our home-based caring projects in Swaziland. The evening got a bit longer than we planned as questions were asked and I tried to give answers. Eventually the topic also turned to the responsibility of churches to become financially involved in mission. Which made me think of a conversation we had had in our home a few weeks ago with our two youngest children. When our children started receiving pocket money, we also taught them to tithe from their own money. Obviously, as they get older and receive more, their tithe should also grow.
What the exact detail was, I’m not sure, but our youngest child had run out of pocket money for the month and one Sunday my wife noticed that she didn’t have anything to give in church. We realised that this wasn’t a serious issue, but my wife laughingly remarked over lunch to our daughter that cutting back on your tithe is usually not a good way to save money. This led to some discussions about the importance of giving for God’s work.
It seems that churches tend to fall into the same trap. In order for a budget to work out, certain cuts have to be made. And inevitably cuts are made to the money spent outside that church. And in my opinion this is not a very good way to save money. During our gathering this evening someone made the remark that people like to give when they can sense a real need. I have said before that I am not convinced that one’s entire tithe should necessarily go to one congregation. For many years we have been giving part of our tithe to a few missionary organisations over and above what we give to our own congregation. The reason why we do so, is because we could see the need and although we cannot change the circumstances of the organisations, we can at least make a small difference.
The mistake which I see many churches making is that they concentrate almost entirely on the funds (or the lack of funds) coming in. But church members want to know that their money is being spent wisely and that it is making a difference in the world. If I can give $50 and know that the money is going to be spent in such a way that it will make a real difference in people’s lives, then I would much rather do that than throwing my money in a hole, not knowing how deep the hole is nor what the money is going to be used for when taken from the hole.
A week ago a pastor from another church asked to see me. They had received a fairly large donation from a certain individual. This church, however, also believes in tithing. Therefore they had calculated 10% of the amount they had received and decided to give it to be used for food for our home-based caring project in Swaziland. Now, I know that this church cannot afford it. But the very next day after they had given the money to us, they had a harvest festival where they asked people to bring food to church to hand out to the poor. They received so much food (from a very small congregation) that they didn’t know how they were going to distribute everything.
I’ve seen many churches running into financial difficulties and then cutting back on their mission contribution. I want to repeat what my wife said: This is not such a good way t save money: not for a child, not for an adult and also not for a church.


Thursday, February 28, 2008 - Posted by | Church, Faith Offerings, Giving, HIV & AIDS, Home-based Caring, Mission, Poverty, Swaziland, Theology, Tithing


  1. What a cool idea..

    You are right on.

    Thanks man.


    Comment by Ted | Friday, February 29, 2008 | Reply

  2. I’m glad you agree! I hope the people at your own church also agree 😉

    Comment by Arnau van Wyngaard | Friday, February 29, 2008 | Reply

  3. I’m not actually going to comment on this post, (imagine that – i used to always have and share my opinion on everything. God does change us doesn’t he?)
    We are serving in Mexico – nothing like the cultural adjustment of many countries, but an adjustment none the less. Our walk here started with a training/orientation program of about 7 months which includes both mexican students and american students. there are many reasons that the program was difficult, but the biggest (for me) was “giving up” my rights and “releasing” a lot of expectations and also my own ideas about how God was going to use me, blah, blah, while submitting to leadership that sometimes had not a clue what they were doing.
    This brings me to My reason for writing… I think one of the omissions (probably in many programs) is that there is inadequate preparation for the “culture shock”, not only regarding the culture but serving as a missionary, and willingly submitting to authority when the “student” may know more than the “authority”.
    I would welcome any tools to pass on to this year’s crop of students. I can’t fix this for them, nor can I step into a place of authority over THEIR leaders as this is not my role. But I would love to be able to give them some tools… something to read maybe, that will help them know they are not alone, and that they WILL pass through this if they don’t throw in the towel (physically, emotionally, or spiritually)
    Thank you. Dios le bendiga (as we say here).

    Comment by agapesantos | Saturday, March 1, 2008 | Reply

  4. Hi Laura, thanks so much for responding. I’m not sure if you have been following my blog for long, but I did write a lot of personal stuff on my experiences with culture shock – one of them being that I had a greater shock when realising what my white friends thought of us because we had decided to work amongst black people in Swaziland! (Have you ever had culture shock amongst people of your OWN culture?) In any case, if you click on this link, you will be able to find some of my own posts about this topic: https://missionissues.wordpress.com/?s=culture+shock as well as https://missionissues.wordpress.com/category/comfort-zone/
    Very few books that I know of really focus on this issue. A book which is worthwhile reading is Out of the Comfort Zone by George Verwer and another is Eric Bryant’s Peppermint-filled piñatas
    If I can help in any other way, let me know and I will try to do what I can.

    Comment by Arnau van Wyngaard | Saturday, March 1, 2008 | Reply

  5. Hi I am vinay in India God has gave me vision to start one thousand churches in India (UP)but I do not have any support and I found very challinging if any one who read this comment and God is working in your heart please get back to me.

    Comment by vinay phillip dayal | Thursday, March 6, 2008 | Reply

  6. my email is vinayforup@gmail.com.

    Comment by vinay phillip dayal | Thursday, March 6, 2008 | Reply

  7. Hi there!

    I’m new to this forum and just wanted to say hi. So Hi!


    Comment by spolormBorm | Friday, April 30, 2010 | Reply

  8. WE are a church having and orphans and widows in Cameroon,for some time now things have not been easy with us to continue because of our financial strength.if God can use you people to give us a helping hand we will be very happy.for any inquiries please contact us Shepherd staff church of all nations Douala-Cameroon,po box 12172 ,facebook prophetrolandrehma@yahoo.com ,tell 23777788785.1corinthian 3;5-11;proverb 26;27 .Remember if not God all what we are doing is nothing.

    Comment by NTUI AGBOR TOKO ROLAND | Thursday, July 30, 2015 | Reply

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