Equality Among Church Finances

Green Dollar Sign-pencil

Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality, as it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.” –2 Corinthians 8:13-15

This might also sound like communism or socialism. But as Paul said here with the Corinthians and the other churches, the goal is equality. And he used the persuasion reason that if they help, others will help them when they’re in need. But that almost sounds less like equality and more like favors.

I’ve always talked about this to churches. I’ve suggested that when a church of the same denomination (for example) takes in lots of cash/offerings, but another struggles, the wealthy church should help out the struggling church. For example:

  • Church #1 was one of the bigger churches in the state. The Pastor even took pride in this (as if it was his own doing).
  • Church #2 (of the same denomination), on the other hand, was on the verge of closing its doors and selling the land, due to their lack of funds and need of building (roof) repairs.

My take was that Church #1 (and other churches doing well in the district) should’ve jumped in to help pay for Church #2’s expensive roof repairs, and help them get on their feet financially. But when I suggested even a fraction of this to Pastors of the bigger churches, they each rejected it saying that if a church gives more than another, then they should have the rights to “their own givings”.

In Paul’s case, the Jerusalem church was in need of their help. The Macedonian church jumped in and even begged to help. But the Corinthian church was full of pride. They needed to be brought down some notches, but they also needed to be encouraged in their stewardship. But if they take more off the side of their scale, then they feared they’d be in need. And so if they’re helping with their “little bit” (as most everybody claims they only have), then they’ll be in need. But Paul’s addressing several things here, more than simply giving to help out a fellow church:

  • They need your help, so do what’s right and help
  • God gave you what you have (none of it’s yours to be selfish or prideful with)
  • We’re not trying to turn the tides, just equal things out
  • Your financial success is so you’ll have more to give, not more to keep (see my post on tithing)

Reflection:

  1. What if today’s goals for churches finances was equality?
    • Do you think it’s a good idea?
    • Do you think it could work as Paul intended?
      • What modifications (if any) should be made?
    • What do you think this would mean today?
    • Do you think it would change the amount people tithe / give?
  2. What are your thoughts on my 2 suggestions? Do you think they’re worth trying? Do you think any churches or denominations would agree to it? If not, what are some reasons you think they’d give?
  3. What are your views on mega-churches vs. small & struggling churches?
    • If churches looked at Paul’s suggestion, do you think there would still be mega-churches?

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