Why We Didn’t Take Offerings
The Church Up The Street handled finances differently than most congregations: We didn’t take offerings or have a church bank account. We could legitimately say we didn’t want people’s money. We got asked a lot why and how we could operate this way. Here are several answers:
First, we believed the Gospel would be more effectively communicated to the lost if we took away the constant complaint of non-Christians: “They just want my money!” We didn’t, and our philosophy about that gave proof.
Secondly, we wanted to free people to use the money they would normally give their church to minister to others. If their neighbor or co-worker was in financial need, we wanted them to be able to give to meet that need, in the name of Jesus.
We also wanted to free people to tangibly meet the needs of fellow disciples who were in need. Jesus commanded us to love one another, and this view of giving helped us do it. We encouraged everyone who was a part of The Church Up The Street to open a special checking account. We called them “Kingdom Accounts”, and each person could regularly set aside whatever amount God put on their hearts and give as they were led.
Let’s face it, many people are torn between giving to their local congregations and giving to others in need. Often we can’t do both. We’re forced to choose between one or the other. By telling people we didn’t want their money, they were free to give to whatever need God put on their heart: a fellow Christian, a neighbor or family member, or any worthy ministry.
How could we possibly do this? It was simple. Think about how much money is spent on church meeting facilities, overhead expenses and salaries. The amount is staggering. We eliminated these, and that’s why we didn’t need to take offerings. We met in places that were already paid for: Business and homes. Our leaders volunteered because they had other sources of income.
This is impossible for the church building kind of churches. The good news is, any house church can do it! It works!
What do you think would happen if more churches found a way to approach finances like this? Would you support it? Would you be against it? Do you think it could work?
Posted on March 4, 2021, in Christianity, Church Leadership, Contemporary Church Culture, Early Church History, The Christian Life, Theology and tagged christianity, Early church, giving, home church, Houses churches, non-traditional church, tithes and offerings. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.
I believe house churches are by far superior to institutional churches.
Hey, this is in the past tense. What happened? Does that house church not exist anymore?
Past tense. We moved to another state, then moved back to Colorado. We started attending a local church that was messed up less than all the other congregations and we’ve been there ever since.
We’re part of a home group, and that helps a lot.
But I see the storm clouds gathering on the horizon and I’m ready to help the church go underground and meet in homes again. When and if that happens, we’ll have the same approach to money.
The early church operated as house churches.
So, I am not against them.
However, there are also good reasons for having buildings and professional clergy. Consider why the Hebrews had that tabernacle, the tent of meeting, at the center of their camp. That was the place the community came together to worship and be instructed. Today we have added an additional purpose, supporting gospel missions to the nonChristians
Relatively large churches with professional clergy can do things that a house church cannot do. House churches work when nothing else can survive. What matters most is whether a church puts the focus on the salvation offered by Jesus.
I agree. They all have their place. Where we get into trouble is when we start saying “my preferred gathering type is the only type.”
People loved the way we handled the money. And the way they used it to help others was inspiring!
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