Monday, December 14, 2009

Eating for Free

There are too many people who show up to church and eat for free. That is, they enjoy all the services provided by our many ministries but don’t give a nickel to the work of God to help underwrite those costs. Or either they are in the $5 club. Others are tippers, but not tithers. This is what you call eating for free. Many even feel entitled to have it this way. I hope to correct this in 2010.

Pace Community Church offers all the amenities and services that one would expect from a New Testament Church; we worship in a beautiful building; parents enjoy the services provided by our age-level ministries for their children (nursery-through-teens); the congregation benefits each week from the instruction of God’s Word by means of messages that are prepared after much research & study, and is inspired by music that is well-done and glorifies God. Then there is the pastoral covering that is provided for people in times of need (such as sickness, other crises, weddings, funerals, and counseling). Don’t forget the coffee and continental breakfast, air-conditioning, shirts for ushers, curriculum for kids, nursery equipment, office supplies, church supplies to ensure clean restrooms & facilities, and the comfortable seating. Add infitim. None of these services are free.

The truth is it takes super-sized cash to underwrite ministry. Yet, a lot of people just eat for free.

In all fairness, this is to be expected from guests, visitors, unbelievers, and brand new believers. They get a pass (for a brief period of time) because they are new and we are here to serve them as they are. However, in time, and after they have committed to Christ, they are expected to grow up and practice Biblical stewardship themselves - which means bringing tithes and offerings to the place where they worship.

But for a believer (who has had enough time to know better and yet continues to draw off the services of the church for free), this kind of behavior is simply wrong. It is selfish and extraordinarly bad. It is disobedient to God and a drain on the church. They are mooching off the generosity of others.

The Church was never intended to subsidize those who know better, and allow them to continue on a life-long eat-for-free gravy train. Rather, a church's leaders are commanded to teach, instruct, and challenge everyone to do their part. This we intend to do.

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