Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Eating for Free

There are too many people in the pew who eat for free. That is, they enjoy all the services provided by a church's ministry but don’t financially support the work.  Many even feel entitled to have it this way.

Take Pace Community Church for instance.  We offer 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; the congregation benefits each week from the instruction of God’s Word by means of messages that are prepared after much research & study; and we are 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, 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.

Then there are the people in our church family who use these facilities for baby showers, weddings, family gatherings, receptions, and parties, etc., for free, and never contribute.

Then there is the mission of the church – to preach the gospel to every creature and make disciples – which also requires funding.

The truth is it takes super-sized cash to underwrite a church and its ministry. Yet, a lot of people enjoy every bit of it 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 practcing generosity and bringing tithes and offerings to the place where they worship. 

For a believer (who has had enough time to know better and yet continues to draw off the generosity of others and the services of the church for free), this kind of behavior is simply wrong.  It is selfish and extraordinarily bad.  It is disobedient to God.  It is willful rebellion to His clear commandments. 

And, it threatens a church's continued existance.

The Church was never intended to subsidized by a faithful few – while everyone else gets to ignore their Christian responsiblity of financial stewardship.  Rather, a church's leaders are commanded to teach, instruct, and challenge everyone to do their part.

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