Friday, October 2, 2009

Ministries, Inc.

I have been thinking about a paradox recently (as I often do). Scripture undoubtedly makes clear God's desire for the church to reach out to the poor, broken, and the lost. There are also passages that explicitly call for good stewardship of money, resources, and gifts. God tells the Church to have compassion, mercy, and grace on the one hand and structure and accountability on the other.

Can the Church (or a church) or a specific ministry show too much grace or too much compassion? What if this means that all of the resources are going to places that are unfruitful entirely and neglecting other people or places that have great need? Can the church be so concerned about faitfully administrating the gifts and resources God has provided that they leave out the gospel?

2 comments:

  1. It is a difficult issue. Here's something that bothers me: a suburban church in the Bible Belt recently decided to spend a half million dollars on a new, state-of-the-art sound system. When I visited this church, one of the things that impressed me was how good everything sounded in the 3,000 seat sanctitorium. I was shocked to hear they were replacing it. I question the priorities here. Couldn't that money be used for the city rescue mission? Now, the church is debt-free, which is why they don't see a problem with this, and, from what I hear, I don't know personally, they already do a decent job of 'outreach'. What do you think?

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  2. Well, it's hard to really say for sure because we don't know everything that is going on in the church.

    It would be interesting to see the church's annual budget. One can tell a lot about a church's priorities by looking at where they spend their money. If .5mil is a small portion of their budget, then it seems more reasonable than if it were a large portion of their annual budget.

    One question comes to mind: What is a "decent job" at outreach?

    Perhaps there were technical problems with the old system, or maybe it did not work for certain productions that they did.

    It's really hard to say for sure without being within the leadership conversations. However, sometimes decisions that seem to be good for the church according to the leadership LOOK like poor choices in the eyes of onlookers. This perseption may or may not hurt the church in some way, but the perception does not ultimately dictate it if was a good use of money or not.

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What do you think?