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If you've ever taken your kids to McDonald's, then this illustration is right up your alley.

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Jb Bryant

commented on Jul 8, 2013

This illustration might be helpful, but like most analogies it is not completely accurate. That's fine - there is great opportunity in highlighting an illustration's incompleteness as a jumping off point for further instruction! In this case, the preacher gave his son the fries for his son's purposes - nourishment(?) and enjoyment. And he wanted some of his son's fries because their smell was tempting and he suddenly felt hungry. But God gives us financial and other resources to use for His own purposes. And He doesn't decide to take some of them back because He suddenly wants some of what He gave us. What God entrusts to us remains His and remains for His purposes. We are stewards caring for His fields. That's quite different from this illustration, but this could potentially lead into that lesson.

Mark Walter

commented on Jul 8, 2013

Very interesting observation JB. I had not considered that point of view. I think one of the biggest things we struggle with, as a church, is the concept of tithing and how it should be done, if at all. We are much better off with many small churches reaching people at the local level than 1 or 2 mega churches trying to reach the masses. Very shallow and impersonal approaches to those draw by the Lord has had a negative impact on Christianity as a whole.

Jb Bryant

commented on Jul 8, 2013

You are right on, Mark. I couldn't agree more. Though there's no magic number, I'm of the opinion that when a church begins to be "large" (to me that's somewhere around 300-500) it should begin planting independent churches (probably not "multisite congregations" as is the modern trend). I think studies would back up what I believe to be true - (1) that in smaller congregations, the average of of income that is tithed is higher, (2) that in smaller congregations the average number of hours per non-staff member that is used for ministry is higher, and (3) that in smaller churches the depth and extent of interpersonal and accountability relationships per member are higher. In other words, I believe small churches can (not necessarily do) accomplish more of the things that matter than large churches, which is why I believe in planting over growing. But to make that happen, smaller churches should co-minister with other churches - yes, even locally. Some see that as nearly impossible to pull off, but I'm seeing it right this moment in my area.

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