Summary: Stewardship challenge

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

Part 3 – Is That Your Final Answer?

Glenn H. Teal, CrossRoads Community Church

February 20/00

We are using the name of the TV Game Show to jump-start a serious study of the issues surrounding the management of money.

How do we get more money? In a word – honestly.

How do we manage the money God has entrusted to us? In a word – wisely.

How do we learn to share our resources? In a word – generously.

Today we address the question – How do we really feel about sharing and giving our financial resources?

Disclaimer: If you are brand new in our church today, don’t faint and don’t leave now. This is not our usual subject matter – in fact it is highly unusual. But perhaps you can consider this to be an inside look at some of the “behind the scenes” issues involved with the live of a growing church. Although this is not intended for newcomers I’m sure there are principles for living will apply to everyone, including you.

Recently I did a few simple calculations:

If every adult who attends CrossRoads on a regular basis – 800 adults – made $15,000 per year and gave one tenth to this ministry what would our annual income be?

a. $880,000

b. $980,000

c. $1,080,000

d. $1.2 million

The correct answer of course is – 1.2 million dollars. Which simply points to the possibility that if we all had generous hearts and really believed that this ministry was a great investment we could do some amazing things together.

Here at CrossRoads as in the vast majority of churches in North America there comes a time in virtually every service that makes many people feel ambivalent or even awkward. For many of us a love/hate feeling arises in that fateful moment when the offering plate is passed. In fact, if you’ve been around here very long you notice that, we ask our first time guests not to give money when the plates go by.

There is a reason we do this. Brand new people really are not ready to participate in that part of the service, so we just say, "Don’t give." That’s why – we suggest that you take a pass. Newcomers are seldom ready to participate in the offering. They don’t know enough about this ministry to know if it is a worthwhile investment. They may not know enough about God to trust him with this whole giving thing.

Truth is there are some people who try to reduce giving to God’s work in this world to something less than noble. For them it is not about giving from the heart to an awesome God. They just see the offering as paying the bills and keeping the place solvent.

I recently heard a true story of a man who was far from God but family attended a good little church and they liked it and he was warming up to it. He found out financial pressures threatened the future of that ministry. The church couldn’t make their payments. Staff was not being paid and they were in serious financial trouble.

So the concerned guy made an appointment with the pastor. He said “I’m pretty good with money and I like this thing you’ve got going here – so answer a few questions I can help you dig this thing out of the hole you are in.

How many adults come each week? The pastor answered – about 350.

How many teens? 50. How many kids? 100 or so.

Well the way I see it – we could take our weekly cost factor to do business and divvy it up.

If we charge every adult 18+ -- $15 a head – they did the math.

If we charge every teenager -- $10 a head – they did the math

If we charge for every kid – about $7 a head – they did the math again.

By this time the newcomer had crunched the numbers to the point that almost all the bills could be paid. Then he added. Then as an extra source of money we could charge $3 per car for parking. If we did all that we could turn this thing around in no time.

The pastor said ”Thanks but no thanks. I appreciate your heart – that you want this thing to survive but there are some teachings in the Bible about money and giving and how you run a ministry and support it. None of them look like your plan – divide up the costs among the participants and charge a fee. That is not God’s way.”

And that pastor was absolutely right: In today’s talk I’d like to share with you what I am deeply convinced that the Biblical model for raising financial support looks like.

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