Let’s be honest. Preachers both on TV and at local churches have given us all a bad taste in our mouths when it comes to church and money. There are two extreme voices out there giving advice on the subject:
All they want is your money. That is all they talk about. Avoid church.
We should just give without asking questions and trust God.
Neither of these views are very intelligent nor well thought out. The truth is somewhere in between.
First of all, I have never met anyone who had financial troubles because they gave too much to church. People get super emotional about money and church yet it has never been the cause of their financial issues. Things like lost jobs, life events, buying things we cannot afford, and carelessness are the real culprits yet we do not have the same hostility toward those things. Almost everything from pro sports, restaurants, car dealerships to almost everything else in life “only want your money.” If “only wanting your money” is a reason for hostility and avoidance then why do people not avoid those things as well.
Second, churches that use manipulation and guilt to get people to give need to cease and desist right now. You should never give to a ministry that uses guilt or manipulation. Churches that constantly have financial troubles and constantly make money the main point need to rethink the way they do the business of the church. People should never have to go to church and “pay” for the poor financial decisions of the pastor. Giving should only be motivated by love for Jesus and love for people.
The real balance is this. We should give generously to churches and charities that do solid work. I believe that charitable giving is not the cause of our financial problems but is actually part of the solution and it is a sign of health that brings great joy to the giver.
The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 9:7
“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. “
Give what God puts in your heart to a church that does great work and you will be able to give with joy. Refusing to give what God leads you to give robs you of your joy. Giving when someone “guilts” you into it robs you of your joy. Don’t stop giving. Give to the right things and for the right reasons.
The real truth is that there are probably some money hungry preachers out there, but most churches just want YOU and the opportunity to serve you regardless of whether or not you give a penny.