The Covid-19 lockdown has meant that many churches are now facing severe financial issues, so this piece from John Farrow is very timely…
Riding home after church one Sunday morning, a mother commented, ‘The choir was awful this morning.’ And the father said, ’I thought the sermon was far too long.’ Their cheeky 7-year-old daughter piped up from the back seat, ‘You have to admit though, it was a pretty good morning out for a pound.’
Did you smile at the above quote? Sadly, it actually reflects the attitude some people have to church-going and church giving. How did you decide on the amount you currently give to your church each week? When did you last really think about how much you choose to put in the weekly collection envelope, or in the basket, or in the Standing Order? And more importantly, why do you choose to donate anything at all? No-one makes you pay anything to attend church. You are welcome to go every week and no one would demand that you pay even a £1, as the family above did. But think for a moment of all that God provides for us – life, family, friends, health, the riches of nature, music, beauty, art, and even his own Son to die for our sins on the cross and rise again to give us everlasting life. Yes, God gives freely, even abundantly, so isn’t it reasonable to ask how should we respond to his generosity?
Each church is where it is because, in the past, people have given generously. Many people would see the building as the church, but in reality it is the people who worship in it that are the ‘real’ church. We are a community gathered in the love of God, seeking to share the good news of that love. Part of our worship is to give thanks to God for all he has done for us. And in response we can give our time, and our skills, but also a regular gift of money. The church needs all of these to function properly. It is often said that people only value what they pay for, so isn’t it reasonable for us to think of the value of what God has done for us? Surely, we can’t argue with this quote from the Bible: ‘Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.’ (Matthew 6:21)
Source : Association for Church Editors