The last two days my inbox has been full of emails about fundraising. I can only assume it is because some Churches are looking at the lull of summer looming and their financial resources are about to be depleted. They need money to keep doing their work, and so they resort to fundraising. Churches and Church groups will spend the next few months hosting car washes, bake sales and a variety of other activities to generate the needed money for their work.
As a preacher I want you to know that I am diametrically opposed to Christian fundraising. There are several reasons I feel this way and here are just a few.
1. It has a poor return for the effort. Imagine a group of ten teenagers spends eight hours on a Saturday washing cars, and they make $350. Now, if those ten teens had worked those eight hours for an $8.50 an hour job, they would have made $680. Instead, they spent the day making a little over four dollars an hour. I know there are other positive dynamics at work like learning teamwork and the value of hard labor. There are also adverse side effects like teaching people that the Church is only interested in your money. Plus, it bothers me deeply that non-believers might end up supporting the work of believers instead of the Church giving to its own projects.
2. It divides the Church. This is huge. I once visited a Church that had twelve different subgroups within their organization. Each of those groups had their own bank account and was responsible for its funds. As a result, people would only support the women’s ministry or would refrain from helping the teens because the senior adults needed it more. It was crazy how fractured the Church was in the finances and their actions.
3. It discourages trust. It amazes me how little some people trust the Church leadership. They think, if I put my money in the general offering then they will use it for something I do not approve. Godly leadership should do what is best for the entire group, and most people do not trust their leadership enough to do that.
4. It doesn’t teach stewardship. This is the biggest reason for me. One of the responsibilities of the Church is to teach its people the principle of stewardship. That is the concept that God owns everything, and we are merely temporary users. Fundraising is about the exchange of goods or services for my freewill donation. Stewardship is about saying that God has blessed me, and I want to give back to the work of the Lord. It is about developing the right attitude towards my money and possessions. My goal as a pastor is not about encouraging fundraising, but rather faith raising. I want to see you live a generous life because God has blessed you and you know that he will continue to provide all you need, even if give some away.
With this said, I could care less about what the girl scouts or sports teams do to get money. They can function however they like and do what works best for them. Within the Church, I feel quite differently. I believe that we should be encouraged to grow in our faith throughout every area of our life including financially. So even though my mailbox is full of wonderful ways to generate more money for our Church this summer, I will pass and continue to teach the stewardship of a believer.