Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Peddling the Word of God for Profit
...should we be charging for ministry?

an encore presentation

Stewardship or Sales? The Means of Ministry

The Scriptures forbid charging for ministry (worship, preaching and teaching of God's Word, evangelism, fellowship of the church, psalms/hymns or spiritual songs, discipleship, etc. in any circumstance or situation. It is that black and white. Here are some important Scriptures to ponder in this matter (all verse quotations taken from the ESV):

Matthew 10:8-9, "Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers,[a] cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay. 9Acquire no gold nor silver nor copper for your belts" (emphasis added).

1 Corinthians 9:7-18, "Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock without getting some of the milk? 8Do I say these things on human authority? Does not the Law say the same? 9For it is written in the Law of Moses, "You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain." Is it for oxen that God is concerned? 10Does he not speak entirely for our sake? It was written for our sake, because the plowman should plow in hope and the thresher thresh in hope of sharing in the crop. 11If we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? 12If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we even more? Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ. 13Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings? 14In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel. 15But I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing these things to secure any such provision. For I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of my ground for boasting. 16For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 17For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward, but not of my own will, I am still entrusted with a stewardship. 18What then is my reward? That in my preaching I may present the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel" (emphasis added).

2 Corinthians 2:15-17, "For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, 16to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? 17For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God's word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ."

3 John 5-8, "Beloved, it is a faithful thing you do in all your efforts for these brothers, strangers as they are, 6who testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God. 7For they have gone out for the sake of the name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles [nonbelievers]. 8Therefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth" (emphasis added).

God's people through faithful giving are to supply the financial support for ministry.

Ministry being: 64. Ministry is defined as service to God and His creatures as we employ our Spirit-given giftedness, according to the instruction of Scripture as good stewards of the manifold grace of God for the advancement of His kingdom; that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 4:10-12)

65. God has designed genuine ministry to be inseparable from the life and leadership of the local church. Any ministry that does not strengthen one's commitment to the local church is inconsistent with the purposes of Christ. (Acts 2:42-47; Hebrews 10:23-25) (source: from the 107 Theses by Steve Camp, part five, #'s 64-65).

All genuine ministry for the Lord cannot have an advanced price tag to pay before the ministry is given. Why? Because then it is no longer ministry, but commerce, employ, trade or entertainment.

With ministry being defined above as service to God and His creatures; and with Christ as our example, we are to give all that we are for all that He is. I used to charge honorariums and tickets to my concerts. It was wrong and I have repented. The Lord deeply convicted me after studying His Word that there ws no justification for every charging for the work of the gospel. Think of what I was doing: charging people to pay a ticket to come to a church or civic venue to hear the gospel and worship the Lord. I was ashamed. How grateful I am to the Lord for His severe mercy and restorative grace over my sin of charging tickets for that which is eternal.

I now receive love offerings from churches; and I am very grateful for those that stand with this ministry in its convictions in this area and becoming "fellow workers in the truth."

One Final Thought in Closing
The greatest proof-text people will misuse out of the Bible to try to “justify” charging for the ministry of the Lord is this familiar phrase: "the workman is worthy of his hire."

I fully agree with that phrase for it is God’s Word; but they wrongly applied when trying to condone treating ministry like a business, trade, or entertainment.

It doesn't mean we have the right to charge for “hire”. More appropriately it means those "who proclaim the gospel should receive their living by the gospel" (1 Cor. 9:14b) and do so in a manner commensorate with the gospel.

The only question is how?

Answer: by not requiring a set fee or charging tickets for people to hear genuine ministry by those who want “go into into all the world and preach the gospel.” But, biblically, genuine ministry should be supported through the cheerful, faithful giving of God's people. Aren't you glad that the Lord didn't charge any of us to hear about the good news of the gopsel unto salvation? Aren't you glad that the Holy Spirit doesn't charge any of us for the spiritual gifts He gives to the church?

Money, beloved, should not be a prerequisite for ministry. Amen?

Please pray for CCM artists, pastors, authors, speakers, and evangelical leaders who are still trapped by the allure of a market-driven ministry; parroting worldly techniques rather than emulate the humility and servanthood of Christ. This principle should even effect Christian retail bookstore outlets and how they “sell” their items; but that is for another time.

49 comments:

Jeremy Weaver said...

Steve,
I appreciate your leadership on this issue in the Christian Music market. But sometimes we fail to see the fact that preachers are increasingly guilty of the same sin. Where are the 'tentmakers'? Where are those who will sacrifice in order to preach the Gospel? Where are those who bear in their bodies the suffering of Christ?
I confess and repent that too long I have entertained the attitude of the world in this area. The attitude that says, "Do it if it's profitable in monetary standards."
May we learn to recognize what we gain when we spread the Gospel to the far reaches of the world. Glory for Christ.
For He alone is worthy,
Jeremy

Keyser Soze said...

Hi Steve-O -

It has frustrated me for years that churches do not put their messages/sermons out for free distribution. It further miffs me to see copyright notices on CD's and tapes I get from various places. I even posed this question to Grace Church in LA (MacArthur) to see if I was nuts. I understood the response - media has costs, as does GTY - but with MP3 (no cost) and instant worldwide availablilty, the reason for charging for the teaching of the Bible escapes me. I am not judging those who do, I just cannot seem to get my mind to reconcile it. Why would anyone want a copyright on something that is just bible teaching??? Why charge $4 for an MP3 of the same? I am not singling out GTY and Grace - it is widespread as business as usual everywhere. Not that it makes me feel any better. Am interested in all comments that either back this up or tear my dispute to threads. Just because charging for content is the world's business model, does it need to be the Church's also?

Bhedr said...

Amen bro Steve! This is why you bless my heart so. If Keith were Elijah(who started this fire in CCM) then you would be Elisha. Carry on the flame as well as the passion for ministry the Lord so burdened him/you with. He being dead still speaks. Fruit will be born someday. keep pressing on! You bless my heart.

I wish doctors had your attitude. Phew!

Hey everybody. The Word English Bible is not for sale and is freely given over the internet. They did not copyright it so freely use it and consider rewarding the man that had a passion for that translation as well.

Sparks said...

Matthew 21:12 Jesus entered into the temple of God, and drove out all of those who sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the money changers’ tables and the seats of those who sold the doves. 21:13 He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’* but you have made it a den of robbers!” (WEB)

I always wondered if the preachers and teachers who offered their sermons/teachings online have so much biblical insight to offer, why do they want to charge people to read/hear?

If their message is so important to get out to a fallen world, why ask for payment for the message?

If God wants electronic mediums to convey His message through these ministries, won't God provide the money without the ministry having to charge for the message?

Of course, I could be way off base here....... :)

Sparks said...

And another thought...do you think that modern Christian music would be much deeper if the writers main concerns were Scriptural accuracy and glorification of God, rather than "how well will this sell?"

I'll shut up now..probably just saying in my own poor way the same things Steve has been saying so well.

loren said...

Hi Steve,

Just so we have the whole picture, you're saying it's wrong for ministers to have any kind of fee or salary set in advance. Fair enough, but what about the other shoe?

In other words, does God require Christians to give? Tithing, for example? Tithes and other offerings may end up going toward ministers, but they are not actually given to the church. They are given to the Lord.

Would you consider a follow-up article on that perspective please?

By the way, I've never received any sort of wage for ministry, I'm just asking in order to be fair.

SJ Camp said...

Jeremy: wonderful words...thank you brother. I am wondering that too? Where have all the servants gone?

Keyser Soze: I have the same concern. Why charge $4 for an MP-3? When so many could benefit from that information and teaching? Good thoughts.

Brian: Good tip on the WEB..thank you.

Jay: I agree, why not get the message out to as many as we can? I am so grateful to the Lord that He doesn't charge us for His word or gospel. John's words in Revelation are so fitting: "And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely." What a great truth.

Great stuff here and thanks to you all for your kind remarks and insightful comments.

Loren: let me address in more detail something you hinted at and thanl you for your comments as well here.

One correction on my part: I am not saying that pastors should not be receiving a salary. In 1 Tim. 5:17-18 Paul talks about those who labor in the Word and sound doctrine are worthy of double honor (financial remuneration.)

Firstly, I don't know of any pastor that sets his won salary within the church. That is usually left up to the elders or deacons, etc. Secondly, I don't know of any pastor that is charging an honorarium or fee to preach and shepherd every week as a Christian artist would to do in a concert. (Most pastors make less than $40,000 annually and many even less than $30,000.) They are servants...

But the Apostles encouragement to those that are laboring faithfully in the Word of God, the local church should give him "double honor". In other words, provide enough financial support for he and his family to live, so that he can devote himself to the ministry of the Word, prayer and shepherding.

There is also the "tent-making" ministry as well as Jeremy pointed out. Both are valid forms of pastoral service in the church. Compensated and non-compensated shepherds.

Hope this helps clarify a bit more.
Grace and peace,
Steve

PS - I will consider Loren's advice for a follow up article on offerings, tithing, etc. Good idea.

Shawn L said...

Steve & Keyser Soze,

Hello Guys about charging for the MP3, I believe on oneplace.com that John Piper does allow these to be free. Here's the only one I know that is free mp3 that I have listened to and encourages people to copy and pass them around as long as you don't change or sell them.

Thank God though, for most of the programs the normal streaming audio is free.

loren said...

HI Steve,

Ha, you anticipated another question I had and gave a great answer. I'll await your other article. Thanks.

Matthew2323 said...

You can download free sermons from sermonaudio.com. There is also sermonindex.net. Both sites have modern preachers as well as great men of God from the past.

Sparks said...

Just a thought: Internet streaming audio can be captured by various utilities and saved onto your local pc. My SoundBlaster audio card included Creative Recorder which captures audio passing through the sound card. You can then convert the saved file to whatever format you want: cd audio, mp3, etc.

Rob Wilkerson said...

Steve,

Funny you should post what you did yesterday. Read my post on Bibleman and the Gospel for my experience with a peddling of the gospel for profit.

Gummby said...

Steve--how would you differentiate what you're talking about here with, say, the cruise you're going to be on with James White next month? Do you see a distinction? (I'm assuming there is, since you're doing it)

Nathan White said...

Hmm, good thoughts guys. However, I don't think that there is anything unscriptural about challenging fellow Christians to be responsible. If one has to pay $4 for a sermon, he's most likely going to listen to it. But if its given away at the drop of the hat, the tendency is to get all you can for free and neglect listening to what was just handed to you.

So in the case of sermons, I don't think we can rightly condemn those who just want their listeners to be responsible. And obviously, anyone who can't afford a sermon should be overlooked.

Just a thought...

Bhedr said...

I've often thought it was sad that Doctors and Lawyers make more than Pastors. We are indeed out of balance in what we regard as our greatest need; but so goes how we value our dear Ra'ah.

I think tapes and CD's be they music or preaching should be a voluntary choice to the minister. It is auxilary and somewhat of a luxury for us. Meetings and Concerts are an entirely differant matter. The scripture is clear on this. I think it is great that Steve has yeilded both.

Shawn L said...

Nathan,

I don't think that is the purpose. The purpose is that they are trying to pay for the MP3 Server space, but they could request a suggested donation.

I have no idea what you mean when you say "And obviously, anyone who can't afford a sermon should be overlooked.". I think it is a typo or definitely sarcasm.

Nathan White said...

Shawn,

For example, John MacArthur has been asked why he charges for his sermons, as he charges even in his own church. His reply was something along the lines of how much his ministry gives away already, how much it costs to run, the fact that when people pay they actually listen, and that he challenges his flock to be responsible. So yes, I can see that costs for servers might be the reason he charges for MP3's, but certainly not why they're the exact same price if you walk up to his church.

Yes I worded that poorly. I was trying to say that those who cannot afford a sermon should be overlooked in the responsiblity challenge and given the material free of charge.

SDG

Shawn L said...

Nathan,

Thanks for your comments makes more sense, however I'm not sure I agree with MacArthur on this one, but I know he has probably searched the scriptures on the topic. I guess I would have to search the scriptures more about this and look through Steve's verses again.

Bhedr said...

Oooh, I can just feel the Berean air. Snifff ahhhh. Beee the Berean make yourself one with the Berean.

Shawn L said...

Brian,

I do hope and pray we are all better Bereans. I sure need it lately, I just recently (2-3 weeks) got off of a many month time of not being one. May God free us from this wickedness and sinfulness in our lives.

May God bless you.

Bhedr said...

Amen brother Shawn.

Cutting the fuel to the flesh is helpful and then seeking God and desiring him. Finding out what causes our right hand or eye to sin and then cutting of the fuel.
May God grant you eternal sucess in this endeavour.

Sojourner said...

Steve,

Wow, great blog. I look forward to reading future articles. I just wanted to let everyone know that I have posted all my sermons on the internet for free. The good thing about them is that I have unflinchingly stolen everything I know from others, and sometimes I even quote them without reference.:) (I forget where I get these things sometimes.)

One last thing, as recently graduated Seminary student who mowed yards and delivered pizza for five years to get through my "three year" Masters, I am still in stunned disbelief that the Church pays me to do what I used to pay to do. Is that awesome or what?

Aj said...

I am a Christian Musician, this article poses a number of difficulites for me as I am thinking about getting started in “reaching lost and broken people for God through original music”.

Firstly I couldn't affrord to reach anyone if I didn't charge...

The first reason for this being I want to and am playing mostly to non-christian audiences with my original music. This means I think, that no Chruch will really want to pay the costs if it won't benefit them directly. I think there is real need to reach the world where the world is meeting rather than for us to make them come to our meetings in our chruches etc.

Another problem with this whole line practically is that churches will generally only suppourt established artists so for a new artist who is now married and wants to start crossing over from just being just a musician for hire and a teacher, I have to start thinking on my low income how I can get started and this for me means charging at the door or selling tickets at the moment.

Ok last thoughts, what about bands like Switchfoot and Brooke Fraser who are signed to secualr labels? Where do you draw the line on that kindof thing. Is it job? Is it ministry? Can it be both? I would love to hear others thoughts. Please.

If you want to talk to me directly on this issue visit me @ www.myspace.com/ajcrawshaw

ScriptureZealot said...

The reference regarding charging for preaching the gospel distributed on MP3s is addressed in Ephesians 7.

Actually MP3s aren't "free" when you include not only server space, but the people, time and resources to record, convert and upload/distribute those MP3s. I used to be someone who was paid to set up the Web site, convert and upload the MP3s of sermons. But they were offered for free.

I would like to think a large church should be able to make these available for free for people who aren't able to attend the service because of being gone on a trip, having to work, missionaries who used to attend, being unable to leave home because of an injury, disability etc.

I can record John MacArthur's sermons on TV or read them online. Not sure why the charge for MP3s but they are free to do what they feel is necessary.

donsands said...

The man who is called to preach God's Word should never have a fee for service. He better not.

The Church is to surely support it's pastors and preachers and missionaries.

The love of money is the root cause for all kinds of deviltry. I hate money sometimes. It grabs hold of my soul. May the Lord help us all to be less covetous, and more generous.

The Church should always be asking, "How much can we afford to bless our pastor, and all those who minister the Word of God to us? How generous can we be?"

john said...

Wow! We agree on something!

There was a point in time when I badly wanted to be on staff at my church. I practically lived there and frankly got bitter that I did more than many paid staff members. And I LOVED it. I wanted to be able to do it full time.

But my perspective has completely changed. I think money in ministry is much like in politics - it poisons the well.

I think the purest form of the Church consists of tent-maker pastors, not full timers. It is not the responsibility of one man to "lead" churches. I think we can thank Constantine for the institutionalization of the Church complete with buildings and structures and top-down implementation. I'm convinced that was not God's intention for His Kingdom.

Shane Trammel said...

Steve,

I think I already know what you will say, but I am wondering if you thought on charging for 'minitry' would also include Christian authors charging for their books and bible publishers charging for their bibles.

For example, should a bible publisher make a very simple bible (simple binding, cheap paper, etc) free but charge for the calfskin bound version..

Or, does it really show the productization of ministry that a calfskin bound bible is even available. Is such a thing even needed. Could the money for something like that be better used in the Kingdom..

Shane

EPLU RIB USU NUM said...

"iron sharpening iron" is the title and quote used for a "comments link".

Peddling the ward of God in this case is no different than tithing by giving any type of currency backed by any type of Givernment; thin that, posed as the question based on scripture, should we except the offering? of which I know little myself of those guidelines but would make conciderable note to the words written to know what my investment is all about.

Interesting that I came accross a link to this blog in a keyword search of "luke 2:4", knowing it as Schroeder's line in response to Charlie Brown's exclaiming "Doesn't anyone know what it's all about?" from the T.V. Christmas special.

An early version of this might be from a national flag like The Washington's Cruisers pictured pine tree and the words APPEAL TO HEAVEN or AN APPEAL...

Though for the thought of what we should and should not be investing our money in, in general, much is spored from what is not in official doctrine but somewhat known as "the magic well" to the terms and reasonings that government sets their course of approvals; in that, it should inspire more work and help drive the ecconomy.
Mathew 10:24, i think thats correct, explains a little of how our faith should be, or maybe better to say of it as how important it is and how we should recognise it

Given what is written and what we plan, when it comes time for a sermon it may be like stepping onto the seat of judgment to testify as if standing on trial, that is of rehersing, God is the lede story, but GOD is also leading, and that can sometime be cause for improvising-though probably best only voiced to help open our eyes, and then added as the minutes to outline the next sermon; and to what we hear and to what we say,-as all who strive to let everthing they say be of the word, it all sounds difficult because of "the clashing gong" comparison of likeness(I cant remember that proverb) .

I enjoyed looking at this website and congradulate on the awards!

I recalled resently myself of "our faith printed on our money" because of the 1999 or 2000 issue of the Liberty Quarter Dollar with the State of Virginia's chosen design printing 'Celebrating 400 years' of Jamestown that turned 400 this past august of 2007; that date being mint stamped in advance by 7-8 years.
This has been an enjoyable visit and hope you dont mind the hard read, as i've written.

I do post occaisionally on my own page about my own issues too.
an E PLURIBUS UNUM Page
I have my own issues

TheThinker said...

Don't be so hard on the ministers and so easy on us...

We hold them to higher standards and yet we pride ourselves on having greater biblical knowledge because we can see their sin.

We must make sure we remove the log from our own eyes first if we claim to not be blind.

If we held ourselves to the ideal that we hold ministers to, I'm sure that this wouldn't be an issue except that more people would try to enter the ministry....

Sure, following Christ costs. It must cost you everything. If it doesn't, then something is not right. But as the Body, we aren't to be the ones making it harder for them, we're supposed to be making it a lighter load and an easier burden.

How about we talk about giving and tithing a ton more.

ALSO, notice that when Keith G was dealing with this....he dealt solely with himself on the issue. It affected him and his family first and foremost. He lead the charge among Christian artists because he allowed Christ to lead him into it. He didn't go out and prophecy against his brethren. He subjugated himself to the higher standard of following God first. God, by the Spirit convicted the rest of the Brethren. It allows others to see your example, watch for evidence of God's provision, and then praise God in heaven and follow.


Let's do His pleasure together and be joyful in the process.

john said...

Thinker-
You can talk about tithing all you want. Bottom line is that I'm going to give my church my money IF they use it well. If they help people in need and don't forget widows and orphans, then I will give.

If (as sadly is often the case), my church decides that they need new buildings and pay raises for the staff and a new van and a bigger parking lot, then frankly they can kiss my grits.

The early church had all things in common. They shared all they had so that none had need. We Ameri-christians have fallen so far from that beautiful example!

In my city, there are thousands of churches. They're all clumped together. 6 or 7 churches per neighborhood (gotta cover all the denominations). I'm convinced that's NOT they way it's supposed to be.

TheThinker said...

Essentially, the problem that we are coming across is the belief that OUR money is OUR money....

Do we really believe that what we get paid because we "work so hard for it" is really ours alone? Has not God Himself given these things to us? Is our hard work ethic really ours to claim?

Since when have we deserved any of these good things? The ability to understand, to speak, to read, to write, to listen....to have arms, legs, ears, noses, eyes, etc...All that we have, anything that we have....grace

Our giving reflects more on our spiritual walk than on those to whom we're giving....because we're supposed to be giving to God. Yes, men are in charge as there is or ought to be a biblical leadership structure established in our churches. And, yes, we are to be wise and good stewards of our resources. It's dangerous, however, to not give because we as individuals believe we have the monopoly on God's direction for our church.

I suggest getting involved with the leadership of your church if you feel the finances could be stewarded in a more godly way.

Also, the biblical Church (capital C) ought not to be confused with each and every church (lower case c). By that I mean: While each church should be a microcosmic representation of the macrocosmic Church, not every church will go about doing these same things the same way.




Separately, on the issue of the cost of MP3s. What ever happened to the understanding that our individual pastors were delivering sermons each week for their own congregations because the Lord was directing them to speak such words for the benefit of the believers in that congregation...not that you won't or can't learn great spiritual truths through men of other churches, you definitely can. Why, however, are we more committed to listening to certain pastors than our own? Obviously this reveals our lack of trust in God to continue developing our leaders and a lack of confidence in them from the beginning. If we want to grow in the Lord a great deal outside of that...reading our Bibles should take priority over listening to what another man tells us the Bible says...

Let's first devote an hour to reading the Word before we spend an hour listening to an MP3 teaching.



Do we read the Bible as much as we read this and other blogs?

Jen said...

Good article, Steve. I agree wholeheartedly, but I have a question or two. I am assuming you sell your music CDs for more than cost. How is this different from charging admission to a concert? Just wondering, not accusing. Also, we all probably have many wonderful Christian books. Where do they fall in this category? Where do we draw the line?

As far as MP3s and CDs of sermons go, my thoughts are that it is reasonable to charge at cost.

SJ Camp said...

Jen
I don't charge for any of my CD's. People can receive them for whatever they can afford; and if they can't afford anything they can get them for free. That has been my policy since the mid 1990's.

I used to charge for ministry and the CD's too. The Lord convicted me of this and by His grace I stopped that practice about 12 years ago.

I only wish that I had had that policy from the very beginning. May the Lord continue to conform me to His image and use me in spite of myself.

I appreciate your comment and question here. Thank you.

Grace and peace to you,
Steve
2 Cor. 4:5-7

heydadd said...

We freely give our book away "The Tithe That Binds" Jesus plainly said "Freely Ye have received, FREELY give" as He sent out his disciples... free at www.preparehisway.com Praise the Lord Almighty

heydadd said...

We freely give our book away "The Tithe That Binds" Jesus plainly said "Freely Ye have received, FREELY give" as He sent out his disciples... free at www.preparehisway.com Praise the Lord Almighty

heydadd said...

Can you imagine Jesus or any of the apostles CHARGING for their gospel?
Hint: 1 Corinthians 9:18 What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.

the watchmans trumpet said...

Peddling Gods word for a profit are these people who see Gods people as their own personal cash cow and only want to benefit themselves financially. The work as a secondary shepherd of the body of Christ is of no concern to them, you must sort out your own problems, don't dare come to them for spiritual help. they prey on the weak and gullable and the way
to extract money out of you are wide and sometimes absolute madness, much the same as Balaam the prophet, who paid with his life. He will not be the last to suffer this way. The true shepherds of the body of Christ will be looked after financially by that body, and the obedient and faithful are worthy of double honour.Dont forget that a church facility has to also pay for the building, lights, water, the consumables etc. The problems come in when people get greedy and do not share the thing God has brought into the physical church with those who are needy or worthy
of practical support from the church office.When it comes to finances how transparent is the books of the church.If the way the church allocates and utilises the finances of that body of believers is secret and access restricted, caution and alarm bells must ring. There was a case where the spending of the senior pastor was questioned and shortly after that the person who queried the spending was fired or told that he had no more work at that church???? makes one think.
Brother Andre

Andrew Jones said...

Steve
great post.

In defence of Grace Church, i have received lots of resources since joining but have never had to pay. They are on the better side of things - there are plenty of prosperity churches with millionaire pastors who take a different tact.

As a preacher, I have been speaking at conferences and churches for almost 30 years and I have never requested an honorarium/ I often get gifts, more often in western countries, and these are appreciated but that does not determine whether i take the opportunity or not. God provides for His work. We should not sell the gospel.

I have not published a book yet so i dont know how that will work but i appreciated Keith Green's practice of giving freely to all who cannot afford it.

keep on blogging steve, the western church is often corrupt but God is bringing about a second reformation to heal it.

Andrew Jones said...

just mentioned your post http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Tallskinnykiwi/~3/1jHEcMNRu6w/ka-ching-in-the-ka-church.html

Andrew Jones said...

ahhhh not that link

here you go

http://tallskinnykiwi.typepad.com/tallskinnykiwi/2011/11/ka-ching-in-the-ka-church.html

inspiration-point.org said...

This is what I call a "balanced" presentation! I am glad you followed up on the business of supporting a local pastor. For that is the question, I was going to ask. :)

TruthStands said...

I'm not sure where people have been, but Grace to You (MacArthur) and Desiring God (John Piper) have been giving away all their MP3's and transcripts for years. Piper's been doing it longer, but MacArthur has been doing it since 2008.

Turnthe TideMinistries said...

We're here Jeremy, but few know about us! Pray for us at turnthetideministry.com
Thank you. May Gods grace flood your heart

Turnthe TideMinistries said...

There are many God has called to quietly, powerfully impact individuals for His Glory and walk them across the border into His kingdom. We're not big, we're not flashy so few know us, but we've go end all for His purpose to be accomplished. Pray for us at www.turnthetideministry.com

Ken said...

Steve,


I so appreciate (and have missed genuinely) your unabashed heart for God, your ministry and particularly your music. I just found out today where you are what you are doing now.



Your points are all valid and no one can refute the scriptures you have quoted, nor your heart in the message you presented. And I agree with them all.



I just recently read Paul's writings in 1st and 2nd Cornithians on the topic, so they are fairly fresh in my mind.



Steve - right now, I know that I am in a "digging deeper" learning mode and I'm needing to reconcile your post with what I just read. I would greatly appreciate you helping me to do so after reading what Paul wrote:



1 Corinthians 9:3-14

3 My defense to those who examine me is this:4 Do we not have a right to eat and drink?5 Do we not have a right to take along a believing wife, even as the rest of the apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas? 6 Or do only Barnabas and I not have a right to refrain from working? 7 Who at any time serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat the fruit of it? Or who tends a flock and does not use the milk of the flock?

8 I am not speaking these things according to human judgment, am I? Or does not the Law also say these things? 9 For it is written in the Law of Moses, “YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE THE OX WHILE HE IS THRESHING.” God is not concerned about oxen, is He?10 Or is He speaking altogether for our sake? Yes, for our sake it was written, because the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher to thresh in hope of sharing the crops. 11 If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? 12 If others share the right over you, do we not more? Nevertheless, we did not use this right, but we endure all things so that we will cause no hindrance to the gospel of Christ. 13 Do you not know that those who perform sacred services eat the food of the temple, and those who attend regularly to the altar have their share from the altar? 14 So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel.



2 Corinthinas 11:8

I robbed other churches by receiving support from them so as to serve you.

May God bless you, Steve and anoint you as you preach and sing the Gospel.

Happy Easter, Steve!

Amonite said...

There is a mentality in churches and various ministries that they could "not afford" to run if they did not charge. They also get the 'don't muzzle the ox' verses backwards: seeing those as a right to get -prepaid- to preach rather than -reap reward- from those who have been converted and freely give after! Note, there was only a few churches that shared in Paul's financial burdens, because they -chose- to. He did not require it of that church or the others. He simply let them know of the spiritual or physical need of other churches, and others would help financially. He -accepted- the gift of financial support because he had given them the gift of spiritual support, and thus he was not taking without having given. Keeping this perspective would keep pastors and missionaries from feeling it is their 'obligation' to receive wages, and also ensures that the wage -follows- the harvest, it does not precede it!

Furthermore, Paul's statement that he plundered provisions from some churches to serve others refers to the life of a Roman soldier, who would receive provisions and money (a little less than a denarius) *daily* for his comepensation. (As most jobs were paid -at the end of the day- back then).

To demand a set wage prior (unless a church or person -offers-, such as many that bring onboard a pastor to teach, or a person offering a set financial commitment) is to put trust in oneself and physical money, and not in God. If a church/person offers, that wage should be sensible and not for profit. If they do not offer, the lack of offer should not deter from ministry!

This is the crux of the issue: not that the Word of God has set up a hard and fast rule about finances - but that it has set up principles of motive and the heart. Profit should NOT motive ministry. We should NOT worry about the provisions of tommorow. (We can invest and plant, certainly, but it is not up to us to control the outcome).

Now, to let God handle the future and trust to freewill offerings may lead to less entertaining ourselves and less consumption (megachurches all about splashy paint, branding, amenities, parties, coffee shops, etc, probably would not appeal)- but it is not going to lead to churches closing down. Churches in other countries get by meeting without buildings, or in people's homes (like the early church!). We have swallowed the lie that church is like a business that we regularily pay our dues to, rather than the assembly of all believers of Christ wherever they are.

When faced with true needs, the church is always ready and willing to provide benevolence offerings for starving children, a needy pastor, a crumbling baptismal font, etc.

Fear that the Lord will not provide is never a good excuse to form one's own way of doing things, and ignore the Lord's best.

Unknown said...

Jesus is the same forever. He began his ministry with a whip and ended with a whip in the temple. at the judgment it will be shown the chargers will be whipped into hell.

David Kowalski said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lee Ferrier said...

Bless you Steve. I agree with you totally . Your ministry has enlightened me in my ministry of music and the word.
Feel free to visit ministry website at:followthespiritministry.com
You can download the music God has given me as well as Biblical Teachings "FOR FREE"
BE BLESSED IN ALL THINGS!
minister lee ferrier