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« Retiring Early and Maximizing Your Career | Main | Church-goers Earn More, but Money Magazine Doesn't Understand the Power of God in a Person's Finances »

April 01, 2007


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Such excellent advice! An up-and-coming mega-church in the midwest is under investigation by reporters (if no one inside the church) because of the pastor's lavish lifestyle and unwillingness to "open the books" for anyone. Our good friends left this church 8 years ago, because of the constant emphasis on money and possessions. That's the thing: If the pastor can't be trusted with my money, there will also necessarily be unbalanced teaching going on. The $$$ has to come from somewhere. They have to preach about it, about the giving of it, continually.

I would RUN from a church like that. I have to be able to trust the pastor with my $$$, my spouse, and my children.

I'm Mormon, and while my church gets some flack for being a financial dynamo (See Time Magazine's Article "Mormon Inc.") I haven't seen many of the financial problems that many other congregations face, at least on the local level. I think two factors play a role in this. First, we have lay clergy. No one gets paid, not even our bishop. As a result, it doesn't matter how much your congregation grows and how much donations increase, the leaders aren't going to see more money in their lives because they won't even get any.

Second, tithing donations don't stay in local congregations. They're sent to Salt Lake City where they are distributed to congregations worldwide depending on need. Tithing is sort of wealth redistribution. Because North American and European members make more money than members in Latin America, Asia, and Africa, North American's and Europeans pay more tithing (We all pay 10%, but Americans' 10% is more, you get the idea). But our poorer members still get the same facilities and services that we do. Often, the facilities are much nicer than the one's in North America. At least I noticed that during my mission in Mexico. Some of the chapels there were much nicer than the ones I went to growing up.

So, on the local level there doesn't seem to be much of a problem. Every once in awhile you'll have a bishop or some other leader steal tithing money, but once they're found out, they get immediately excommunicated.

Amen! And I feel the same way about churches where the pastor's personal life is less than Christian. IMHO, if the spiritual leader cheats on his wife, then why would I trust him to guide me on my spiritual journey?

Our pastor drives a Toyota! :)

Brett- That's pretty interesting, a church that size with no lay clergy! Nice to know that your preacher's purse isn't dependent on his saying what people want to hear!

I'm not sure if all Methodist churches are this way or not, but our financial records are public. The only private data is the distribution of the salaries; The total of all the paychecks is public though.

The church's income, tithing, debt, etc are all on the back of each weeks bulletin.

It is also important not to be judgmental with those who fall short. Pray that the holy spirit convicts the dishonest pastor, but leave in peace.

"for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God..." - Romans 3:23

This is great advice, really if you can't trust them with money to the extent that you won't give them any there is something seriously wrong.

On the other hand, thats not to say that they are really great with money management and if you have a talent in that area, maybe you should be volunteering to help out.

I agree with Zachary to pray for the church and the pastor.

Sometimes I think the issue of trust is just an excuse for people so they don't have to feel guilty about not tithing and giving back to God.

I'd also recommend those who have honest concerns should talk with the leadership of the church. As a member gets more involved and interested into the vision of a church, giving and tithing becomes easier because they have developed a vested interest with the church's goals.

Thank you. We recently left a church because of how they spent their money. Although everything was honest and open, I couldn't help but worry that they continued forward with projects that they didn't have the money for. After prayer and reflection, my husband and I decided to start over and church hunt again.

I have never been to a church that constantly asked for money as much as they did.

What happens with the money the church collects? I know a husband and wife team they are both pasters. They both drive brand new expensive cars.She was once a paid prostitute and is a recovering addick. She lies and cheats her company. Are these the kind of people we want preaching to us and our children?

CP -- Sounds like you need a new church.

We have a sall church and are truly blessed.
I am the tresurer of the church,some times my pastor borrows money for his personel use. I told him I cannot do that, because I feel guilty and it means I am not doing Gods work in a proper manner. He and his wife gets upset. I have decided know to stand up and speak for God, and will not allow that happen again. I wanted to leave the church many times, but if I leave, the people will not know whats happening. I think this is happening because we do not have any leaders in the church. I told him many times to choose leaders, he said that there are no one cable to be a leader. I don't care if I am hated by the pastor and his wife, I will make sure thinks are done right in our church. God is always directing me to do the right things he is always with me and teaching me Please give advice God Bless.

Some people have different ideas about what's to much.

Personally, I think a church can collect donations for it's ministries, the lights, seats, etc. And they need to hire and pay people wages that are competitive to run things if you have a big church, like office work, maybe landscapers.

But whats to much for the pastor? A wise pastor, who is a good steward won't need much, because he will wisely use his money, invest it and grow it.

At our church, some people questioned our pastor, and he laid it out, and showed everyone, he makes 32K a year, with a wife and 4 kids. But the pastor has been wisely investing his money and living frugally for the past 12 yrs so he can enjoy more today. And it just happens that he is being rewarded at the same time the church was growing, and some people thought his income went up.

I just think of the talents, the wise man doesn't need a 600K salarly, just Gods word.

I was talking the other day with someone that said, 'If you give just 10 percent of your income to the Church, you will be returned much more money than that.' Is this why we give to the Church? So that we can roll around in our investment returns. Seems pretty far from God's plan.

Any pastor who drives a luxury car, wears designer clothes, or values worldly possessions is clearly not following the straight and narrow path of God, but the wide and crooked path of greed. Wake up, people! Get to know God, and give your money to the poor people who really need it. The only reason we give to the church is so they can then distribute it out as they see fit. The simple fact is, we are too lazy or too busy chasing the dollars to go out and find the people who really need it.

The church I was raised in lost me as a parishner when they made the decision to cut hours for the soup kitchen (that was seeing many visitors) and yet they were still planning to move forward with new carpet (that was NOT needed- old carpet was in good condition, just ugly).

After expressing my concern about confused priorities, I was dismissed as a kid who didn't understand the way the world worked. I was told that money had been budgeted, that they had to use certain funds for certain things and that there just wasn't enough in the soup kitchen slot but they had enough in the carpet slot to continue with that project. There are so many things wrong with this line of thinking, that I could go on all day but I knew that this type of thinking was not the kind of mindset that should be teaching about the word of God.

I severed my ties with them right away.

Walking the path of Jesus is both difficult and easy. We must put what WE want aside and do for others what we can. Feeding the hungry, to me, is more important that what color the carpet is. The church is the people not the building. Once you understand what is required of you, it's easy to look at choices and know if it fits the bill. Does this help only me or does it help all people? Am I working towards a godly world or a world of pleasure and leisure for myself?

I like the balance in your advice. It is easy (it seems) to leave a church rather than deal with the issues that live there.

However, there are folks who will never find a church that lives up to their expectations.

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