What could your church do with a billion dollars?

Pretend that one of the megabillionaires mentioned above lived in your community.  To fulfill the pledge, he gave every church in your community a billion dollars.   What could your church do with that much money?   If all the churches in your community had that kind of money, what do you think would happen?

I intend this not as a fantasy but as a thought experiment.  Would it be an unmitigated blessing, or could it do harm to your congregation?  (If the church could thrive on an endowment and members didn’t have to contribute anymore, what would that do?)  If all the churches decided to get together to end poverty in your town, how might that be done?  (Give each poor person a million dollars so he wouldn’t be poor anymore?)

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://bethanylc.org Rev. C. D. Trouten

    Create a foundation which quietly supplements the salary of every rightly teaching/confessing pastor. This way, if a congregation tries to starve him out because they don’t appreciate the truth, he and his family remain fed & clothed. Also, if he starts teaching falsely, he’s off the gravy train. If his flock is too small to support him, no problem. Rightly teaching/confessing pastors would be free to concentrate on the noble task they have been divinely given.

  • http://bethanylc.org Rev. C. D. Trouten

    Create a foundation which quietly supplements the salary of every rightly teaching/confessing pastor. This way, if a congregation tries to starve him out because they don’t appreciate the truth, he and his family remain fed & clothed. Also, if he starts teaching falsely, he’s off the gravy train. If his flock is too small to support him, no problem. Rightly teaching/confessing pastors would be free to concentrate on the noble task they have been divinely given.

  • http://brbible.org/from-rich Rich Shipe

    Fund solid schools. Start seminaries in developing countries.

  • http://brbible.org/from-rich Rich Shipe

    Fund solid schools. Start seminaries in developing countries.

  • Tom Hering

    “If all the churches in your community had that kind of money, what do you think would happen?”

    Really, really ambitious building projects that really, really leave the congregations in debt. What else? ;-)

  • Tom Hering

    “If all the churches in your community had that kind of money, what do you think would happen?”

    Really, really ambitious building projects that really, really leave the congregations in debt. What else? ;-)

  • Greg Smith

    The greedy heart of man would take over. The congregations would be destroyed.

  • Greg Smith

    The greedy heart of man would take over. The congregations would be destroyed.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Tom & Greg have a good point; easy money can destroy a church by starting a “gold rush”.

    Personally, I think that if I had even a small portion of that amount, I’d see if I could promote the Gospel simply by paying off the debts of the Bible-believing churches in my area–in return for a promise not to go back into debt.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Tom & Greg have a good point; easy money can destroy a church by starting a “gold rush”.

    Personally, I think that if I had even a small portion of that amount, I’d see if I could promote the Gospel simply by paying off the debts of the Bible-believing churches in my area–in return for a promise not to go back into debt.

  • Carl Vehse

    What could your church do with a billion dollars?”

    They could spend it on legal expenses to fight a lawsuit brought by the Missouri Synod claiming the district owns the church’s assets.

  • Carl Vehse

    What could your church do with a billion dollars?”

    They could spend it on legal expenses to fight a lawsuit brought by the Missouri Synod claiming the district owns the church’s assets.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    We could call two or three of those men who didn’t get calls earlier this year, and put them to work in any number of towns in and around Utah, where the mission work needed is staggering.
    (Though, I wouldn’t mind spending some of it trying to get a different building, and daycare going in my town.)

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    We could call two or three of those men who didn’t get calls earlier this year, and put them to work in any number of towns in and around Utah, where the mission work needed is staggering.
    (Though, I wouldn’t mind spending some of it trying to get a different building, and daycare going in my town.)

  • Orianna Laun

    You mean after the exceedingly lengthy elders meeting where the billion dollar committee was established, and the equally lengthy council meeting where the said committee reported their findings and discussed proposals, and the voters assembly to agree or disagree with what the other groups proposed? There’d probably be a deadlock because one group would push for paying off congregational debt, another group would want to invest it to prevent more congregational debt, some would push for building renovations, and a couple lone voices would actually want it used for mission work at home and abroad.
    Call me cynical, but being a pastor’s wife, I know how these things can go in a congregation. I say, donate the lot to LCMS Human Care. I’m sure they could use a billion dollars.

  • Orianna Laun

    You mean after the exceedingly lengthy elders meeting where the billion dollar committee was established, and the equally lengthy council meeting where the said committee reported their findings and discussed proposals, and the voters assembly to agree or disagree with what the other groups proposed? There’d probably be a deadlock because one group would push for paying off congregational debt, another group would want to invest it to prevent more congregational debt, some would push for building renovations, and a couple lone voices would actually want it used for mission work at home and abroad.
    Call me cynical, but being a pastor’s wife, I know how these things can go in a congregation. I say, donate the lot to LCMS Human Care. I’m sure they could use a billion dollars.

  • Mary Jack

    I’d hope we’d start a foundation to pay for Lutheran clergymen to work in retirement homes, probably by circuit, and underright the return of circuit preachers for places too small to support a pastor. With a BILLION dollars I’m sure we could also pay off debt and do petty projects around the property.

  • Mary Jack

    I’d hope we’d start a foundation to pay for Lutheran clergymen to work in retirement homes, probably by circuit, and underright the return of circuit preachers for places too small to support a pastor. With a BILLION dollars I’m sure we could also pay off debt and do petty projects around the property.

  • http://pastoralkorn.blogspot.com Alan

    I’ve seen all too closely what having two *million* dollars in the bank can do to a congregation–the suspicion, the tight-fistedness, the greed. I’d hope not every congregation would be like that, though we all know Satan works hardest in the Church.

  • http://pastoralkorn.blogspot.com Alan

    I’ve seen all too closely what having two *million* dollars in the bank can do to a congregation–the suspicion, the tight-fistedness, the greed. I’d hope not every congregation would be like that, though we all know Satan works hardest in the Church.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    Our church would spend it on medical bills resulting from the collective heart attack of our voter’s assembly.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    Our church would spend it on medical bills resulting from the collective heart attack of our voter’s assembly.

  • MK

    I wouldn’t want it. It would divide and destroy, if history teaches us anything. But if it had to be, I think the best thing would be to invest it well and use a very small percentage of the proceeds within the surrounding community. Do like several Native American tribes do: make sure people don’t benefit personally from the money, other than in a very indirect collective way. I would also like to see the money go to Lutheran schools, from preschool through seminaries. And to restore staff salaries ( all the previous budget cuts). No-interest housing loans would be great, too, based on what the family could conceivably purchase on their own.

    On a humorous (but very sincere) side, we could walk door to door around the neighborhood and offer to buy the property if and when the resident wants to move. Eventually, we could create a neighborhood of families who attend the neighboring church and become a huge presence on the school board and in the community. Worked for the wealthy conservative synagogue in my parents’ neighborhood!

  • MK

    I wouldn’t want it. It would divide and destroy, if history teaches us anything. But if it had to be, I think the best thing would be to invest it well and use a very small percentage of the proceeds within the surrounding community. Do like several Native American tribes do: make sure people don’t benefit personally from the money, other than in a very indirect collective way. I would also like to see the money go to Lutheran schools, from preschool through seminaries. And to restore staff salaries ( all the previous budget cuts). No-interest housing loans would be great, too, based on what the family could conceivably purchase on their own.

    On a humorous (but very sincere) side, we could walk door to door around the neighborhood and offer to buy the property if and when the resident wants to move. Eventually, we could create a neighborhood of families who attend the neighboring church and become a huge presence on the school board and in the community. Worked for the wealthy conservative synagogue in my parents’ neighborhood!

  • http://RoseFremer@yahoo.com Rose

    Carl, Tell me more. Is there a church being seized by the synod?

  • http://RoseFremer@yahoo.com Rose

    Carl, Tell me more. Is there a church being seized by the synod?

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    Actually, I think the greatest challenge would consist in what happened after the media found out that a church received a billion. I am sure they would watch the spending like a hawk, all the while lamenting how many houses in Haiti were not being built…

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    Actually, I think the greatest challenge would consist in what happened after the media found out that a church received a billion. I am sure they would watch the spending like a hawk, all the while lamenting how many houses in Haiti were not being built…

  • Carl Vehse

    Rose,

    For information about the LCMS lawsuit, check out the LCMS lawsuit articles on Reclaim News. The website also has Kieschnick’s sworn deposition from February 17, 2010, and a summary of an Alameda Superior Court hearing on CNHD-LCMS vs. Four Oakland CA Women.

    It’s not a pretty picture.

  • Carl Vehse

    Rose,

    For information about the LCMS lawsuit, check out the LCMS lawsuit articles on Reclaim News. The website also has Kieschnick’s sworn deposition from February 17, 2010, and a summary of an Alameda Superior Court hearing on CNHD-LCMS vs. Four Oakland CA Women.

    It’s not a pretty picture.

  • Carl Vehse

    Rose,

    For information about the LCMS lawsuit, check out the LCMS lawsuit articles on Reclaim News.

  • Carl Vehse

    Rose,

    For information about the LCMS lawsuit, check out the LCMS lawsuit articles on Reclaim News.

  • fws

    1) spend it! Do NOT set up endowments . UNLESS the endowment is to grant some annual prize like the nobel prize , for excellence in writing good lutheran books!

    2) multiply it! use it as a matching gift to stimulate others to give.

    3) Train pastors with the money. This is the main thing churches and synods need to do. Congretations need struggle to pay the salaries. This is a necessary part of righteousness for those congregations.

    4) Build a ridiculously lavish house of worship! God loves the faith that this kind of extravagance can indicate.

    5) bring pastors from poor 3rd world countries to vicar with confessional pastors in the usa and go to our seminaries. (disclosure: I am from Brasil).

    6) give men like Dr Veith a stipend or award so they can go on a sabbatical and focus on prayer, study and writing more books!

  • fws

    1) spend it! Do NOT set up endowments . UNLESS the endowment is to grant some annual prize like the nobel prize , for excellence in writing good lutheran books!

    2) multiply it! use it as a matching gift to stimulate others to give.

    3) Train pastors with the money. This is the main thing churches and synods need to do. Congretations need struggle to pay the salaries. This is a necessary part of righteousness for those congregations.

    4) Build a ridiculously lavish house of worship! God loves the faith that this kind of extravagance can indicate.

    5) bring pastors from poor 3rd world countries to vicar with confessional pastors in the usa and go to our seminaries. (disclosure: I am from Brasil).

    6) give men like Dr Veith a stipend or award so they can go on a sabbatical and focus on prayer, study and writing more books!

  • Peter Leavitt

    Actually, endowment funds are good for churches. I happen to be chair of our church’s endowment fund that allows members to make tax-free contributions. We routinely spend about 5% of the fund for important church capital expenses and community endeavors.

    A billion-dollar fund, however, would be the ruin of most churches, as it would overwhelm the necessity of church members to be generous with annual pledges and long-term endowment-fund contributions.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Actually, endowment funds are good for churches. I happen to be chair of our church’s endowment fund that allows members to make tax-free contributions. We routinely spend about 5% of the fund for important church capital expenses and community endeavors.

    A billion-dollar fund, however, would be the ruin of most churches, as it would overwhelm the necessity of church members to be generous with annual pledges and long-term endowment-fund contributions.

  • http://pastoralkorn.blogspot.com Alan

    Endowments are fine *so long as the endowments are not allowed to sit idle*, lest we become the rich man who keeps building bigger silos to hold the wealth until the Lord requires our soul from us.

  • http://pastoralkorn.blogspot.com Alan

    Endowments are fine *so long as the endowments are not allowed to sit idle*, lest we become the rich man who keeps building bigger silos to hold the wealth until the Lord requires our soul from us.

  • fws

    endowment funds are why there are large empty churches that no longer teach the holy gospel and should have died a grace-ful death long ago.

    accountants can encourage evil things with the best of intentions. I know. I am a CPA.

    I stand by what I say about endowments. they lead to evil and mischief.

  • fws

    endowment funds are why there are large empty churches that no longer teach the holy gospel and should have died a grace-ful death long ago.

    accountants can encourage evil things with the best of intentions. I know. I am a CPA.

    I stand by what I say about endowments. they lead to evil and mischief.

  • Peter Leavitt

    FWS, churches become involved in endowment funds usually due to the wisdom of church leaders, few of whom pay much attention regarding the basic decision to accountants.

    We do appreciate the virtue of our accountant who carefully manages the church books.

  • Peter Leavitt

    FWS, churches become involved in endowment funds usually due to the wisdom of church leaders, few of whom pay much attention regarding the basic decision to accountants.

    We do appreciate the virtue of our accountant who carefully manages the church books.

  • sg

    If we had a billion dollar endowment, we could offer free Lutheran education for the children of the members of the congregation and the other nearby congregations to get our kids out of government schools and give them a Christ centered education.

  • sg

    If we had a billion dollar endowment, we could offer free Lutheran education for the children of the members of the congregation and the other nearby congregations to get our kids out of government schools and give them a Christ centered education.

  • Joanne

    LC-MS congregations are self-governing groups, and, unless they owe money to the Synod, they can make their own determinations about how to dispatch the BILLION dollars through the lawful working of their group structure. As the pastor’s wife knows so well that means meetings and committees, and lots of voting.

    This will mostly be a manly thing, but half the women will be modern, talking at the meetings and voting, while the other half of the women will not speak or vote at the meetings, still following the old ways.

    If the congregation is a large, old German one in the Midwest, they will keep the Synod and the District at arms-length, seeing them as helpful in a tangential way after all the ownership questions are settled and the money is safely under congreational control.

    If the congregation is a newer, mission generated group in the sunbelt, they will look right away to the Synod and the District (S&D) for guidance and might even be relieved to have S&D take over large parts of the legal/professional dealings involved in handling one BILLION dollars.

    Now, there are 35 other churches in our community that just received one BILLION dollars, and 3 other LC-MS congregations. We are already the least poor area of our State, so locally taking care of the poor is going to be a slam-dunk. As the studies tell us, they are already obese and have cable TV and cell-phones and attractive semi-detached government housing with landscaping.

    There are the professionally poor who go from town to town to hit the food banks; we’ve even got them covered fairly well. It’s those emergency poor and special needs folks that are the most rewarding to help though, and that might be a funding op. Would the community want to fund such things from a cummunity chest type thing from the communal $35 BILLION. Helping the poor of the community is not preaching the Gospel, so it can be done in commnity. Or can it?

    Would the four LC-MS congregations want to work together? Hell no! But, maybe yes. All four would definitely want to send money to missions. So, they would want to coordinate which missions, at the least. That’s a start. S&D would be so helpful here.

    Christian education? Some are agin it. How! We are way out here at the end of the road where those with slippery ideas like to hide out. Christian education would do us a world of good, always would have, but that’s what they cum here ter git away from.

    That broaches the subject of disagrements about how to spend the money. There will be legion. Money will be wasted. That’s why first the money needs to be put aside in a safe holding place, earning a low to medium rate of interest, while folks take all the time they need to discust what to do with it. The must put a time limit on the discust period. A BILLION dollars will earn more money than the churches will know what to do with during the discust period. That in itself will remind them they are drinking from a fire hydrant.

    When expecting decisions and actions from a committee/group, I don’t expect much and I don’t expect it anytime soon. I think each church will have a Devil of a time managing and spending that money. These BILLIONAIRES should give the money with some assistance in the management thereof, like already invested money. Timelimits for decisions and expenditures.

  • Joanne

    LC-MS congregations are self-governing groups, and, unless they owe money to the Synod, they can make their own determinations about how to dispatch the BILLION dollars through the lawful working of their group structure. As the pastor’s wife knows so well that means meetings and committees, and lots of voting.

    This will mostly be a manly thing, but half the women will be modern, talking at the meetings and voting, while the other half of the women will not speak or vote at the meetings, still following the old ways.

    If the congregation is a large, old German one in the Midwest, they will keep the Synod and the District at arms-length, seeing them as helpful in a tangential way after all the ownership questions are settled and the money is safely under congreational control.

    If the congregation is a newer, mission generated group in the sunbelt, they will look right away to the Synod and the District (S&D) for guidance and might even be relieved to have S&D take over large parts of the legal/professional dealings involved in handling one BILLION dollars.

    Now, there are 35 other churches in our community that just received one BILLION dollars, and 3 other LC-MS congregations. We are already the least poor area of our State, so locally taking care of the poor is going to be a slam-dunk. As the studies tell us, they are already obese and have cable TV and cell-phones and attractive semi-detached government housing with landscaping.

    There are the professionally poor who go from town to town to hit the food banks; we’ve even got them covered fairly well. It’s those emergency poor and special needs folks that are the most rewarding to help though, and that might be a funding op. Would the community want to fund such things from a cummunity chest type thing from the communal $35 BILLION. Helping the poor of the community is not preaching the Gospel, so it can be done in commnity. Or can it?

    Would the four LC-MS congregations want to work together? Hell no! But, maybe yes. All four would definitely want to send money to missions. So, they would want to coordinate which missions, at the least. That’s a start. S&D would be so helpful here.

    Christian education? Some are agin it. How! We are way out here at the end of the road where those with slippery ideas like to hide out. Christian education would do us a world of good, always would have, but that’s what they cum here ter git away from.

    That broaches the subject of disagrements about how to spend the money. There will be legion. Money will be wasted. That’s why first the money needs to be put aside in a safe holding place, earning a low to medium rate of interest, while folks take all the time they need to discust what to do with it. The must put a time limit on the discust period. A BILLION dollars will earn more money than the churches will know what to do with during the discust period. That in itself will remind them they are drinking from a fire hydrant.

    When expecting decisions and actions from a committee/group, I don’t expect much and I don’t expect it anytime soon. I think each church will have a Devil of a time managing and spending that money. These BILLIONAIRES should give the money with some assistance in the management thereof, like already invested money. Timelimits for decisions and expenditures.

  • LAJ

    I would hope that most of the money would go to missions and to the synod so that more people can hear the Gospel through missions and publications. And how about some wonderful art for the sanctuaries and also for pipe organs in every church in the synod!

  • LAJ

    I would hope that most of the money would go to missions and to the synod so that more people can hear the Gospel through missions and publications. And how about some wonderful art for the sanctuaries and also for pipe organs in every church in the synod!

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    It should also be noted that, given even a somewhat below average income, many large churches DO have an annual income of hundreds of millions of dollars among their congregants–even many small churches can point to gross income in the millions of dollars among the flock.

    It reminds me of the old joke about the new pastor who finally cured the church’s budget woes. When asked how, he noted that he’d simply gotten the grain elevator to take a tithe from each farmer’s fields.

    I assume it was just a joke, but there is a reality that if God’s people actually took Him seriously with Malachi 3:10, there would be a LOT of things churches could do that they’re not doing today.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    It should also be noted that, given even a somewhat below average income, many large churches DO have an annual income of hundreds of millions of dollars among their congregants–even many small churches can point to gross income in the millions of dollars among the flock.

    It reminds me of the old joke about the new pastor who finally cured the church’s budget woes. When asked how, he noted that he’d simply gotten the grain elevator to take a tithe from each farmer’s fields.

    I assume it was just a joke, but there is a reality that if God’s people actually took Him seriously with Malachi 3:10, there would be a LOT of things churches could do that they’re not doing today.

  • Joanne

    Now, suppose a BILLIONAIRE gave me one BILLION dollars and said I should spend it on the church. I would attemp to payoff the debt of all the Lutheran day schools in America and Canada. If I have any money left over, I’ll invest it to produce seed money for Lutheran day school startups. I’ll cooperate with any currently exixting synode or Thrivent programs.

    A second BILLION dollars ditto for Lutheran High Schools.
    A third BILLION dollars ditto for Lutheran Academia/Seminaria
    A fouth BILLION dollars ditto for Lutheran missions
    A fifth BILLION dollars ditto for Lutheran church extension

  • Joanne

    Now, suppose a BILLIONAIRE gave me one BILLION dollars and said I should spend it on the church. I would attemp to payoff the debt of all the Lutheran day schools in America and Canada. If I have any money left over, I’ll invest it to produce seed money for Lutheran day school startups. I’ll cooperate with any currently exixting synode or Thrivent programs.

    A second BILLION dollars ditto for Lutheran High Schools.
    A third BILLION dollars ditto for Lutheran Academia/Seminaria
    A fouth BILLION dollars ditto for Lutheran missions
    A fifth BILLION dollars ditto for Lutheran church extension

  • Tom Hering

    The scriptural guide for us in this matter is 2nd Corinthians, chapters 8 and 9. The opinion of St. Paul (not a command) is for congregations to overflow in generosity toward other congregations.

    “For this is not for the ease of others and for your affliction, but by way of equality – at this present time your abundance being a supply for their need, so that their abundance also may become a supply for your need, that there may be equality; as it is written, ‘HE WHO GATHERED MUCH DID NOT HAVE TOO MUCH, AND HE WHO GATHERED LITTLE HAD NO LACK.’” (2nd Corinthians 8:13-15.)

  • Tom Hering

    The scriptural guide for us in this matter is 2nd Corinthians, chapters 8 and 9. The opinion of St. Paul (not a command) is for congregations to overflow in generosity toward other congregations.

    “For this is not for the ease of others and for your affliction, but by way of equality – at this present time your abundance being a supply for their need, so that their abundance also may become a supply for your need, that there may be equality; as it is written, ‘HE WHO GATHERED MUCH DID NOT HAVE TOO MUCH, AND HE WHO GATHERED LITTLE HAD NO LACK.’” (2nd Corinthians 8:13-15.)

  • Bob E

    I know of more than one congregation who even hearing that a bequest was coming led the members to stop giving. And this is more than a financial problem. In essence a Christian doesn’t give because there is a need for the money but because there is a spiritual need for the Christian to give. We give because he first gave himself for us and that doesn’t depend on the need for the money, or time, or talent either. It’s a sad spiritual situation when Christ’s people don’t give because they think there is no need for their money. We give because we need to so our faith can have an outlet and grow even more. And to not use the money would reenact the parable of the rich man who built bigger barns until he was called by God to heaven. I hate to think what Christ will say when he returns and a church has a huge endowment or savings account. “Why did you keep all that money and not do what I gave it to you for?” is what he’ll say.

  • Bob E

    I know of more than one congregation who even hearing that a bequest was coming led the members to stop giving. And this is more than a financial problem. In essence a Christian doesn’t give because there is a need for the money but because there is a spiritual need for the Christian to give. We give because he first gave himself for us and that doesn’t depend on the need for the money, or time, or talent either. It’s a sad spiritual situation when Christ’s people don’t give because they think there is no need for their money. We give because we need to so our faith can have an outlet and grow even more. And to not use the money would reenact the parable of the rich man who built bigger barns until he was called by God to heaven. I hate to think what Christ will say when he returns and a church has a huge endowment or savings account. “Why did you keep all that money and not do what I gave it to you for?” is what he’ll say.

  • The Jones

    My church recently hit a period where our money was drying up. Our church had been through a great deal of trials in the previous two years, including our senior pastor of 20 years having to be removed due to an affair of sorts (I never got the details, and I don’t want them) with his secretary, who was the wife of an elder. But as we saw fewer people in attendance, fewer ministry activities, and extremely disturbing to us, a significant drop in the number of baptisms our church performed, we knew something was seriously wrong. Not everything can be explained away with a scandal. This dry period caused us to seriously look at our church, and the picture wasn’t great. Luckily, our wise elder board treated the money problem as a symptom and not the problem itself, and we undertook a serious effort of prayer to cry out to God for our rescue, counsel with other churches and pastors for guidance, and an open and honest discussion about where our church was not meeting the needs of the body.

    While we’re still struggling through this, the fruit already has been amazing. Never before have I seen such support for one another in our body as we seek after the will of God. We had to cut our church payroll in half, laying off some of our pastors and significantly cutting the pay of others, but God has been faithful so far in providing many of those families with other sources of income to make up the difference. Our congregation has kicked it into high gear filling ministry needs, especially concentrating on the fact that we live in a college town with hundreds of international students. (God tells us to go to bring the word to every nation. But if 20 or 30 nations come to you, I’m sure God won’t mind you taking advantage of the shortcut.) Individual members have stepped up to the plate as needs have become apparent and spiritual gifts are being sought after.

    Not only that, but during this time our church body was able to reconcile with a group of believers who left our church and started another due to a fierce and personal dispute 15 years ago. This was a visceral wound that plagued dozens of lives. In our small college town, we had cut ourselves off from people, sometimes not even speaking to or seeing one another for over a decade while living in the same place. And this was between people who had been close friends and partners in the faith. Surface level acquaintances usually give surface level wounds. True friends and confidants can cause true pain and cut to the heart. But by God’s grace, we now see one another as sister churches, sharing resources and helping one another. How wonderful it was to see redemption and healing. How supernatural it was that such a thing could so spontaneously take place. And how peaceful it is when Paul’s plea in Philippians for Euodia and Syntyche to agree in the Lord is fulfilled.

    I’m not so sure what our church would do with a billion dollars. Maybe we would pay off the note on our building that we recently built. That’s possible. I’m not the money expert for my church. But as a member of my congregation who has been blessed by the trials and discipline of the Lord for the past year, I hope my church would just say, “no thanks” and give it back.

  • The Jones

    My church recently hit a period where our money was drying up. Our church had been through a great deal of trials in the previous two years, including our senior pastor of 20 years having to be removed due to an affair of sorts (I never got the details, and I don’t want them) with his secretary, who was the wife of an elder. But as we saw fewer people in attendance, fewer ministry activities, and extremely disturbing to us, a significant drop in the number of baptisms our church performed, we knew something was seriously wrong. Not everything can be explained away with a scandal. This dry period caused us to seriously look at our church, and the picture wasn’t great. Luckily, our wise elder board treated the money problem as a symptom and not the problem itself, and we undertook a serious effort of prayer to cry out to God for our rescue, counsel with other churches and pastors for guidance, and an open and honest discussion about where our church was not meeting the needs of the body.

    While we’re still struggling through this, the fruit already has been amazing. Never before have I seen such support for one another in our body as we seek after the will of God. We had to cut our church payroll in half, laying off some of our pastors and significantly cutting the pay of others, but God has been faithful so far in providing many of those families with other sources of income to make up the difference. Our congregation has kicked it into high gear filling ministry needs, especially concentrating on the fact that we live in a college town with hundreds of international students. (God tells us to go to bring the word to every nation. But if 20 or 30 nations come to you, I’m sure God won’t mind you taking advantage of the shortcut.) Individual members have stepped up to the plate as needs have become apparent and spiritual gifts are being sought after.

    Not only that, but during this time our church body was able to reconcile with a group of believers who left our church and started another due to a fierce and personal dispute 15 years ago. This was a visceral wound that plagued dozens of lives. In our small college town, we had cut ourselves off from people, sometimes not even speaking to or seeing one another for over a decade while living in the same place. And this was between people who had been close friends and partners in the faith. Surface level acquaintances usually give surface level wounds. True friends and confidants can cause true pain and cut to the heart. But by God’s grace, we now see one another as sister churches, sharing resources and helping one another. How wonderful it was to see redemption and healing. How supernatural it was that such a thing could so spontaneously take place. And how peaceful it is when Paul’s plea in Philippians for Euodia and Syntyche to agree in the Lord is fulfilled.

    I’m not so sure what our church would do with a billion dollars. Maybe we would pay off the note on our building that we recently built. That’s possible. I’m not the money expert for my church. But as a member of my congregation who has been blessed by the trials and discipline of the Lord for the past year, I hope my church would just say, “no thanks” and give it back.

  • Dan Kempin

    All the money in the world will not do any good for the church without willing workers, who are not in it for the money, and all that money would likely attract “hirelings” anyway.

    Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field.

  • Dan Kempin

    All the money in the world will not do any good for the church without willing workers, who are not in it for the money, and all that money would likely attract “hirelings” anyway.

    Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field.

  • molloaggie

    The new Thrivent program allows the members to choose where their donations go now. We had a meeting recently about setting up a special board to receive those grant requests. I’ve never seen people volunteer so fast before!

  • molloaggie

    The new Thrivent program allows the members to choose where their donations go now. We had a meeting recently about setting up a special board to receive those grant requests. I’ve never seen people volunteer so fast before!

  • http://forestboar.wordpress.com Lincoln Winter

    As I often tell my church council : Congregations with large amounts of money invariably fight over the money. Congregations that are poor have very little to fight over and so are generally happy places to be. In God’s great mercy and love he keeps my congregation very happy, and I hope that he continues to do so.

  • http://forestboar.wordpress.com Lincoln Winter

    As I often tell my church council : Congregations with large amounts of money invariably fight over the money. Congregations that are poor have very little to fight over and so are generally happy places to be. In God’s great mercy and love he keeps my congregation very happy, and I hope that he continues to do so.


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