Should the church be run like a business? Is the church really a business?
The church is a non-profit group or body of believers who pool all of their resources, experience, skills, and gifts together for one common purpose; to glorify God and to rescue the perishing of the world, however there must be structure in the church in order to avoid chaos. The Apostle Paul reminds us that “God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints” (1st Cor 14:33), so there must be organization and order in the church. Churches have constitutions, policies, and bylaws to protect the church membership, to protect the church’s resources, and to protect church leadership. It is nothing like a business unless it’s the business of heaven which it to focus on Christ, glorifying Him, and reaching out to the lost. It’s not about making money; it’s about making disciples after Jesus Christ’s own heart.
The church is not in the business of making a profit but of making the children of God. It’s not about filling the pews or the parking lot; it’s about filling heaven, however each one of us will have to give an account for what we’ve done and not done in this life but it’s not a business; the church is an organization, established by God for the primary purpose of worshiping Him and spreading the good news of salvation to mankind and we will be held accountable for what we do and what we don’t do in being given the Great Commission (Matt 28:19-20). That’s why Paul wrote that we are to “give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver” (2nd Cor 9:7). The CEO of the church is not the pastor or the board of elders but Jesus Christ Himself Who established the church. The church focuses on the role of concern for followers (love), about the place of truth in leadership (integrity), about bringing order out of chaos (1st Timothy, Titus), about leaders as models (1st Timothy, Titus, (1st Cor 11:1), about leadership character (1st Timothy, Titus), and about generational and gender relationships (1st Timothy, Titus).
The Business of Churches
The Apostle Paul was never once concerned about the church surviving, instead he was concerned that “you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth” (1st Tim3:15) and so he wrote that Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church as “He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph 4:11-13). That’s the business that the church is concerned with. Not surviving, not making money, not building more buildings; it’s all about spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ so that others might be saved. God has placed the members where He wills and so it’s not really our decision. It is Jesus’ church and we must understand that it’s not our church nor is it any man’s.
No Business but God’s Business
There is nothing in the Bible that indicates that the church is a business but for many who teach the health, wealth, and prosperity gospel, that’s all they are concerned about. They beg for “seeds of faith” so that they can get richer and are fleecing the flock because they’re in it for gain, which is just what the Bible teaches ought never to be done (1st Tim 3:3, 8). Tragically, some “preachers” are bilking widows out of their life savings to build something man-made, much like the Tower of Babel, but it will end in the same way that the tower did. It will suddenly come crashing down all around them someday, even if it doesn’t happen till Christ’s return.
The church is not a business but we are in the business of reaching the lost for Christ as we are commanded to go into all the world and to make disciples of all people and then teach these people the very same things that Jesus taught His disciples. The command to “go” means that we are to be His witnesses, even if it means we go right next door, yet few Christians today seem to care about rescuing the perishing. Many are only interested in keeping to themselves and not reaching out to lost family members, co-workers, friends, and even strangers on the street but that’s the business of heaven that we’re in.
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.