This is the second post on income in the series “The 21st Century Church” here on BeDeviant.com. You can read the first post here.
We’ve covered online giving, now let’s get a litte creative and brainstorm some ideas to generate revenue for churches and ministries. Keep in mind that money is not a bad thing and is 100% necessary to do the work of ministry:
- We can’t buy buildings, sound systems, communion bread, crayons for VBS, or crossing guard vests for the parking lot attendants without it.
- We can’t give it to local or global missions that God calls us to if we don’t have it.
- We can’t support people in their time of need if we don’t possess it.
The fine line is making sure our money doesn’t possess us. I think we need to get over our fear that desiring money is somehow inherently evil.
“But Justin,” you say, “Jesus said that money is the root of all evil!” Actually, Jesus didn’t say that, Paul did. And Paul didn’t even say that. He said “the love of money is the root of all evil.” Jesus said you can’t serve two mastersÃ¢â‚¬â€œit’s either going to be God or money.
The church has incorrectly assumed that Jesus wants us to all be poor andÃ‚Â take whatever table scraps are thrown at our feet. This assumption, while based in what seems to be holy motives, is ultimately what’s keeping a lot of the church to remain the “tail” and not the “head”.
This attitude ultimately leaves those inside the kingdom who have been given tremendous abilities to create wealth out in the cold. So they go elsewhereÃ¢â‚¬â€œinto the business world, stock market, etc.Ã¢â‚¬â€œand generate income there. And the church loses out on their talents because we think the Bible says something it actually doesn’t.
I assert that we need to be cautious with our money motives, constantly offering them up to the Spirit for “weeding out” the sin and replacing it with the divine opposite. I also assert that now, more than ever, followers of Jesus need to be asking for prophetic imagination for creative ways in which to generate income.
As Dave Ramsey puts it quoting Margaret Thatcher, “No one would remeber the Good Samartian if he were broke.” Think of what a body of believers could do if financial resources were not an obstacle. We see it happen in the non-church world all the time:
- Anything that Oprah has ever asked anybody to give to. Ever.
- Gap’s RED campaign.
- Lance Armstrong’s LIVESTRONG bracelets.
- Any disaster relief concert that’s ever been done in the past 10 years here in the US.
- Churches were economic resource centers for their communities, giving out microloans to hundreds of different people both home and abroad? The resulting entrepreneurial surge would boost the local economies and create more jobs in the process.
- Churches were havens of creativity for entrepreneursÃ¢â‚¬â€œallowing them to explore ideas that generated income for the church and, yes, even generating income for themselves?
- Churches figured out a way to market the unique content being developed inside their walls weekly in a way that honored the heart of God?
I seem to remember a story a really smart guy once told. He seemed to believe that generating more money was a good thing and burying money (i.e. not generating income) was a really, really bad idea. Maybe we should listen to him? What do you think?
How can we in the church creatively generate income in God-honoring ways?