Recently, I had a brother, whom I did not know, contact me via email. He ran across The Forerunner website and this blog. We eventually spoke on the telephone for awhile as he asked me questions about “what we do”.
“How are you funded?”
Listen, this brother wasn’t the first nor will he be the last, to ask this question.
I chuckled, “What do you mean?”
“Well,” he hesitated…….”how do you make a living and how are you able to do what you do in ministry?”
I explained that I worked a job and that my wife runs her interior design firm.
“So, when you go on ministry trips, who pays for it?” he enquired.
i explained how that when the Spirit directs us to go somewhere, He also moves on the hearts of brothers/sisters in communities with whom we relate here in North Texas and across the U.S. to support the mission in every way including financially. I know it has turned into a cliche but the truth of the matter is “Where God guides, He provides.” And, it is true that His PROvision is for His Vision.
“And you people don’t get a deduction for giving?” he asked in a somewhat skeptical tone.
I explained how that Father had dealt with us about releasing our 501-C3 organization and how that giving actually increased after having done so. It takes a mature spiritual people to walk together and give in such a manner.
The conversation ended and I haven’t heard from the brother since. It’s okay. He was curious about certain things and I was able to satisfy that curiosity, I reckon. At the end of our conversation, he all but said that he still didn’t understand fully how we do what we do. I wasn’t surprised. As long as you seek “how to DO church” rather than “how to BE Church and walk under Father’s rule”, you are going to to continue to have problems reconciling what WE think it oughta look like with what He intended it to be.
Again, this brother was only one of many, many people who have asked such questions over the years. That is as it should be.
My dear brother, Stephen Crosby, recently released a new book entitled, Money and the Church: A Better Way of Living and Giving. In my opinion, this book is a must read for any believer who is truly interested in being a Kingdom seeker. You can order a hard copy or even download a .pdf of the book onto your computer or e-reader. Read the book!
As an endorsement for the book, I wrote:
“Perhaps the greatest manifestation of Spirit-led living ever seen was not found in the powerful preaching of the apostles or the incredible miracles that took place by their hands, but, rather, it was revealed through the unselfishness manifested by the church in their giving. If the Church is to truly function according to the Kingdom, one of the final strongholds that must be conquered by believers today is the subject of money and giving. The time has come for mature believers to embrace the Way of the Kingdom and release antiquated concepts regarding finances that have kept them bound to a worldly system.”
In the book, there are many vital issues that Crosby addresses in a much better and more in-depth manner than I ever could. But, after having read the book and allowing it to marinate my mind/spirit, I feel prompted to say some things.
The first one is, AMEN! Read the book.
After that, I think it is important to realize the huge gap that exists in the idea and practice of giving in Christendom. Again, Crosby does a superb job in laying this whole thing out. The gap is extremely wide. It is a chasm of monumental proportions.
There are those who are still entrapped in the church system and the giving of the tithe to the “storehouse” which, in their minds, is the local church org complete with a paid staff, facility, programs, etc. On the other end of the spectrum are the brothers/sister who have been freed from the “system” and, apparently, also freed from giving to anything/anybody at all for any reason.
Now, what I am about to say is tempered by the fact that Father has dealt with me, my wife and the brothers/sisters with whom we walk with in the Kingdom in an extreme manner about money/giving over an extended period of time. I’m talking years here; not months. For 15 years or so, we have faced many individual challenges regarding finances and we have learned how, as a corporate expression, to allow the Holy Spirit to lead us in giving. It has spilled over from just a local understanding and function and is now understood/functioning on a national scale.
The point to all of this is that, because of what we have been through and the fact that money IS NOT NECESSARY to establish, build or advance the Kingdom, we have been freed from the spell of filthy lucre. Being freed from mammon permits the release of finances to address temporal needs in the lives of brothers/sisters in extremely practical ways that are accompanied with spiritual authenticity and power………………..namely love.
Money is NOT evil. It is simply a tool. The love of money and hoarding it and finding our security in it, trusting in it as if it can sustain us is what is evil. What is more evil, especially in the case of professing Christians, is to have “money” and not release it to brothers/sisters in need around them. To do so is to reveal the fact that we don’t understand the New Testament scriptures and, what is worse, we are not familiar with the New Life and Nature that we claim we have received in Christ.
I will say it again, “If the Church is to truly function according to the Kingdom, one of the final strongholds that must be conquered by believers today is the subject of money and giving. The time has come for mature believers to embrace the Way of the Kingdom and release antiquated concepts regarding finances that have kept them bound to a worldly system.”
In following posts, I am going to continue to speak out regarding money and the Church that functions under the rule of God concerning money and giving. I am going to share real life experiences and I am going to be frank and open about the blockages and resistances that we’ve seen when it comes to God’s People and giving. When it comes to these issues, there is a transition taking place in the earth and it is being directed by Father’s Hand and His Family is responding.
Keep your peace!