The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls . . . So wrote Simon and Garfunkel in their 1966 hit song, The Sound of Silence. If we pay close attention, we will find that the secular artists (poets, musicians, authors, etc.) of a culture often speak kingdom values and insights to the people of God with a clarity not found among the people of God.
Money is one of the most controversial issues in the life of the church. Is there an alternative to the guilt, shame, coercion, and threat-of-being-cursed-based giving of an alleged Malachi tithe, or “I give when I feel the Lord tells me to” mantra? (Which typically translates into: rarely and not much, or when it is convenient, which it never is). Yes, there is. In this final installment of the Church Refugee Sanity Guide, we talk about giving as an integral part of the new covenant and of the life of Christ. It is not just our money. It is about our time and talents as well. Giving can be done cheerfully with grace, love, and liberty apart from any institutional construct.
One of the reasons we often overlook supporting real-deal equippers is due to the very fact that they are so down to earth, humble, approachable, authentic, and familiar. It is so odd. In our past we readily supporting distant celebrity preachers in a pulpit with whom we may have never had a personal private moment. We voluntarily “tithed” to see that person compensated. Yet now that we don’t do that any more, we react to the idea of supporting those we are close to. If familiarity breeds contempt, it often manifests in our financial relationship to those who truly equip us. This blog is the last of a four-part series by Loren Rosser and is posted by permission.
Most the folks who have angst about supporting equippers have been stuck with the wrong equippers. They’ve encountered the charlatans, the big shot, the power hungry, greedy, selfish, know-it-all, wannabes. Some who have encountered the genuine article didn’t even recognize them as such. Their religious training had taught them that whoever is in the pulpit on Sunday is equipping them for ministry, whether or not real equipping was taking place. This blog is the third in a four-part series by Loren Rosser and posted here by permission.
If someone were to ask me to place a monetary value on the equipping I have received in my life it would be impossible to come up with a number. What value does one place on being grounded in Him? Coming up with a monetary value is impossible because the things of the Spirit are worth far more than those of the temporal. Yet the scriptures are clear these gifts I have received have economic value. This blog is the second of a four part series by Loren Rosser and is posted by permission.
Many are moving away from mandatory financial obligation within religious systems. They are pursuing genuine relational connections within the body of Christ. However, the issue of financial compensation of those who function within the body of Christ in a full-time capacity of Ephesian 4 equippers is a controversial and reactionary topic. There’s currently a standoff of sorts taking place within in the body of Christ. This blog is the first in a four-part series by Loren Rosser and is posted by permission.
How should we fund ministry efforts (local and trans-local) in the kingdom of Jesus Christ, in a new covenant, grace-based, non-coercive way in community? On the one hand there’s the way we’ve been doing it for centuries, that I hope to have convinced you in this book is at least lacking if not utterly broken: tithe to an impersonal institution to support a professional class of full-time clergy who are the real “ministers.” On the other hand, there are the more reactionary elements who believe that no individual, under any circumstance, should be compensated in preference over an another, as we are all equal as “ministers”–the gift of hospitality is as worthy of compensation as preaching and teaching.
It’s obvious that the long-term future belongs to the youngest current generations of adults, The Millennials. The beliefs, values, and giving habits of this generation must be understood if we are going to effectively speak their language, in incarnational love, on the topic of finances and giving.
Is there a better way to express a culture of giving and receiving than blindly throwing ten percent into the mouth of a voracious, impersonal, non-relational, religious machine that consumes resources like the Borg assimilating the universe?[i] I think there is.
But there as many opinions on this topic as there are believers!
Acts 16:14 speaks of a woman named Lydia who was a “seller of purple” who responded to Paul’s preaching and offered to host Paul and his team in her home. Lydia’s gender, her being a “seller of purple,” and her means to be able to accommodate Paul and his band are significant to understanding the implications of this passage.