Francis Chan raised a question that I am still trying to wrap my mind around: What if Churches were known more for giving then taking? I tried a few attempts to write this blog entry, but I cannot seem to get my thoughts in line. Perhaps that is why Chan’s question is so potent. Here is what I have observed and sensed:
Meeting the needs of the disadvantage:
In many conservative circles the worry is about following the “social gospel.” They point fingers accusing of other churches or ministries as being part of the social gospel. These anti-social gospel churches are not against disadvantaged people, but they not known for being actively there for the disadvantaged.
Market driven content:
Market forces play a huge role in church curriculum, books and conferences. This often leads to a loss of historical knowledge or ideas that are incredible and often needed today. Its hard to support such financially if one uses a market approach. A worker is worthy of his hire, and we must follow the laws of the land. The bigger trend seems being more capitalistic then one church body. We love to protect or control what we feel is ours, whether physical or intellectual.
The data supports that relational evangelism and church plants are the top ways to lead people to Christ. Yet, why are so many churches not actively pushing church planting? Mega churches have grown who throughout their growth also planted churches. These churches planted and they grew at the same time. I have no clue how to process this one. It is perplexing to me. I see ‘wisdom’ on both sides of the discussion.
What does it look like for a church to be giving? Not only to the community, but to the church community as well. Looking back at history, it seems we as churches like to give seconds. I saw this all the time in the area of missions. (I cringe stories of missionaries who were sent used tea bags.) We discuss with the church’s walls the need to give our best to God. What does giving our best to God as local church bodies look like?
I think the bottom line is the question: What if churches were more known for giving? I think this raises more questions and calls for more thinking. Perhaps this is the next big question Christ wants the church to deal with in the next few years to come. I wonder if the real issue is that as churches we desire control more than anything? To give ultimately means losing our grip on what we can control.
I wish I had more answers, but for now only questions. It would be fun to see this become a broad discussion amongst our churches.