Interesting phenomenon going on here at our little faith community.

Like most churches, we are consumed with dollars: What's the budget doing? Why are people not giving? How can we get them to give them more? or in a more timely manner? or consistent with our budget?

Maybe that's not fair, but alas we are, indeed, behind budget to the tune of about $20k. Nobody's freaking out here (because we know there's an author in the community who regularly tithes a $10 - 20k royalty check in the spring - how messed up is it that we know that?), but we are preparing to start bringing to this the larger community's attention.

But in the meantime, a strange thing is going on...

We have a fund that exists outside of our general budget. We maintain it for people who fall on unexpected hard times. Very much birthed out of Acts 2 in the bible: all the believers sharing out of their wealth and blessings with those who had needs. If someone is in need in our community, they answer a few questions, and a few mature people make a determination whether or not the church can/should respond to those needs. For most months since I've been at this community, the fund has limped along at a couple of hundred dollars, which was enough to help someone with a car repair or something like that.

But lately, it's been growing. Mind you, it's not really publicized or pushed from the "platform". Some people know that it's there, and that's about it. Yet, week in and week out for about the past 6 weeks, as our budget has been falling further and further behind, it has grown to about $10 thousand dollars. TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS, freely given for needs.

I have two reactions to this. First, I am exceedingly proud of our community for taking initiative to take care of our own. Second, however, it forces uncomfortable questions into my mind. JESUS questions. GOSPEL questions. Like, "What does this say about people's attitude towards the church, and giving to its work?" I mean, if the measure of a a person values can be found in his or her pocketbook, it's awesome that they value helping those in need, but is it also a cautionary tale about our bloated programming budgets and hefty salaries?

What is God trying to tell us through this community's giving, and how can the church get behind it and/or join with it? To date, we've almost been talking about it like it's a problem: "Why won't they give this money to the general budget?' That's the most terrifying thing. We treat it like a problem.

I think God is trying to hint at something that he wants to do in His Kingdom.


At 9:05 AM , Blogger beth said...

Awesome and thought provoking...never heard of such a thing happening.



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