Pass the Plate?
By Jeff Klick
Why don't we "pass the plate" around here? Most all churches take an offering of some type or another. Most churches have a hymn or time of giving thanks while the plate is passed up and down the aisles. Why don't we? We have chosen to have what is called a "retiring offering". This refers to a box in the back of the building with a hole in the top where people can place their tithes and offerings without any notice.
While the Bible does not give any specific directions about this, there are different types of offerings mentioned. We model our type after the story in2 Kings 12:9, "Jehoiada the priest took a chest and bored a hole in its lid. He placed it beside the alter, on the right side as one enters the temple of the Lord. The priests who guarded the entrance put into the chest all the money that was brought to the temple of the Lord."
Our thoughts are that there is way too much emphasis on money in the church. It seems like someone is always talking about the lack of it, or the need for additional funds. Most non-believers say something like, "I don't go to church because all they do is beg for money," or "doesn't the pastor ever talk about anything other than money," or "churches always seem so money hungry," etc., etc., etc. In starting this church, we decided that we would not ask for money. If God's hand is on us, we will have the funds necessary. If not, then we should shut it down and go home anyway!
A famous missionary said, God's work done God's way will never lack God's provision, and He is just as able to provide the money ahead of time as afterward, so you don 't need to borrow either!" We agree with this statement. It is one of the reasons we do not take an offering or want the church to go into debt - ever.
We're not saying that it is wrong or sinful to take offerings. The apostle Paul, in several cities, took offerings for the poor. In the Book of Acts money was laid at the Apostle's feet in front of everyone. And who can forget two people being killed over that one offering in Acts Chapter 5? Every pastor and every church needs to obey the Lord as He gives them direction. Here at Hope, we feel this is the direction God has given us. Money will be handled in a very low-key manner.
We encourage Christians to be obedient in tithing and the giving of offerings. The Book of Malachi is very specific about this. Proverbs and many other Scriptures are clear as to giving of offerings and alms. In the New TestamentPaul spoke a great deal about being a giver. We are not against giving, just the emphasis that many place on it.
Our heart at this church is to focus on the Lord, our individual families, our church family, and the lost, not on whether we have an abundance of money or a beautiful facility. If God wants to give us these things - great. If not, we want to keep our focus on Him and His plan for us. All too often money becomes a major distraction....