God's Plan of Church Finance
It goes without argument that God has planned everything in connection with the work of a local congregation. He has not left to man the responsibility of deciding what the church is to do or how it is to finance its work.
"Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God has prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come" (I Cor. 16: 1-2).
It has been contended that this authorization is for the "collection for the poor saints" only, and is not a pattern for collection of money to defray the regular expenses of the church. Such contention is not well founded. Here we have a work to be done by the church, a work demanding the gathering of finance. How is gathering to be done? By a free-will offering on the first day of each week. If then there is another work to be done by the church, how is it to be financed? We answer, by the same procedure, and if not, WHY NOT? If this method of gathering funds for the relief of poor saints is wise in the mind of the Lord, is it not also wise in the gathering of funds for other works? If we are to accept this as the Lord's plan of collecting money we should regard it as being inclusive and exclusive. It includes a free-will contribution in the first day of the week and it excludes the raising of money in any other way. The first is accepted by most brethren, but the second is thought not to be binding, that is, we can raise money any way we desire. Such is being practiced by many congregations as is evidenced by the following:
A small bank will be mailed to each member of the congregation with a suggested date for its return. We are suggesting that each member methodically save a few coins or bills each day and place them in this bank. If everyone will set a goal of a minimum of $5.00 in each bank and return them on the suggested day, this amount will help increase our building fund. Remember the bank will take bills of any denomination.
This suggested plan of raising money seems to be an admission that the Lord's plan of freewill offering will not get the job done. The same thinking no doubt led to the introduction of shows, suppers, etc., as means of raising money for the Lord. "The Lord's plan will not work so we will devise plans of our own." The same thinking has led churches to ignore the Lord's plan of caring for the needy and the building of human institutions to get the job done.
If, out of sheer love for the Lord, a member can be induced to put a few dollars into a bank, furnished by the church, why not the same member, for the same reason, be influenced to put it in the collection on the Lord's day?
This writer, as a preacher of the gospel, has observed that if, and when, members are taught to LOVE the Lord supremely, to "seek ve first the kingdom of God they will freely give into the Lord's treasury in sufficient amount to do what the Lord expects of the church. If we must resort to some unique, and naive, method of chicanery to open the purse strings of the members it seems to reflect on the simple pattern of the Lord and is an indictment of His wisdom.
It is impossible to improve upon the Lord's plan of doing the Lord's work, or of finding a better institution through which to do it than the Lord's church.
Truth Magazine IV:10, p. 240