Church Leadership
The Invisible Scandal: How Bad Debt And Poor Stewardship Are Killing The Church's Reputation
People want to give. God wants to provide. Our churches need to be places worthy of those gifts and that provision.

“Everyone else we rent to has a proper budget and pays on time. And if they didn’t, we’d sue them. But what can we do when a church doesn’t pay? My boss isn’t a Christian, but he doesn’t think it’s right to sue a church, so the only answer is not to rent to churches any more.”

I apologized to her on behalf of the body of Christ for how her business had been hurt financially. Then I thanked her for her honesty and we said goodbye. I hung up, saddened again by the behavior of people who sully the name of Jesus because we’re not keeping our financial house in order.

Bad Stewardship Hinders Generosity

Churches regularly complain that people don’t give as much to their church as they used to. That is true. But one of the primary reasons people don’t give is when they see a ministry that’s not treating their gifts with good stewardship.

No one wants to give to a church just to help us pay off our debts. Especially debts that we should never have incurred in the first place.

A church that is struggling to pay off its debts is not free to do what God is calling us to do.

The Bible couldn’t be more clear on this subject. According to Proverbs 22:7, “the borrower is servant (slave) to the lender.”

When we default on our loans, we are stealing from the people who supplied goods and services to us.

When we default on our loans, we are stealing from the people who supplied goods and services to us. When a once-vibrant church has to disband and sell its building to pay its debtors, the church as a whole becomes just a little more irrelevant and a lot less trusted to everyone who sees it happen.

But a church that honors its obligations and works within its financial means is free to do ministry and bless people. Including the ministry of being a good example of financial stewardship that others can learn from.

People want to give. God wants to provide. Our churches need to be places worthy of those gifts and that provision.

It’s About Integrity, Not Money

Do a Google search for church giving trends and you’ll find thousands of articles about how people are giving less and how to get them to give more. Then do a Google search for trends in church debt and you’ll find … exactly the same articles.

There are thousands of articles about how people are giving less and how to get them to give more, but almost nothing on how many churches close every year due to overwhelming debt – not to mention those that are falling behind on paying their mortgages, rent and salaries.

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August 08, 2018 at 2:00 AM

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