Category Archives: Giving

Preach For Change

This is another installment in my Christian How To series.

I am not a preacher. I have no intention of becoming a preacher. But, I did go to Bible College and I picked up a few tricks about preaching while I was there. Out of the generosity of my heart I will pass those secrets along to you, my readers.

The most important thing about preaching is the ability to not only convince people you are right but to convince them to change based on your good ideas. Although there are lots of things preachers talk about from the pulpit, they mostly all fall under just a few categories. I have created a list of generic topic categories and how, through your preaching,  you can convince people to change in each of these areas. I hope it is helpful!

CATEGORY

APPROACH

MONEY
This category covers a lot, from supporting missionaries, to giving a regular tithe. It just seems that the average churchgoer doesn’t give enough at church and needs a little prodding to get this done.
TIME
Like money, this category is broad. You need the people to give as much of their time as possible for missions, ministries, folding bulletins, or whatever else, but, unfortunately people normally like spending their spare time with family doing fun things.
EVANGELISM
Everyone is supposed to do it. No one seems to want to. Every good pastor knows that it is important to emphasize this requirement for the Christian life. There are literally billions of people who have never heard the gospel.
BIBLE READING
You don’t necessarily want your people reading the Bible all the time or else they may start to question some of your teachings and start to develop their own theological opinions, but for a good showing you have to encourage them to knock the dust off the ‘Good Book’ every once in a while.
PRAYING
Maybe you are reformed and think praying is more about conforming our will to God’s, or maybe you are Pentecostal and need your people to pray with more faith for that jet you need to spread the gospel across beautiful tropical locations. Whatever it is, we all agree prayer is important.
CHURCH ATTENDANCE
This is the end-all be-all of your job. Getting people to come back and fill those seats. If you can’t get them coming back then you are going to be out of work, and how will they know how to live Christian lives if you are not there to hold their hand? Get them coming back, get them to bring their friends, and get them to any and all services you can.

You can read other installments in the ‘How To’ series here:


Charity and Coercion

The other morning I went into the grocery store to pick up a muffin for breakfast. I do this quite often, because I like to see my friends there and see how they are doing. I used to work there and a lot of the people I worked with are still there so it is a good way to keep up with them.

So, when I went in the other morning I ran into one of my buddies who works in produce. He has been extremely influential in the development of my political views. He is a really smart guy, and someone who’s opinions I appreciate greatly. We started chatting and he told me he had read one of my recent Examiner articles about the Church extending charity to those left in need by government cuts. He said he really liked the article. He said he agreed with what I said and then, in reference to government assistance programs, he said something that I found very significant:

“it can’t be considered charity if it is taken through coercion.”

That is a great way to say something, in just a few words, that I have been trying to say through several blog posts and Examiner articles.

My friend’s comment got me thinking about what the purpose of charity is, especially as a Christian. If the bottom line is providing for people’s physical needs then I think that it may make sense to support government assistance programs, because taxpayers are forced to support those programs, thus raising the likelihood that those intended to receive the aid will get it (the government’s ability to actually do what they say is a subject for another post!).

If, on the other hand, the goal of Christian charity is to demonstrate the love of Christ and open up opportunities to share the Gospel to point people toward the answer to their spiritual needs, then government programs may not be the best approach. The reasoning is fairly obvious; basically that people will not see the contributions taken by the government as charitable gifts, since, indeed, they are not given in charity, but in obedience to the law. If the gifts are not seen as coming from an act of love and care for others, then will they point people toward the One who first loved us, the reason that we love one another?

What do you think? Should Christians support government assistance programs? What is the purpose of Christian charity? Does it have a “purpose” or is it simply the result of being loved by God and having the Spirit within us?


Catholic Church demonstrates inconsistency … – Examiner Article

I have posted a new Religion and Politics article at the Portland, ME Examiner:
Catholic Church demonstrates inconsistency with stance on Preble Street

While this post may seem like an attack on Catholicism by a Protestant, it is not, by any means, intended that way. In all honesty, it is more a plea to the Catholic Church, as a group that represents Christ to the community here in Maine, to demonstrate Christian love for those in need. It is intended to call all Christians to love and care for those in need and to question their preferential treatment of those who can aid their personal agendas.

Here is an excerpt:

The Catholic Church pulled funding from an organization that provides vital services to the poor and homeless in Portland. The concern was that Preble Street was supportive of gay marriage, a position that the Catholic Church opposes. Only a year later the Catholic Church honors the very lawmakers who legalized gay marriage

If you get the chance, please read the full article, and share your thoughts. Thanks.


The true heart of the Church – Examiner Article

I have posted a new Religion and Politics article at the Portland, ME Examiner:
Government assistance cuts could expose the true heart of the Church

It, while similar in topic to my last article, is a much stronger exhortation to self-sacrificing love for those in need. Here is an excerpt:

Without getting into details, it may be worthwhile to note that, on average, 85% of all money given to churches stays within those churches. Could that money be reallocated to provide for the very immediate and pressing needs of the people around them? The government was never charged to demonstrate love, Christians, on the other hand, have been.

If you have the chance please read the rest and let me know what you think. Thanks.

 


LePage’s budget cuts … opportunity for the Gospel – Examiner Article

I have posted a new Religion and Politics article at the Portland, ME Examiner:
LePage’s budget cuts to refugee welfare open opportunity for the Gospel

Here is an excerpt:

The truth is, these cuts could be beneficial to both the refugees and the Church in Maine. When welfare is provided by the government it cannot be considered charity because it is forced on the citizens to pay taxes to provide the welfare services. In many cases it becomes a situation where those receiving aid feel a sense of entitlement, as though it is their right to receive assistance.

If you have the chance please read the rest and let me know what you think. Thanks.


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