Chapter 16: Church Financing

Christianity implies following Christ, in every detail, as Christ takes full responsibility, including Church financing. Applying Christ’s words in every action in this life, is like building a house based on a rock-solid foundation (Matt. 7:24). It is better not to build than erect a building structure without a solid foundation, whose crash can be extremely disastrous to the occupants.

Christianity can be convenient in producing wealth––hence the prosperity gospel is popular and spreading like veldt fires. But there is a reason why Christ said, “Straight is the gate and narrow is the way, which leads unto life and few there be that find it” (Matt. 7:14 KJV).

Christ declared being the builder of His Church (Matt. 16:18). That responsibility is vested in Him alone. Many scriptures appeal as good methods of financing in God’s Church. This includes Paul’s instruction to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 9:9-14). We can learn much from Paul, just as we can learn from any other God’s servant when focusing on Jesus’ teachings.

But we should bear in mind that Paul was not different from all those brought into Christianity through conversion. Everything needs to be weighed against Christ’s teachings. Jesus lamented the wrong religious traditions that were prevailing at that time––but we need to particularly take note of what He instructed His disciples below:

“The Scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they will not move them with one of their fingers” (Matthew 23:4 KJV).

There was nothing wrong with teaching the Law of Moses, especially on matters of offerings and tithing. The problem is that the Pharisees were good at being taskmasters, enforcing those laws, while they, themselves, avoided them because they were burdensome. Jesus never taught the Jews to break the Laws of the Old Covenant. Hence, he told His disciples to observe those laws, but avoid enforcing them on those who would follow them.

In Jesus, everyone is treated equally, so no one assumes entitlement to receive tithes, for instance. Church contributions should not be out of obligation but willingly given to the needy, as advocated by Paul. Indeed, for the Church to function effectively, contributions are necessary, but without the legal enforcement being extended to ordinary people.

In Christ, we have freedom––without the specific do’s and don’ts. Jesus prescribed what appears as the only method of Church financing. The rest should be treated as fallacious; including what is popularly known as tithing—from the Old Testament Scriptures. There is a difference between giving to be appreciated and giving out of love:

“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:1-4) (ESV).

Church financing can be driven by contrasting motives, namely: Spiritually motivated when compared with egotistically motivated. Financing is commonly generated by professionalism. Professionals are competent in activities connected with their fields of speciality for which they would be fully trained. They justifiably deserve to be paid sufficiently for their services.

There can be no quarrel in paying for professional services. In other words, a professional person produces valuable products that are exchangeable for money. Professional footballers are paid millions, generated from admirers of football, who would be willing to pay for watching professional football.

A dilettante cultivates an area of interest, in any activity, such as arts––without commitment to producing valuable products. That person has an amateur interest––making it unfair for him/her to expect to be paid similarly to how professionals are paid. Any normal person is willing to pay for professional services. This describes natural conditions sustaining this world.

Only criminals desire to receive benefits without the exchange consideration. Dilettantism appears innocent, but it is not a Godly attribute given scriptures like Ecclesiastes 9:10: “Whatsoever thy hand finds to do, do it with thy might…” (KJV). Living in this world requires putting professionalism in whatever one performs.

Performers are expected to serve effectively for the benefit of others. The word “minister” is derived from Latin, implying providing service or being a servant.  This means a minister serves other people––rather than being served. Conversely, the term minister, in Zimbabwe, attracts being served, as adopted with the communist term “Chef” implying deserving honour.

Anyone holding a ministerial position is highly respected, rather than expected to account. This must have been the practice of the Scribes and the Pharisees that Jesus warned His disciples against. Expecting to be remunerated anything, when being only a dilettante, is not different from criminality––a condition of desiring to be paid for nothing. Criminals regard themselves as more important than other fellow humans.

Professionals are expensive and worth demanding to be paid for whatever they are capable of achieving. People are willing to pay them sufficiently, without murmuring. In Christianity, such professionalism is remunerated only by free will. Christ’s services were commendable, as to motivate even a poor widow’s willingness to pay her last dime.

Her desire to pay was driven by love––motivated by Christ’s services (Luke 21:1-4). Jesus never demanded payment for serving the poor people. No one was externally compelled to pay––even for Jesus’ laying down His own life for them. But, the truly converted felt the willingness––even following Him––as having benefitted from His services.

Converts of the early church sold properties to give to the Church without obligation. Such behaviour resulted from the works of the spiritually empowered apostles (Acts 4:34). Christianity is spiritually enhanced, rather than being a result of training and hard work.

A spiritually committed person produces more than any professional in this world. When providing commendable services financing cannot be among matters for discussion. Jesus never asked the treasurer, Judas Iscariot, for financial provisions. However, His spiritual activities were more effective than the professionally induced activities.

Ordinary people are generally predisposed to pay for whatever they consider beneficial to them. They are known to throw coins, even to street entertainers––not out of compulsion––but willingly. Those paying, feel justified to part with their loose coins––having received good entertainment. What more desire, with those having obtained spiritual redemption?

Although viewed as necessary, fundraising activities should never be the aim, when advancing the gospel. Financing appears necessary for the church’s growth, but funding is self-generated when serving the poor––invoking the spiritually-driven freewill offerings. Christian principles focus on giving the best to others, more than desiring to receive from them.

Church activities receive sufficient finances if headed by the spiritually-committed Church ministers, rather than dilettantes. It is un-Christian for Church leaders to constantly appeal for donations from congregants, instead of spiritually providing commendable services. Christ is a perfect example of what commendable services entail.

Freewill donations can naturally fill up the coffers if supplying spiritual professionalism through the chosen ones. In our oppressive environment, those spiritually gifted are often hindered by those assuming to know better than Christ. The growth of a spiritually driven Church is enhanced by financial provisions that are spiritually generated and not by professional donors, necessarily.

In short, adding or subtracting what Jesus taught and practised can be dangerous for those who fear God. The givers in God’s Church should be anonymous. For that reason, the New Covenant appears simpler when compared with the Old. However, this is a misconception that needs addressing as a matter of urgency.

“For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:20 KJV).

Christianity is the most difficult faith, if compared with other religions, hence Christ said it is like a narrow road through which only a few are prepared to travel (Matt. 7:14). Anything that gives comfort in this world is susceptible to be of the devil, even though practised in Churches.

Observing preachers comfortably quoting Malachi 3:10––encouraging tithing––so that members could receive promised “blessings,” is very discomforting. The speaker would be oblivious to what Christ said in Luke 16:15––before giving the Lazarus and Rich Man parable. The preacher would figuratively be using old bottles for new wine! (Matt. 9:17).

The idea of prosperity in God’s Church is completely misplaced. The complexity of Christianity lies in the failure to comprehend scriptures like 1 Corinthians 3:2-5. This is where Paul projects differences between craving for milk, rather than strong meat provisions.

The consideration of attaining benefits from Christianity leads to valuing preachers, instead of valuing Christ. Paul’s admonition intended to help his converts who may have not been different from the multitudes that followed Christ. Unlike Paul who sought to encourage followers to understand, Jesus specifically discouraged those followers (Luke 14:25-33).

When Christ gave the Pharisee and Tax Collector parable (Luke 18:10-14), He was expounding on what He had said in Matthew 5:3; “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (KJV). Without humility, it is futile for anyone to call oneself a Christian.

The New Covenant is principally the opposite of the Old Covenant. For instance, in the Old, it was heroic to slaughter Israel’s enemies (1 Sam. 30:17). But in the New, it is heroic to love enemies––including praying for them (Matt. 5:44).

In the Old Covenant wealth is considered as blessings. In the New Covenant, wealth can be a curse––when considering the “Lazarus and Rich Man” parable. The deception of wealth was also highlighted by Paul, in Scriptures like 1 Timothy 6:3-9.

In the Old Covenant, Leadership invokes being honoured and respected. In the New, Leadership invokes servitude and humility, (Luke 22:26). In the Old Covenant, insults invoke bad feelings (Ps. 31:13). But in the New Testament, insults invoke good feelings (Matt 5:12).

These are some of the fundamentals––demanding transformation––if the Christian journey is to be appreciated. The reversal of all standing traditions, including principles of giving in Churches, can facilitate the needed transformation, to receive Christ’s approval.

Church leaders should avoid using the pulpit, quoting Old Testament scriptures, when persuading brethren to support the Church financially. The remuneration to Pastors ought to be spiritually driven, rather than humanly driven. There is nothing wrong with tithing. But what is wrong is making it obligatory––where Christ’s examples are ignored.

Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing relief to those having witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. Most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope, in a simple conversational tone.

The Print copy is now available at for $13.99

Also available as an e-copy at  for $6.99



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