Wednesday, February 9, 2011

House Church - Giving

God is the Creator of all things. He therefore owns everything. God has graciously given us all things we need to live. We are to be good stewards of these things. This includes our time, talents, and resources. Every Christian I know agrees with these things.

The disagreement among Christ-followers comes in the forms of what/how much to give and who to give it to (sorry for the grammatical mess in this sentence).

The New Testament model shows Christians freely giving of their resources as they are lead by the Spirit.  There is no compulsion.  There is no guilt. There is no tithe. Rather, we are to be governed by this principle:

"The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." II Cor. 9:6-7

In light of Paul's admonition, we should decide in our hearts to give freely and generously.  We work to make money to support both the needs of ourselves and others.

That brings me to one of the beauties of the house church model.  Those in the house church have freedom to give to those who are truly in need: widows, orphans, immigrants, the poor in general, etc.  Why is this the case?  It's quite simple.  The house church requires no giving to support a big church building, electric bills, programs, literature, and a salaried, professional church staff.

Many Christians give to the church institution because they are told to do so by those in leadership.  They put money in the offering plate because this is the thing to do.  After doing this, they may not have much left at all to support those in need.

But where does the money go that went into the offering plate?  Take a look at most church budgets.  The vast majority almost always goes towards building payments/upkeep and pastoral/staff salaries.  A small percentage goes to the poor or toward missions.

As followers of Jesus, we should be giving of our resources in the manner that He expects.  The biblical model is to give to the poor and needy and to give directly toward missions work.  In the house church model we have freedom to do this.

We must give as Christ would have us give by giving to those who He has said are in need.  The house church not only allows for this but also encourages it.


Jessica said...

just wanted to say, very good post. This is an issue that is near and dear to my heart. Giving should be radical for christians. Unbelivers know us by our love. Not only our love for each other but for others as well. I get really excited when I think about all the opportunities to help people in need that house church members have. When they pool their resources together with the lack of overhead that you stated the impact on the local community is astounding. Not just with money but with man power. Small fellowships can make a huge difference in a neighborhood. Ok as you can see it's a big deal for me :) but the question I have is, how do you (and maybe you can provide links for everyone ) but how do you support a missionary?

Eric said...


Thanks. I think we agree on this issue completely. You are so right about the world noticing Christians by our love.

As for missionaries, I have been wondering about this. I think prayer is the first part. Second, contacting other house fellowships would be helpful - for example Steve Atkerson at NTRF.

Tim A said...

The scripture is so clear, yet so warped. There is no surprise at it's tragic results. Leadership Journals graphs on "normal church giving" show on 14% of giving goes outside the church door, beyond the givers. 86% is actually pooling to buy goodies for those who give. This is not giving at all but pooling. It is a form of giving where "it is better to give and receive" than "more blessed to give than receive" as Jesus said. I asked God for a way for me to devote 100% of my giving beyond myself. He showed me I could if I give up special buildings for crowd oriented gathering and hired experts for saints to outsource their responsibilities. What a blessing to do exactly that.

It is so much more strategic and obedient to give to send preachers to those who have never heard and never rejected it and have no one to tell them for free, than to hire preachers to talk to those who have heard it many times and rejected it many times and are surrounded by those who can tell them for free in heart to heart connection. I will no longer fund this.

Eric said...


The way the American church keeps back most of its money is truly a scandal. If the church would really give to the poor, poverty could be severely curtailed. If the church would truly give to missions, there could be a missionary everywhere needed. Sadly, the American church instead has thousands of big church buildings that have no eternal value.

Alan Knox said...


Concerning international missions, there are many ways that organic churches can get involved. I would recommend look at Dave and BeckyLynn Black as good examples.


Eric said...

The freedom to seek God's will, apart from man-made structural constraint, is a wonderful thing about this form of missions-giving. There certainly is enough money - if people will give it to where God wants it.

Aussie John said...


Good stuff!

I have grave concerns when the largest part of what many denominational and nondenominational agencies receive goes to administration. One denominational representative said to me, very glibly,in my opinion, "Oh, only 70% goes to administration".


Eric said...


Wow. How has the church gotten to this point?! We really do need to pray for massive reformation in the church.

Joel Spencer said...

A life of freely giving versus obligatory giving under compulsion and guilt could not be further from one another. I thank God that several years ago He opened my eyes to see the truths that you mentioned here. How awesome to give with intent and purpose instead of mindlessly dropping 10% in a plate funding salaries and power bills.

Eric said...


It really is freeing to see what the bible says to us on this issue.

The people I feel badly for are the poor (who don't receive the help they should from the church) and the people in the pews who are often guilted into giving to support the institution.