Money, the poor, the church, and deacons......

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by tanstaafl72555, Jul 6, 2020.

  1. tanstaafl72555

    tanstaafl72555 Permanently banned due to forum abuse Life Member

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    NOTE: I AM AWARE THAT THERE ARE SOME WHO ARE EAGER TO TELL ME THAT ANYTHING "RELIGIOUS" BELONGS IN THE "CHAPEL" SECTION.

    I am aware of this mistaken opinion (the section is actually one for prayers requested, if I read the forum description correctly).

    If you don't like this kind of stuff, move on. I think it may be of help to some in here.

    The recession is here. People are in financial trouble. They are looking for help. Churches are where people have turned to for help ever since the beginning of the church. The Book of Acts records this (Acts 6). The early church's officers created a new office, deacon, to deal with this problem.

    Deacons have the responsibility of helping poor people, whether church members or outsiders. (there are specified priorities)

    The problem here is twofold. Almost all the money in many churches goes to fund staff, programs, and physical plants, and there is simply no surplus even for the ostensible mission of funding world/local evangelism. This is a reflection of the entertainment focus of the culture and a number of other problems which I won't cover here.

    However, the complete absence of mercy training in many churches leads to a bunch of problems.... one of which is that there is no "counter voice" from the church speaking back to those who bawl out about the structural inequities and institutional poverty in society. This is specifically a diaconal issue, and there is almost no training for deacons in any denomination. They rarely know how to determine who should get help or how much.

    There is a brand-new website that shows deacons how to make better decisions with the church's charity money. It also provides tools for them to use to show people with financial problems how to make better decisions with their money. You may wish to share this with your diaconal board AND YOUR PASTOR.

    So long as we are in a situation of perceived affluence and opportunity, the gospel has less luster in the area of helping people in dire need. While it is NOT the job of the church to "eliminate poverty" or address sociological disparities of wealth, nor to address the physical needs of people, it is also true that when societies collapse and the "safety net" breaks, it can be a wonderful time to SHOW (not just SAY) "our system works." This time of economic distress could be a spark plug for really good stuff.

    Hope this is helpful.

    https://resourcesfordeacons.com/
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2020
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  2. concepthomes1

    concepthomes1 When do we start? Staff Member Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    I've noticed that even with particular religious orgs, individual churches may or may not have the Deacon position established.
     
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  3. tanstaafl72555

    tanstaafl72555 Permanently banned due to forum abuse Life Member

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    Never seen that. If so, it would underline what we are saying here. Howeve, I have seen (this is the case in most Southern Baptist churches) that there is no FUNCTIONING deaconate. Instead, the activities biblically assigned to the office of elder (vision, theology, programs, etc etc,) are done by the deacons. Fortunately for the SBC, this is changing in many churches.
     
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  4. BlackGun

    BlackGun Pimpin Ain’t Easy Supporting Member

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    Over 60% of our churches $900,000 budget goes to 5 people’s salaries and benefits. This is why when asked it was a no go to be on a committee. I would not be liked. All money used for helping others and mission work is requested and not in the budget. Religion and churches are flawed now.
     
  5. 9outof10mms

    9outof10mms Purveyor of Professional Enginerding Supporting Member

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    If your church doesn't have the ability to be charitable to some degree, then you should either do something about it or leave.

    The bigger problem is not necessarily staff salaries and other things in the budget (not saying they can't get out of control)--all of those are typically warranted, if not needed. Ever try to be a pastor? Or run the children's ministry? The old "you get what you pay for" adage is alive in well, even in church.

    The bigger problem is lack of tithing (which is the primary/majority source of the church's total funds), which stems from the vast majority of people not managing their money correctly and therefore making every excuse under the sun about why they can't/don't want to tithe.

    When I taught a Dave Ramsey course about 6-7 years ago, it was astonishing that all of the 10 participants (ranging from couples to singles, young to old) admitted to not having any sort of budget nor tracking of their expenses in place. Nevermind credit and the arguments around "good" or "bad" credit, or the "need" to have credit. We can't even have that adult conversation if you don't even know how much you have nor how much you spend!!!

    In one of the later sessions of the Ramsey course, he really drove home a thought that essentially went like this:
    We ALL gripe about how this program or that program of the government isn't working--about this social thing or that, not working. When you look at the average church, it's something like 10-15% of the body tithe, and of that, something like 5-10% make up the vast majority of the total tithe funds (meaning there are usually one or two well-off families who support the whole church on their funds). Imagine if everyone of the body heartily and joyfully gave and helped support their church. The church would be empowered to help (if not totally run) those issues we'd like to see helped (poverty, hunger, TRUE affordable housing, etc.) and we (the body) would be far better empowered to run those programs "correctly" (at least better than a federal or state program).

    Like many things argued and squabbled about between men about the Bible, tithing is very clearly spelled out. Start at 10% of your gross income and adjust from there until you're giving what you can with a joyful and happy heart. I added the word "gross" in there because I hear people split hairs about gross versus net. I'll answer that with a Socratic method: if the bank asks you how much money you make when you're applying for a loan to buy that awesome truck/boat/thing you want, how much do you tell them? You're a dog-faced pony soldier liar thing if you answer "net."
     
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  6. Tailhunter

    Tailhunter I am a Trapper Charter Member Supporting Member

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    How can the church be charitable or give anything when they teach God wants us poor and miserly?

    It’s a joke. You can’t expect people to give when all they’ve ever heard is woe is me.
     
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  7. Grits

    Grits I'm a Dirt Bag. Charter Life Member

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    Christ told us that the poor will always be with us.

    Yes if people would give, you could end government welfare.

    The problem is people. They put wants before needs. They want that giant TV or the play station. I saw this first hand when stimulus checks hit. They saw free money and did not take into account lost hours from work or even closures.

    Some people are not happy unless there is "drama" constantly in their life.

    Now who do you help? Those who can't help themselves. The little fellow below came an lived with us while his mom got her life back on track. She was living in a car with him and his brother. He was with us for two months. He left us in better shape than when he came. He was 7 weeks old at the time. Here's the kicker. He is no relation to my wife or me. My middle daughter has custody of his older brother. Give the kids a chance to break the cycle.

    Give a hand up, not a hand out. Feed the person, not the habit. You never know what the results may be. I had a couple who were homeless and I fed them from time to time. Well the woman gets missing. About a year later a woman comes up and speaks to me. She looked familiar. Then she told me who she was. She had a glow about her. She had gotten away form the guy she had been with. Got her self cleaned up. She had a home and a job. She was doing good.

    Did you do it for the least of these? If you did, you did it unto me. Matthew 25:40.

    Christ will put us on the right with his other sheep. To those on the left he will tell those to depart.

    [​IMG]

    Sent from my SM-J320V using Tapatalk
     
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  8. DrScaryGuy

    DrScaryGuy Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    On the contrary. My mom grew up under some serious "woe", but whenever she was asked about how she was poor, on assistance, and still always set aside a 10% tithe, she just said "God wants me to, i can't afford not to do it."

    some apples hit the ground and roll for a bit though...
     
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  9. Tailhunter

    Tailhunter I am a Trapper Charter Member Supporting Member

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    Your Mom was smart.
     
  10. B00ger

    B00ger Bull headed and opinionated but really loves you. Charter Member

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    You have attended some strange churches.
     
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  11. tanstaafl72555

    tanstaafl72555 Permanently banned due to forum abuse Life Member

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    The "tithe" is never taught in the NT. The old testament tithe is actually the equivalent of civil taxes, and since the state WAS the church, it was the duty (along with other gifts mandated, 10% was not the entirety of what was demanded) to cover all civil and religious activity that needed money. It went to support far more than the Levites (professional religious people who were expected to work and earn outside the activities of the temple, btw). I find no teaching in the NT ANYWHERE that supports the concept of a "tithe." What I find instead is the command to "give generously" (the only time I am aware that the "tithe" was mentioned in the NT is Jesus condemning the Pharisees for "tithing mint dill and cummin and neglecting the weightier matters of the law, justice mercy and the love of God." (quoting from memory, if you wish to correct, please do). If I were teaching today, I would respond to the question "how much should I give to God?" I would say "everything." It all belongs to Him, including all of my being. Anything less than this is plainly NON Christian. I must take every dollar and cent, every ounce of gold and silver, every item of food, every gun and every round of ammo, and every cent of equity in property and give it to God. He bought all of it when He died for me and it is an outrageous blasphemy to claim ownership over ANY of it. That is what I taught, and what I believe. OTOH, God is the God of untold wealth, riches, and goodness, and being in His presence will mean such an abundance I will slap myself in the head for ever being anxious, fearful or believing in the lie that my stuff made the slightest bit of difference in my security. I like that perspective because it removes a "legal" (this is yours, this is mine) thing that I always fall into. Maybe that part is just me, but it definitely is me. When it is a "here is the pile of stuff You have given me in Your goodness... how do you want me to use it?" it makes things more.... I dunno.... more "romantic" an personal, and real.

    BTW I love Dave Ramsey. I think the idea of personal financial discipline, structured offerings to God, and no debt is FABULOUS as core principles... and if it sounds like I contradicted myself about the tithe, I don't think I did. I am just a legalist at heart, and so is my wife. We want to leave this world having given liberally and blessed others. I can't do that without opening my heart first, and then my resources. They were never mine to begin with.

    I think those principles of diaconal giving, if God so blesses His people with that awareness, will once again cause people to say "Behold, how they love one another."

    JMO

    And yes, I have been an organizing pastor in several churches. I deliberately lived far lower than expectations of my leadership, as I wanted two things 1) I wanted ANYONE to be able to come into my home and feel comfortable 2) I wanted to set an example of frugal living for the congregation. You can google 612 6th street in Anderson IN to see. We paid $32,000 for it.
     
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  12. tanstaafl72555

    tanstaafl72555 Permanently banned due to forum abuse Life Member

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    that is an odd question, in my experience
     
  13. 9outof10mms

    9outof10mms Purveyor of Professional Enginerding Supporting Member

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    Not at all trying to bust your balls...just putting that out there before I talk (type) any further and create the appearance of that.

    I think you're mincing words here--I think that about the majority of discussions when men try to pick and choose "what came over" between old and new testament. The list gets awfully convenient when we do that.

    I don't have a theology degree nor the personal study to mentally joust any further than I have on these subjects. My litmus test is usually pretty practical. In this case, I'd ask how is the church's building supposed to stay open without tithe (or pay rent, etc)? How is the pastor supposed to live in anything less than literal/actual poverty without tithe?
     
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  14. Scott88

    Scott88 Member Charter Member Supporting Member

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    In the NT you are asked "to give according to your means." Tithing is only found in the OT to my knowledge.

    Dave Ramsey fan here, that's awesome you got to teach the stuff!
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2020
  15. tanstaafl72555

    tanstaafl72555 Permanently banned due to forum abuse Life Member

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    I did not get the opinion you were "coming after me" on my thoughts on the matter. I find that vigorous interaction on things is the best way for me to say "wait a minute!!! I never saw that." I am 64 years old and believe me, I have had more than one of those moments! lol

    Again, I think the core of what you are teaching (I listen to Dave Ramsey often) is absolutely top-notch.

    Just a joke here, ok? We presbyterians like to joke that baptists like to insist that the tithe comes over, but the sign of the covenant at birth (circumcision in OT, baptism in the new) does not. Not meaning to be snide, just that there is lots of room for discussion. God bless you in your teaching on the topic. I hope the church at large is relieved of a lot of the baggage of commitment to "stuff." I hope the first person on that list is me.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2020
  16. noway2

    noway2 Senior Member Charter Life Member

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    I've been reading and hesitating to comment, but you just basically struck upon my reaction to the idea of tithing, in that I am already paying, under threat of duress, more than that to the Crown and not only the Crown, but his lords (in the medieval sense - meaning state and local entities) too. I'll be damned (no pun intended) if I am going to hand over more to another form of State.
     
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  17. fieldgrade

    fieldgrade resident crank Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    And honestly, that is where you would have been best to leave it.

    Edit: To add... My point being, that you have determined that you are not a citizen of France, never intend to be a citizen of France, then of course, why would you pay taxes to France. You wouldn’t.

    If you do not intend to be a citizen of the kingdom of heaven, then that kingdom cares not whether you give generously, grudgingly, or at all.

    The kingdom’s purposes will be advanced with you or without you. It does not require our contribution.

    We are simply and wonderfully given the opportunity to be a part of it.

    Or not.

    It’s always our choice.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2020
  18. noway2

    noway2 Senior Member Charter Life Member

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    I am glad you did add clarifying points. I get the impression that my attitude regarding church, which I do see as a form of political state, as having offended and please do not be as I was not meaning it as an affront, but as a personal view which deserves the same respect as those who support the idea. If you believe in the value of (your) church and desire to contribute to it financially, I fully support your right to do so, even if I personally reject the idea.

    Correct.

    Though I am neither atheist or agnostic, I do not believe in the concept of heaven (or hell). Your statement makes me wonder if at some level you believe that giving monetarily is requisite to gaining entry into heaven? I have often wondered the same thing about church attendance? I say this not to be antagonistic but because I don't believe that god, or gods as it may be, care one iota if you give to or you attend a church or that you will find god in a church.

    And what is that purpose and why does it require financial contributions? If you're talking about socio-political movements, it is likely that I don't support them anyway. If you are referring to the notion that you have a community that desires to congregate, socialize, and worship, great, go for it.

    Yes, it is a choice and I have chosen a different path. I am happy that you take joy in yours.
     
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  19. B00ger

    B00ger Bull headed and opinionated but really loves you. Charter Member

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    1. No, no one believes that giving monetarily is a requisite for entry into heaven.
    2. No, church attendance is not required for entry into heaven.
    3. The church needs financial contributions because they have bills to pay. Many also have food kitchens, run relief crews to disaster areas, send aid and assistance both locally and globally, and support church initiatives and out reach. I have yet to come across any church that >required< tithes. I have, in my life, never seen someone kicked out of a church because they didn't drop a coin in the offering plate.

    What is missing is that when one joins a church the above things don't become "things I have to do." They become "things I want to do." Even as simply as joining this forum makes people want to contribute by becoming members. When you join, see what they are offering and what ministries they provide, then giving either financially or through service becomes a desire, not a burden. Fellowship and gathering is scriptural and encouraged. But heaven is full of people who never stepped into a church, and hell is full of people who went three times a week.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2020
  20. tanstaafl72555

    tanstaafl72555 Permanently banned due to forum abuse Life Member

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    If Christ is not lord of my finances, then He is not lord at all. If he is not lord, he cannot be savior. He does not do deals about that. We come into this world absolutely committed to one core principle.... that I should be the one my life revolves around. Self seeking. Self trusting. Self reliant. Self serving. Self acknowledging. I am on the throne of my life, directing it all, kidding myself that I am living out of my own resources and I may need "God" to forgive me for a few big whoppers (or I may not, if I can kid myself about my moral stature... or the moral stature of God..... or both), but by and large I have it under control and, in my words "I can live my own damned life and don't need your help or anyone else's to figure it out" (this was how I responded to a friend who had been converted and was trying to plug Jesus to me one evening).
    When churches say Jesus "forgives me from my sins" I have some few flashing ugly events, like making fun of a retarded girl, or blaspheming Jesus with some sexual innuendo, or starting a fight with a black guy when we were arguing over a foul in a pickup game by saying "well.... I know who my daddy is!" (he was open mouth shocked... probably one of the most wicked things I have ever done!), or some other failings. I did not see until I sat down and read the New Testament that my ENTIRE LIFE was a giant F*CK YOU to the idea that I owed God everything, from mental abilities to background to physical abilities to the very breath I just took. "Trusting Jesus" is not just accepting that some price was paid for my imperfections, but acknowledging that I am steeped in death, and that my commitment to self is the essence of that death. "Asking Jesus into my heart" (a non-biblical phrase) would mean asking him to come in to be who he is, which is supreme lord of the entire universe, starting with my being, from the inside out. It is ONLY that kind of invitation, the "I lay down my arms and unconditionally surrender" that brings "forgiveness for sin" (otherwise, we are not asking for forgiveness for sin, but just its consequences..... ain't no such animal.
    When we get THAT, the money stuff works itself out, as neither my money, nor my time, nor my plans, nor my marriage, nor my family, nor anything else "belongs to me." That in mind, we still may choose to give directly to people in need, rather than the institutional church, but we definitely give, mostly out of gratitude. The website on deacons being wise leaders in the area of giving and doing mercy might be helpful to someone trying to piece together a plan for working that strategy out.
     
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  21. Trevillian

    Trevillian Trigger Trash Charter Member Supporting Member

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    This is a very interesting thread to have read so far.

    While I consider myself a christian. My experiences with the organization and running of "church" have led me to follow my own path.

    I truly appreciate everyone here expressing their views with a rational approach to the reality of others.

    Thank you.
     
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  22. BlackGun

    BlackGun Pimpin Ain’t Easy Supporting Member

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    Seems like churches are in the daycare and property acquisition business more than the soul saving now. Bigger and bolder seems to be theme.
     
  23. DrScaryGuy

    DrScaryGuy Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    I'm with you on that. I grew up 2-3 trips/week to church and was taught about all the flaws in other religions... Then when I was a teen and our minister started talking about how it's a sin to drink any alcohol, I asked him about that. See, the church did a lot of rehab work so a no-alcohol policy made good sense, no question about that, but he couldn't point to anywhere it was actually a sin to just have... say, wine at a wedding. He insisted it wasn't policy, it was God's command and I just didn't understand. I asked him if he wasn't "adding" to the Bible, and if that wasn't wrong according to Revelations. I was told I was just too young to understand or be taught... no explanation or discussion. Believe what I say or burn.
    That was my last time going to church. ... well, I think I went once or twice more at Christmas just to "honor (my) father and (my) mother.

    My sister and her husband now preach for the same organization. I told her last year about it, and she was like "so that's why you suddenly stopped going and haven't been in 25 years? I always wondered what happened. I don't blame you."
     
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  24. DrScaryGuy

    DrScaryGuy Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Just Christians following the Catholicism model. God needs a big fancy house or else He won't want to hang out there...
    You think God's gonna be there when just 2 or 3 are gathered in any old place? pfffft.
    (no offense meant to Catholics, just relating modern Protestant churches to historical Catholic churches, all big and gilded and stuff)
     
  25. JimP42

    JimP42 Mostly harmless Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    Did you ever consider that maybe you have entirely missed the point? Like completely 100% clueless and don’t even know it? Serious question, not just poking at you.

    It isn’t a State, it’s a relationship. It isn’t an obligation, it’s all His anyway and we are only entrusted with it temporarily to use it for His purposes. Which we do joyfully out of thanksgiving for what He has done for us and for His glory because He is our creator and sustainer.

    Seriously.
     
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  26. noway2

    noway2 Senior Member Charter Life Member

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    Deleted.... best not answered when I’vet been drinking .....
    Had to remove the not...
    Even the term sin has its roots in the term, sin, or synn, which has its origins in the meaning of to be and references to be female. No wonder even in your own post you keep referencing to Him with a capital H. ....
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2020
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  27. fieldgrade

    fieldgrade resident crank Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    In fairness, it’s why my earlier reply started the way it did, then I cooled my heels, edited the post, and replied with something with a little more substance.
    You’ve been following these kinds of posts on at least two different forums for a long time. “Believers” would call you a “seeker”. Believers like hearing from seekers, but being human, they get frustrated when someone gives the air of being interested, and yet continue to cast out challenges that must be met to continue the discussion, only to be followed by more challenges.
     
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  28. fieldgrade

    fieldgrade resident crank Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    A “sin” is an archery term, as in "missing the mark".
     
  29. noway2

    noway2 Senior Member Charter Life Member

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    yet Tuesday is named after Tyr.... Maybe it is Christianity that has missed the mark...

    or perhaps we are best thought of as different divisions of the same army?
     
  30. fieldgrade

    fieldgrade resident crank Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    There’s that “challenge” I spoke of.
     
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  31. Matt.Cross

    Matt.Cross Well-Known Member Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    I don't buy much into the OT vs. NT validity thinking. You won't find "Thou shalt not kill" in the NT either, but that doesn't invalidate it from our Creator's personal expectations. Same with tithes.
     
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  32. noway2

    noway2 Senior Member Charter Life Member

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    I am not sure entirely get your meaning, but I do enjoy discussing religious views, especially in an atmosphere of mutual respect.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2020
  33. fieldgrade

    fieldgrade resident crank Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    The apostles were instructed to present the truth to a community.
    Either it was accepted, or rejected.
    If it was rejected, the apostles were instructed to move on, and dust off their feet from that community.
    Feet were pretty dusty back then, but you catch my drift.
     
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  34. JimP42

    JimP42 Mostly harmless Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    Somebody else already pointed out that sin is based on an archery term.

    The Bible refers to God as Him. That settles it for me. Neither God nor I care much for political correctness. If you don’t like that part of the Bible then there are plenty of other parts you also won’t like. But the question isn’t whether you (or I) like it, but whether it is actually true.

    If you are arguing with me ** you are still missing the point ** which is not that you are obligated to do anything but that others choose freely to behave in ways you don’t understand.
     
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  35. Scott88

    Scott88 Member Charter Member Supporting Member

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    Do you keep the Sabbath?

    ETA: I do agree that the OT isn't invalid, but I am of the opinion that the NT supercedes, if that is a better word. Hebrews 8 being part of my reasoning.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2020
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  36. fieldgrade

    fieldgrade resident crank Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    Do you?
    Seems lik a fair question, since we’re asking.
     
  37. Scott88

    Scott88 Member Charter Member Supporting Member

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    No. Do you? Check my edit to post above.
     
  38. Matt.Cross

    Matt.Cross Well-Known Member Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    If you're referring to Saturday as the Sabbath, no. If you're referring to Sunday, yes.
     
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  39. fieldgrade

    fieldgrade resident crank Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    It was stated in the OP, what we perceive as ours, is His.

    What we give back, was already His.

    How much you give, is between you and Him.
     
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  40. Matt.Cross

    Matt.Cross Well-Known Member Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    That's extremely interesting, especially considering what ramifications it might have about one's beliefs concerning divorce. Would you default to the NT or the OT?