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First, we must define what we mean by "church fund-raising." The Bible is clear that the giving of "offerings" is commanded and blessed by God. God loves a "cheerful giver"-one who gives abundantly...
To raise funds through church member contributions is a biblically acceptable provided that this is done out of free will and without coercion or duress. Notice the giving toward the sanctuary that the people gave until they were restrained from giving any further because there was an overflow of resources (Exodus 36:1-6) Notice also the support that Solomon received from King Hiram of Tyre (1Kings 5)The Bible contains several other accounts of giving by the Israelites. I believe that the raising of funds for the church is the responsibility of the church and the leadership should guide the church in achieving its vision including construction of a modest sanctuary and other facilities. This should be done with wisdom giving regard to the economic and financial limitations of the members. It is no use going for a 5,000 seat church sanctuary worth millions of dollars when the membership is a paltry 200 and can hardly afford to pay its bills. Church projects should be carefully evaluated and should financed through voluntary giving and not imposed or achieved through coercion even where subtly done. I do not believe that church resources should be raised out of debt financing. I would rather that the project is slowed down until sufficient funds are accumulated through tithes and offerings rather than engage in debt. It is immaterial that the debt financing is done through the members or a financial institution. Many churches have taken many years of painstaking savings on the development of a church building or facility and finally accomplished their purposes without any debt. Others out of lack of wisdom have seen their church sanctuaries or plots sold by banks to recover debt because the leaders acted ambitiously and imprudently in pursuing the project venture through debt finance. If church members are stretched into heavy debt, this is likely to generate a backlash if the church collections are insufficient to meet the debt obligations. Besides, it is the sole responsibility of the church members to commit themselves willingly to undertake a project provided that this is done under transparency and trusted stewardship. Projects should not eclipse the vision for winning and equipping souls because this is the principal mandate of any church ministry. We must remember that Matthew 28:19-20 is a mandate that cannot be ignored in exchange for construction of ultra modern sanctuaries. Both should be done but the Great Commission take priority over other activities. My advice is that the leadership should put the project on hold until church resources are sufficient to permit its completion. This is because the project started with membership contributions and should be completed in the same manner. The leadership should also prayerfully review their project plans because they could be embarking on an ambitious venture that ends up straining the ministry and discouraging members. They should borrow the biblical principle in Luke 14:28-32 where Jesus underscores the importance of working out the cost of a venture. If members volunteer to engage in loans for supporting the church, this again should be a very voluntary decision which must be taken with wisdom.
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