For those of you that know me that really, probably isn’t a surprise. I’m not known for my quietness. So last Saturday I found myself leading a day that was all about speaking about Jesus and the Holy Spirit. It was an Alpha Day held in South Manchester, tied in with the Alpha Course being held at MUFC’s stadium.
The day was good. I always find it a little nervy because I’ve got to stand up in front of a load of people and pray that the Lord turns up. It always does go well though.
But on to the main subject for this post. Money. Or more to the point, why does it seem to matter in the Church? I came across an advert for an ‘intimate’ conference with a very famous evangelist last night. I admire a lot of what he does, I really do. But one thing I do not admire is the seemingly hard stranglehold, that is money. It was going to cost, wait for it, $900 US Dollars for 2 days with him, well with 50 other people with him. What is all that about?
Now some people will march to the defence of this practice, saying that in the corporate world, that is the way it is done. Well yes it is, thanks for pointing that out. However, we are not in the corporate world, we are in the Church for goodness sake. Aren’t we all brothers and sisters? Why is one Christians time worth $900 US and the others not? I genuinely feel some pain at those kind of arrangements. It is a far cry from many of the people I spend my time working with.
Another example. There is another Church in a city in the UK. Depending on how much you give, you gain access to time with the senior leader. Again, a corporate model, again I think it stinks. Why do we do this?
Can you imagine Jesus becoming like this? Imagine the story of the widow’s mite. The woman puts the penny she has in the collection and Jesus says it just isn’t enough, it isn’t worth his time? Or what about the disciples being invited to an intimate conference with Jesus and paying a years wages for it? Feeding of the 5000, imagine if there was an entrance fee.
I’m not trying to escape from the reality that real things cost real money. I think what I find inexcusable is the notion that one Christian has the power to demand (or politely ask) for money for impartation/coaching/leadership etc. I mean, it is not as if those gifts were not given from God in the first place.
Christian conferences can be a business. I’ve been involved with them, trust me it’s true. Now of course we are not immune from market forces, but what are we in the game for, money or God? I do believe it is so so subtle.
To be honest, that’s one area we need to be careful of as we develop Dignity.Will we ever profiteer? I hope not, but you do have my permission to tell me that we are, if you ever feel like we are.
Perhaps the biggest bugbear can be that if our hearts are after money in any way, we will cease to go to the places where money is not provided or abundant, and cease to reach those who are not in possession of money. Read that again. I do believe that is the heart of why so many Christians in this world do not have access to good enough resources, there is no viable market, we can’t afford it, so we don’t do it.
That doesn’t sit well with me either!