Tuesday, February 16, 2010

When Giving Goes Wrong

I've found in my experience in different churches an interesting development. In some churches, usually under 1000 members, there is a tendency to call its members to sacrifice. They are required to use more of there talents and time in service to the church body. On the other hand there are also churches who place more emphasis on the training and development of membership to be better at service.

Each approach has an upside and a downside, and they are both needed. In smaller churches the call to sacrifice is admirable when people first give themselves to the Lord, and their service is an outworking of that commitment. However, it becomes either self-serving or detrimental when the motive is relief from guilt and people-pleasing.

On the other hand, when the call to service is centered around equipping, people who desire to serve the Lord with all their hearts are strengthened and encouraged to serve with excellence. And they see their service, not as a sacrifice, but a valuable investment in God's kingdom and in their own eternity. On the downside, when people in this type of community see their service as a necessary burden, they may be more prone to wander what's in it for them. Some will become perpetual learners, never practicing, while some will always be evaluating what they learn, but never implementing.

The root cause of both issues is the heart. Unless people give themselves first to the Lord, their service will be a burden. (2 Corinthians 8:1-5)

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