A lot of people are under the impression that the Church is all about money. They will say that the Church only preaches about money, an idea born from the TV preachers. This is a valid charge, since many TV evangelists lay on some pretty thick guilt trips if you don’t send in your check. Some other Churches do make taking up the offering the centerpiece of the service, even to go so far as to check up on your finances to make sure you are giving your full 10% or “tithe”. Frankly, these are both abuses of Church power, and have no place in the Church.
Some use this reason so that the Church won’t ask them for money. People get hit up for money all the time, from the Fraternal Order of Police to the local charity drive. People are standing in the median at the four-way stop, or kids are coming to door asking for donations to this cause or that. Add to this the fact that the Government is always dipping into your check and taking out taxes so they can do their important social programs. Money is a sensitive issue, and everyone needs it.
But we would certainly be justified in talking about you and your money, since many parables and passages of Scripture deal specifically with finances. “Don’t gather up treasures on earth” (Matthew 6:19), the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30), the pearl of great price (Matthew 13:45-46), “go sell all that you have and give to the poor” (Mark 10:21), there were no needy among them since anyone with property would sell it and lay the sum at the feet of the Apostles (Acts 4:34-35) and “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor 9:7). Someone who objects to the Church because it has something to say about their money have to reckon with God, not the Church.
Aside from reassurance that our Church isn’t like that, repeated assurances that we are not after money, some people will still believe that the Church is all about money. And there will still be occasions that we will ask for money. We must remember that some folks have had bad experiences with Churches and money. We need to be sensitive to this, because someone’s grandmother may have been conned by a money-hungry preacher at some point, and now that family is destitute.
But instead of becoming defensive, our first reaction to this objection might be, “how can I help you?” Perhaps there is a person who needs generosity and hospitality before they can respond to God’s grace.