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The First Commandment of a Struggling Church

When is the last time your church took a long, hard look at its ministry motives?

I have no doubt that your church has a heart to reach the unsaved. But if someone took a look at your budget, would it reflect that?

Jesus never commanded anyone to be comfortable and maintain the status quo. He commanded us to reach the lost—despite the cost.

I consult with couples and individuals often about personal finances. When the issue of giving comes up, I hear this often:

“You just don’t understand. I can’t afford to give.”

My response is similar each time:

“You’ll never be able to afford to give until you simply start giving. When you are faithful and generous with the first of your income, God is bound by His Holy Word to protect and bless the rest.”

If you’re a pastor who just read the above statement, you probably agree 100 percent.

Then why is it so hard to grasp this concept when it comes to the finances of your church?

Pastors tell me often, “Right now, our budget just doesn’t allow for our church to give to missions.”

Hold up …

You mean to tell me that God is big enough to bless your personal finances, but not big enough to bless the finances of your church?

I’ll let you in on a little secret …

The economy in Heaven is doing just fine!

Pastor, if you truly want to experience the PROVISION of God, you MUST start investing in ministries outside of the four walls of your church.

Here are just of couple of ways that my young church has financially committed to reach the lost in our community and abroad. These are practical things your church can do too (and should starting doing).

1. Provide ongoing, monthly financial support ($250/month) for a campus missionary at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. College campuses are a huge mission field.

2. Pay the full-time salary of a missionary to Bangladesh ($150/month). Yes, you read that right! We support a full-time missionary for only $5/day.

3. Adopted a low-income housing community (50 apartments) in our city. We’ve partnered with this community to provide weekly transportation to church, have established a mentoring program for kids within the community, and teach a Jobs for Life class to residents on a bi-annual basis.

4. Partnered with the Youth Alliance and invested in our local school systems. Through this organization, we’ve been able to take a message of hope to over 15,000 students in the Raleigh area this year alone.

5. Invested money and resources in multiple church plants in our city.

And much more.

Has it been scary at times? Yes.

Have we doubted at times? Probably.

Have we had to say “No” to things we wanted? Sometimes.

Has God ever failed us? An emphatic “No.”

Your church just has to be obedient.

Pastor, I want you to grow generosity within your church while simultaneously practicing generosity outside of your church. One without the other just doesn’t work.

Have faith. Be the hands and feet. Watch God provide.

QUESTION: What is one financial “faith step” your church can take over the next 90 days? How can you invest more heavily in missions in the coming 12 months? 

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larrypoole@churchleaders.com'
Larry Poole serves as the Director of Generosity for Northpark Church located in Raleigh, NC. He coaches pastors, churches, and individuals on the spiritual discipline of generosity. His passion is helping the local church become fully funded so that it can more effectively accomplish the Great Commission. You can connect with Larry on Twitter at @tweetlarrypoole or through his blog at www.larrypoolespeaks.com.