Recently, I was asked to meet with two of the pastors and the board chair of a church in a nearby city. They wanted to talk about capital fund raising. I went to this meeting both out of curiosity and as a courtesy to one of the pastors whose former church had been one of the first to use the “Effective Stewardship” program.
It was an interesting meeting in many respects. This church is located in a downtown setting in a city of about 20,000 people. The leadership team with which I met described for me a very ambitious building renovation project that could approach several million dollars.
What was most interesting was their response to my question, “Why do you want to raise and spend this money?” Their answers included, “Because the building is in bad shape” and “Because we need to improve our image.”
Now, there’s nothing wrong with those answers except that they focus on secondary issues. The major reason to renovate a church building is not because the building needs renovation. Nor is it because the building is reflecting badly on a church’s image in the community. Rather, the primary reason to renovate a building is that this action will enable a church to reach more people with the good news of the Gospel for the glory of God. Renovation also will enable a church to attract new people and new families to enhanced facilities and thereby to have a better opportunity to fulfill the Great Commission.
In other words, the “why” has to do with ministry and what will be accomplished for God’s kingdom as a result of raising and spending millions of dollars. The “why” has to do not so much with bricks and mortar, but with hearts and lives that will be changed by the Gospel. If that church’s goal is not to accomplish more for the Lord and to have a major impact on the lives of people in that community, then they might as well be raising money for some civic philanthropic organization.
God doesn’t want us to give out of a sense of obligation or duty or habit. Nor does God want us to give to impress someone else or even to impress an entire community. God wants us to give out of hearts motivated by love for Him in response to His love for us. God wants us to give as part of our worship and praise to Him. God wants us to give because giving is part of His way of growing Christians.