Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

“His Money”

If a church has money, as in a treasury, but the church is the people… if a congregation experienced 100% turnover in members, whose money is it? Suppose a small group of twelve members had a treasury of $30,000 and owned a building.  If two families moved, but a new family moved into town about the same time, could they just inherit the church's treasury as their own?  How can a treasury of money be stored for generations and generations where the same members weren't there who gave to it in the first place?  It seems like we have created an idea that the local church is an organization in and of itself apart from the people that define it.  We then give money to the organization, like giving to the Rotary club, and it doesn't matter who the people are; the "club" still possesses the money.  Is this the biblical example?

Membership Required

Dear Membership Required,

The local church is greater than the individuals that comprise it.  The local church is made up of the christians that meet in that particular location (like the saints that met in Corinth – 1 Cor 1:2 or the saints that met in Thessalonica – Php 1:1).  When a christian leaves that local area and attends elsewhere, they cease to be a member of that local congregation.  Over time, almost every congregation sees a complete (or near complete) turnover of its membership.  Christians have, and always will, be moving away because of jobs, life changes, retirement, etc.

This isn’t a problem because the church’s treasury doesn’t belong to the members – when new members come in, they don’t inherit anything because it belongs to the Lord, not us.  When churches take up a collection on the first day of the week (1 Cor 16:1-2), it is money that is collected from the christians and dedicated to the Lord’s work.