Sometimes, ministries get desperate — or even dishonest or self-focused. The books look bad, the bills aren’t getting paid, and what was once a passion for the Kingdom of Christ has been replaced with floundering attempts to simply make ends meet. The flesh can be amazingly deceptive, but when your giving team is pulling back and decreasing their support of your ministry, self examination is the first order of the day.
Desperate Instead of Deliberate
Like the disciple Peter, we always start sinking when we focus on the waters around us instead of on our Savior, who has the power to help us rise above the tumultuous waters and even calm the fiercest storms with simple words. As His children, we are never beyond the scope of His all-powerful provision, but when we fail to focus on such Truth, we can send mixed messages and seem like all we care about is securing funds we lack.
Matthew 6 reminds us of God’s sovereign provision, something we need to focus on in both our personal lives and our ministry roles. What kind of message does it send to others if we as His children appear as beggars, rather than empowered, passionate servants who trust their Lord to provide what’s needed to enable them to perform their God-given roles?
Dishonest Instead of Dutiful
In addition to desperation, those who are leading ministries with financial struggles can succumb to the temptation to be dishonest or irresponsible in their attempts to secure the funding needed to continue along their planned path. While we’re all passionate about the vision we believe is from God, He never desires for us to sin against His clearly revealed Word in order to keep the doors open. Sometimes a different stream of funding or an alternate ministry model is the answer, but sinning never is (Romans 14:16). When we trust God, we will be empowered to obey Him, just like the old chorus says.
Self-Focused Instead of Ministry-Minded
Even without desperation or dishonesty coming into play, some ministries can make the mistake of coming across as always wanting money instead of wanting to serve others. Imagine the message this sends about their belief in the nature of giving — which is at the very crux of what they desire others to embrace! Like the apostles, ministry leaders are far from exempt when it comes to modeling the concept of prioritizing giving over receiving (Acts 20:35). Perhaps your ministry could actually tithe to another ministry or give to churches or your givers in other ways through your resources. eMinistry is one way to do this, and it can easily tie into your online giving program.
When it comes to a biblical view of giving, we need to lace our personal and ministry lives with more than words of continuity with what Christ teaches about these pivotal topics. As James 2 describes, our words about giving will be seen as empty and dead without actions to back them up.