Recently Jon Acuff, of Stuff Christians Like, posted this sad picture on his site:
That is a photo of a voided check for $75.00. It looks as if this curmudgeon was going to give 75 bucks to the church but decided that he’d void the check and keep his money because the drums were way too loud.
This might be a reasonable response at a movie theater or some other form of entertainment, but this is absolutely unacceptable for a church. You do not give money to your church to reward them for entertaining you, helping you, or pleasing you. You give money to your church so that as a collective group you can accomplish the work of the kingdom of God.
If this chap wants to complain about the loud drums then he should find some other means to do it. Yes, sadly this is an excellent way to be heard. This a tremendous way to make a point because churches depend on faithful givers to not only keep their doors open but to further the mission of the church. But this guy has it backwards. He thinks that the church is there to serve him; by that I mean that he believes that everyone gathers each week to watch the show and they pool their resources so that they can watch an even bigger show next week. (Sadly, in some churches maybe this guy doesn’t have it so backwards after all).
I think about every pastor would be appalled by such a thing…but what about on a denominational level?
Part of the beauty of the Southern Baptist Convention is the Cooperative Program (CP). The CP is a way that all SBC churches can pool together their resources for the sake of furthering the kingdom of Christ. Whenever you give to an SBC church a good chunk of that money will go to the CP. From there it will be used for international missions, state missions, local missions, seminaries, children’s homes, and a host of other SBC agencies.
The SBC is structured in such a way that every church is locally autonomous. That means that seminaries, state officers, national officers, etc. do not have any authority in the local church. The President of the SBC cannot tell any SBC church what to do. It is quite frequently, and rightly, said that the SBC entities are in position to serve us—the local church.
What happens, then, when an SBC entity (that CP dollars go towards) “plays the drums too loud”?
If a local church, usually through the leadership of her pastor, believes that an entity is no longer serving them they can allot their giving in such a way that money will not be given to those entities. This happened many times during the days of the Conservative Resurgence when local churches believed that some of the entities were promoting liberalism instead of the gospel. Churches can become like the curmudgeon in the photo above and refuse to give money because they do not like the direction of the entity.
Of course within the SBC any church is free to give however they desire. They can do whatever they want. The question I am concerned with is whether or not they should. Come back tomorrow morning and I will attempt to answer this question:
If an entity no longer serves the local church should they continue giving to that entity?