A Korean church in a big city recently built a new sanctuary. A member of our church visited it and was impressed. He says that the sanctuary is magnificent, with top-notch facilities. They invested $1.5 million on the sound equipment alone. After hearing it, this person seemed to feel that our sound system was inadequate.
Occasionally, I hear complaints from our church members: why does a church our size charge money for lunch? Shouldn’t our church give away Sunday sermon CDs free of charge when they are intended to be given to non-believers? Shouldn’t our church provide meals for people who are at church for almost the entire day for ministry on weekends? Shouldn’t we hire professionals to do some of our ministries instead of having them done by church members?
Before dealing with these kinds of complaints, we should ask ourselves one question: Do we want our church to be a church for ourselves or a church for others?
In Junju, Korea, there was a church called the “Coke-Can Church”. They got their name because of their sanctuary, which was a replica of U.S. Army barracks during the Korean War. They were made from materials like tin and shaped like a Coke can cut in half. They had such a primitive building because they committed to using 70% of their church budget toward missions, and they simply could not afford an expensive sanctuary with such a lofty goal. I admire their spirit.
Some of our church members want to build a fancy children’s playground. Others want to hire paid workers so that some of our ministries are done professionally. I know that some churches do this, and hire many people to run their church efficiently. But I sometimes wonder what portion of their church budget is being used for others. Probably not much.
I want our church to become a church that helps others as much as possible. I think that we are on our way. After the fiscal year 2006, expenditures related to those outside the church equaled 42% of our total spending, when designated offerings for mission and charities were included.
We made it a rule that when we have a surplus after a fiscal year, we use it for others. And we have been faithful in keeping this rule.
I want our church to be a church that is proud of how much it gives away rather than how much it has. I want our church to be a church that scatters rather than gathers.
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