Which comes first…the offering or the disciple?
by GenerousChurch | August 20, 2013
It’s an age-old question for pastors. “Should I pour myself into raising the offering so that we can invest in making disciples or should I pour myself into making disciples and hope that the offering goes up?”
As a young minister, I pastored a small, rural church where I was the only staff member. At times, being the sole minister in the church had its benefits. Staff meetings were simple. Coordinating schedules was never an issue.
But, being the lone minister in the church left me with some tough decisions. Some days, I would sit alone in my office and ponder the best way to engage our children and youth. Other days, I would bemoan the 60+ hours I was working each week to cover the hospital visits, care for the shut-in’s, conduct neighborhood ministries and write three weekly sermons. During those times, I would wonder if I should encourage the church to hire more staff (anticipating an increase in offerings) or if I should encourage the church to give more money…so that we could hire another minister.
We eventually decided to pursue the money before the minister.
I think all leaders wrestle with this decision at some point or another. Maybe it’s not an issue of staffing, but we all feel the tension between money and ministry capabilities:
A quick, mental-jog through Scripture may not help much, either. Paul raised money (2 Corinthians 8 & 9). Jesus raised disciples (Matthew 28:18-20). Moses asked for a tithe to support the priests (Leviticus 27). Ezekiel blasted the priests for their concern over money and their lack of concern for making disciples (Ezekiel 34).
So, which comes first…raising money or raising disciples?
To answer that question, I think we have to dig one layer below the surface of the question. We have to understand the heart behind the Biblical illustrations that are listed above:
If you truly pour yourself into making disciples, the money will come. (See: Why You Cannot Make Disciples Apart from Generosity) But, if you pour yourself into raising money, there’s no promise that discipleship will follow.
What do you think? If you have gone through this as a minister…or if you are on the backend of one of these decisions…what advice would you offer to others?
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September 4, 2013 - 09:54:58 AM
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