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October 17, 2017
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Should a business person be allowed to promote services to church members for a profit?

Os Hillman • Money Management
Dear Os,
I am a TGIF subscriber and have appreciated your encouragement over the years. I wanted to ask you if you know of any books or articles that touch on the subject of profiting financially from delivering services within the church. What are your thoughts on this?

 

Dear Os,

I am a TGIF subscriber and have appreciated your encouragement over the years. I wanted to ask you if you know of any books or articles that touch on the subject of profiting financially from delivering services within the church. Without going into details, my firm has developed a wonderful process to help affluent families understand their values and to enroll the next generation to use their Time, Talent, Treasure and Influence to further God's Kingdom. However, within the church, there can be apprehension to have businessmen promote services to church members for a profit (particularly those from the financial industry). There are cases where commission sales in investments or insurance within the church has been abused. However, with a pure heart and a passion for training believers to be better stewards of their resources, we believe the church needs to hear this from within the church (believer to believer). We haven't fully evaluated how to deliver the information (books, sermons, private consulting) and the economics (cost) behind it. Do you have any thoughts on this subject?

I hope the question makes sense - I wrote it quickly. If it is not clear, I would like to follow up with you.

Thank you,


Stephen  

 

 

Dear Stephen,

 

This is an excellent question and would not be the first time someone has had to wrestle with it. Offering a service to church members in which a member or anyone else would profit directly from that service opens up some problematic issues.

 

Here are the key issues as I see it.

 

  • If one member does it, what keeps other members from feeling they have the right to do the same?

 

  • Whenever profit is involved, there is always a perception of wrong doing and allows the spirit of Mammon to surface and cause a great many problems, even if your motive is good. 

 

  • Jesus confronted the money changers because they were using the temple inappropriately and for unrighteous gain. Jesus emphasized the need for the temple to be a place of prayer. Whenever we mix commerce in the context of the local congregation it can cause problems.

 

 

Now, having said this I believe there is a way to provide a needed service like educating people about the proper use of finances. My suggestion would be as follows:

 

Consider setting up a separate division of your services that is a foundation.
 

Provide teaching to your people through this separate ministry that receives income based on donations or a modest tuition. I believe this would avoid any perception of profiting from the flock and avoid operating within a mammon spirit.

 

 If people want professional services from you that go beyond the teaching, then direct them to your for-profit service or even other services within your congregation that provide the same type of services. That way you stay of away from a perception of this just being a business development strategy through your local church. It is appropriate for you to provide services for a fee, but keeping this aspect outside the congregational setting allows you to do so without a perception of wrongdoing. The Bible says we should be entitled to receive from our work, so you should not feel that is inappropriate.

 

Following are scriptures that might have a bearing on this issue.

 

2 Peter 2:3

In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.

 

Matt 21:12-13

Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13 "It is written," he said to them, "'My house will be called a house of prayer,' but you are making it a 'den of robbers.'"

 

Matthew 6:24

 "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love
  the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other.
  You cannot serve God and mammon." (NKJV)

 

 

Deuteronomy 25:4

 "You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing."

 

1 Corinthians 9:8-10

"I am not speaking these things according to human judgment, am I? Or does not the Law also say these things? For it is written in the Law of Moses, 'You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing.' God is not concerned about oxen, is He? Or is He speaking altogether for our sake? Yes, for our sake it was written, because the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher to thresh in hope of sharing the crops."

 

Paul used the analogy of the ox again, in his letter to Timothy.

When Paul wrote about 'ruling elders,' he spoke of them as being worthy of "double honor." He again referred to the law of Moses, and concluded with the statement, "The laborer is worthy of his wages." This phrase connects each of the analogies of the ox eating while threshing with financial support.

 

1 Timothy 5:17-18

"Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, 'You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing,' and 'The laborer is worthy of his wages.'"

 

 

WE MUST NOT FEEL BEHOLDEN TO ANYONE.

Paul wrote that he would rather die than have his motivation for
preaching be misunderstood, and the ministry of the gospel be 
compromised.

 

1 Corinthians 9:12, 15 & 18

 "If others share the right over you, do we not more? Nevertheless, we
  did not use this right, but we endure all things, that we may cause no
  hindrance to the gospel of Christ. But I have used none of these
  things.  And I am not writing these things that it may be done so in
  my case; for it would be better for me to die than have any man make
  my boast an empty one. What then is my reward? That, when I
  preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel without charge, so as
  not to make  full use of my right in the gospel."

 

Ezekiel gives a severe warning to those leaders who oversee the
people of God, and misuse or abuse their support.

Ezekiel 34:24

"Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel.

 

 

 

Mark 7:20-23

He went on: "What comes out of a man is what makes him 'unclean.'  For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man 'unclean.'"

 

 

 

Luke 12:14-15

Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."

 

 

Eph 5:3

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people.

 

 

 For more resources by Os Hillman, visit FaithandWorkResources.com link to the right of this page. For more WorkplaceAnswers, visit www.marketplaceleaders.org and the Marketplace Mentor program.

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