The paradigm of giving in the church has shifted in the last two decades. It is from the sales of items, popularly called 'harvest', to church members bringing in the cash, instead. This shift occurred as a result of the arrival of the charismatic churches, with the attendant demand for modernization of praises and worship, among other things. The quest to meet this demand calls for larger coffers, and the members are the ones to cause all to happen. Out of this came the idea, 'I want ten people to give me this amount,' as specified by the one leading for the offering to be taken. The question is, is it biblical to give offering with this method where the amount to be given is determined by someone else, and not the giver, as led by the Holy Spirit? Giving in all circles of life had produced some contentions, culminating in large organizations and well-knitted communities splitting into factions. The church had not been an exception. The church experienced her fair share of such conflicts over the years. Some of these conflicts in some of these churches could have been averted if proper and adequate biblical principles and knowledge were applied. Various reasons could be ascribed to these ugly scenarios. One of these reasons could be too much demand for money, while the other could be the attitude of demeaning those who could not meet the quota set by the church. Some churches even set certain conditions to be met. But under no circumstance should a church institute any condition a member should meet before extending a helping hand. We should rather promote a healthy relationship with Jesus which I believe is paramount, instead of elevating membership to the church. Is there any blessing in bypassing a fellow member to offer a person help outside the church, because we want folks to know we are Christians? Did Jesus pick and choose special persons to deserve His feeding and healing? Do you remember the believers in Antioch? They did not confine their giving to only their members. If these believers had done that, they would not have been called Christians. They earned the name from those outside the church who noticed their unbiased way of living. Let us therefore display His qualities. He will then take care of the issue of giving. Because members had not been taught to know why, what, when, where, who and how to give, some pastors choose any means that will suit them, thinking they are building a kingdom for God. For this and other reasons, some ministers are scared to spare their members the prerogative to decide what they can afford to give under the direction of the Holy Spirit. The Bible is silent on the number of times offering could and should be taken. The Church Board can wisely decide. Some churches take it twice on a Sunday, and once any other day the church meets. Others, only once whenever the church meets. The ignorance on part of some church members had paved the way for some pastors to milk their members without the slightest consideration. I challenge you to buy this book. Take your time to read through noting, with keen interest, the points I raised. It will help you to understand why Christians should not be compelled to give, instead be given the prerogative to decide what or how much to give.
Giving by James Tawiah Mensah was published by Outskirts Press in July 2012 and is our 42611th best seller. The ISBN for Giving is 9781432794705.