Reggie McNeal, Missional Renaissance: Changing the Scorecard for the Church.
I heard it said once that we have church and missions mixed up. We attend church every week, sometimes 2 or 3 times a week. And once a year, or once a decade, or once a lifetime we go out on a missions trip. In reality, we should be doing missions daily and once a year go on a church retreat! The truth is, we feel that we need to be in church every week just so that we can make it through another week at the office. What a sad testimony of the power of the Holy Spirit!
Missions should be our reality. Sure we should be getting together with other believers regularly to have a meal [Lord’s supper] and edify one another. But, we have put too much emphasis on church and not enough on the kingdom. “How can I serve the church? Sunday school? ushering? …”, “How can the church bless me?”
Rather, our emphasis should be on how do I bless the people around me every day? Who is it that needs a glass of water? Who can I clothe? In this, our job is not to be evangelists but to be witnesses. And whats the difference? Witnesses do not ask questions, they answer questions, and only the questions that they have been asked.
Now a good barometer of how well we are looking at the church through kingdom eyes, rather that looking at the kingdom through church eyes, is the church budget. How much are we spending on buildings, salaries, internal programs and other bureaucratic needs, versus how much are we spending on feeding the poor and clothing the naked?
Even if 10% is given to missions, only a fraction of that gets to the people that really need it! In most churches, 80-95% of the budget goes to maintaining or feeding the machine. We are so self centered, that we think monies going to departments (worship, media, men’s, women’s and youth) is money going to missions. Church programs are self gratifying and is not kingdom spending, though it is required spending in order to allow the institutional machinery to keep running.
In N. America, hundreds of billions of dollars is spent internally within the institutions each year. Only a fraction of what is spent on our self is spent on the needy by the church budget. In the world, billions of dollars was donated to charity by Bono, Gates and a few others alone!
How well are we really doing at stewarding the finances that goes through the institution? You cannot tell me that there is nothing wrong with the institutional christian machinery!
The people of God spend much more themselves, I am not trying to say that Christians are cheep, but the the institution is broken. I believe that Christians are more generous then the average person, however, that does not mean that the charities they donate to are good stewards of the money that comes in to their coffers – and this includes the church.