Why I'm Glad My Church Needs Money

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Don Linscott shares a powerful and personal story about the cost of growth.

“I wish we didn’t talk so much about money,” is a comment I have often heard while working with churches to raise funds for their important purposes. 

I understand the sentiment but hold an opposing viewpoint. In fact, I hope my church always needs money.  

Here is why.

My son, Lance, was born before it became acceptable for the father to be present in the delivery room. (A fact for which I have always been grateful!) I waited in the hallway just outside the delivery room. 

At precisely 4:13 p.m., I heard the unmistakable cry of a newborn baby, Lance’s first sound. The nurse emerged with a smile and said, “You have a baby boy.”

Only a new father can know the wonder of those words!

The wonderful glow of fatherhood was soon dimmed, however, when I was asked to visit the business office of the hospital. They wanted me to pay for Lance! In fact, it seemed to me that my child might be held hostage until the hospital bill was settled.

I wrote the check paying all the expenses in full, freed my family, and we made our escape. That check turned out to be only the first of hundreds, maybe thousands, I would write on Lance’s behalf. 

Children are expensive. There was formula and food to buy. Doctor visits and vaccinations assaulted my banking account. Diapers and toys took their toll.  And clothes were a constant drain. Just when he would get a good wardrobe, he would grow a smidgen, and we would have to start all over.

As Lance’s age and size increased, so did the expenses. Soon, it was baseball gloves, Nike shoes, and uniforms. Then he needed glasses for his eyes and braces for his teeth. 

And then, disaster struck. Lance became a teenager! Now it was cars, electronic gadgets, and cool clothes.

Then came college. Lance had always, and only, wanted to be an architect. To me, it seemed he would be in school until he was forty‑two years old. 

Expenses soared! Tuition, books, and drawing tools led the long list of essential expenditures.

But of course, just like loving fathers everywhere, I was happy to be able to help him, and I did all I could to support his growth and his dreams. I never thought of these expenses as “sacrifice.”

I was his Daddy and was prepared to give everything possible toward his life and dreams.

And then, one day, Lance died.

On a bright, beautiful, and horrible Halloween Day, twenty-one-year-old Lance was buried in his church’s little country cemetery. That afternoon, I walked away from his grave, and since that day, I have never spent another nickel on Lance.

That is how I learned it. Death is cheap. Death can be sustained without expense. 

It is living that is costly. 

It is growth that is expensive. 

Our dreams, visions, and hopes require resources. Death doesn’t! 

And that is why I am glad my church needs money. 

A living, growing, thriving church will always require the continual, consistent, and conscientious financial support of its members. And that’s the church I want to belong to.  

Don Linscott Don, for over twenty-five years has been helping churches raise funds for causes they care about. It has been his privilege to work with some of the finest churches in America, small and large. He has met exceptional people and witnessed remarkable stories of transformation and generosity. For the most part, his blog will deal with fundraising, stewardship, generosity, leadership, and church opportunities and challenges.

More from Don Linscott or visit Don at http://www.donlinscott.com/

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  • Bradbailey

    I am in the midst of writing our church about giving and this was such a beautiful word to my heart. Thanks.

  • Chuwaley2002

    Why did Lance die?

  • johnnymercado

    It’s so true, if the church dies there is no more asking.  I am going to tell my church that we are very much alive and we need money  to stay alive.  God bless you Don

  • MelKizadeck

    Your premise is invalid.  You assume that the church “needs” money because its growing and thriving, but you make no mention of how that growth was obtained.  Was the growth a result of catering to the lost and trying to bring new people in?  Was it because the gospel was set aside and “worship” became a source of entertainment for people?

    What a church will always need is Christ and Christ alone.  Don’t assume that you “need” money just because you live in the American culture.  Don’t assume that all church growth is brought by God.  No doubt some of the most God glorifying churches on this planet are ones that meet in secret in someone’s house on varying nights of the week because of persecution.  If you ask them if they need money, they would say “No, we need Christ.”

    • http://www.hiskingdomprophecy.com/ Angus MacKillop

      Sadly yes, even if a church is moribund and dying, it still needs money.  If a church is fully alive, it should need none for tithes, first fruits and offerings ought to keep it provisioned without asking.

    • http://imattchell.tumblr.com/ Matt

      Hey MelKizadeck,

      I think I see where you’re coming from, but I think you’re hitting on a different vein then what Don is talking about. Doing things in this world costs money. You need to buy food to feed hungry people; you need to buy clothing to clothe the homeless; you need to give cash to help struggling families make rent; etc. 
      Your comment seems, to me, to have a bit of a bias against institutional churches, which is totally your business. You said, “No doubt some of the most God glorifying churches on this planet are the ones that meet in secret in someone’s house on varying nights of the week because of persecution.” I’m not disagreeing with you, but I’d say that some of the most God-glorifying churches are also megachurches and institutional western churches that are facing acceptance from their communities and governments because of the work they do. Also, how does one measure a church’s “quantity” of giving glory to God? To say that some are more God-glorifying than others implies that there must be some way of measuring it objectively.No doubt, Christ is the centre, the focus, the head of the church. He’s the need of every gathering of believers just as much as he’s the need of every individual, but he placed us here on this earth and asked us to provide for one another also. Giving to a church is (or should be) an act of assisting in providing for one another.All this to say, I think that Don’s point is that churches should always be doing worthwhile things, and in this world, worthwhile things cost money, so the people in church (who constitute what the church is) need to be involved in giving to the church’s Christ-ordained purposes.

  • Hand60

    You should consider recording this to video for sharing with other congregations. It is a tremendous story but would be much more powerful if you told it yourself.

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