Estelle * was a regular churchgoer with several children. “I told my minister that I wanted to learn about the Bible,” she says. But he never offered to teach her. Finally, she stopped attending church. She continues: “The church officials wrote and basically said that if I could not be there, just send money. I thought, ‘They don’t care if I even attend; they just want my money.’”
Angelina, who has always been religious, said: “In my church, they passed the basket three times during each worship service, and we were expected to give each time. They were always asking for money. I thought to myself, ‘They do not have God’s spirit.’”
Do the religions in your area employ direct or subtle pressure to obtain money? Is that in harmony with the Bible?
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE TEACH?
Jesus, the founder of Christianity, said: “You received free, give free.” (Matthew 10:8) The message of the Bible is priceless and should be available to all who want it.
How did the early Christians care for congregation expenses?
Each one contributed “just as he has resolved in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7) The apostle Paul said: “It was with working night and day, so as not to put an expensive burden upon any one of you, that we preached the good news.” (1 Thessalonians 2:9) Paul worked as a tentmaker to support his ministry.
HOW DO JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES MEASURE UP?
Jehovah’s Witnesses commonly meet in modest buildings called Kingdom Halls. How are expenses covered? They never pass collection plates, nor do they send out envelopes to solicit donations. Rather, any who appreciate the spiritual program can discreetly place a donation in a contribution box at the Kingdom Hall.
How should religion be financed?
This magazine obviously costs money to print and ship. Yet you will never see commercial advertising or appeals for money. The emphasis is on dispensing Bible truth.
What do you think: Is the spirit behind these arrangements in accord with Jesus’ words and the example of the early Christians?
^ par. 2 Some names in this series of articles have been changed.