My church’s new fundraising campaign makes me uncomfortable—should I just leave my church?

Q: “Our church is in a building program and we are also seeking to expand the number and size of our outreach programs. While I think this is all good in theory it seems that realistically we won’t have the money to do everything our church leaders are planning. Lately, it seems like the major theme of the sermons and other teachings is about money and how we must give sacrificially. This makes me very uncomfortable. I know I am not alone because some people have left the church because of this new emphasis on giving. Should I just leave too? Or is there a better way for me to think through this situation?”

A: First, what would be the best way for you to ask the best questions about your situation? You have taken a membership vow to God and the leaders and other members of your church not to flee simply because something is taking place you may not personally agree with. That means you owe God and your fellow worshippers the benefit of your every effort (see Eph. 4:3) to craft your present concerns in a way that serves God’s interests and the interests of others in your church (see Phil. 2:1-5).

From God’s perspective, what best questions would He have you ask at this time that leave out your personal bias and unwarranted presuppositions? For example: “What does God’s Word teach me about the use of money entrusted to me?”, “What does God’s Word teach me about trusting him when personally in doubt?”, “What does God’s Word teach me about how I should tell my pastor about the discomfort I experience when his teaching and preaching seems to me unbalanced in light of all that the Scriptures reveal and all that the Gospel implies for my life as a Christian?” Try writing down every question like these in order to prepare yourself for a time of thoughtful interaction with your church leaders and other members. By approaching your “discomfort” in this manner you will demonstrate your spiritual maturity, trust in God, and honor Him by honoring your membership vows.

-Dave Edling

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About David V. Edling

Dave Edling is an experienced Christian conciliator who has worked with many conflicted churches. During his decade of service on the senior staff of Peacemaker Ministries, he participated in over 200 mediation and arbitration cases and worked with nearly twenty thousand Christians engaged in conflicts affecting churches of almost every denomination. Dave holds several graduate degrees in addition to his Bachelor of Science degree from Oregon State University. They are: Master of Arts in Human Behavior, United States International University (now Alliant International University); Juris Doctor, California Western School of Law; Master of Arts in Religion, Westminster Seminary California; and Master of Arts in Biblical Conflict Resolution, Birmingham Theological Seminary. Dave has served as a trustee on the Board of Directors for Covenant College and Westminster Seminary California and has taught in the Doctor of Ministry programs for Reformed Theological Seminary, Mid-Western Baptist Theological Seminary, and Westminster Theological Seminary. In addition, Dave has been a lecturer in practical theology for several other Christian colleges and seminaries.
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