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Being a member of a church...

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Active
Ya know, humans make simple things so complicated & then blame others when they can't seem to figure it out.

My mom attended one church for a while. She really liked the church, the congregation & the pastor. My brother & I decided to have her memorial at the church she has gone to for at least a year. After talking with the pastor he let us know that "she wasn't a member" & it will be $400.00 to have her memorial there. After the initial shock wore off I became angry. WE are the body - I AM a member of God & he IS a member of ME. Being a member of a building that talks about God ... what's that? Does that mean we are more faithful because we're "members" of a building that talks more about God than any other topic? Where does it say that we should or have to be "members" of a building that is called a church? My mom attended regularly & tithed at this church & she wasn't a "member" so WHY did they accept a tithe from her? WHY is it so easy to pass a tray around to gain money from non"members" but difficult to accept someone as a member but not their money? Is there a test that you have to take & pass in order for you to be a member? What if you fail the test? Will God turn us away? Will he say we didn't make the cut? Are we graded on the test? Does God love the low scores any less than them that scored A's?

I avoided church like a disease due to the almighty tithe tray being passed around like a joint at a frat party. It is becoming more frequent at the church I attend now & rather disgusting to be totally honest.

It's sinful how these churches claim compassion & care for others yet as soon as the 'others' are in need of the money they are so readily to pass the tray around for the fine print becomes all so legible. The majority of Churches are a complete joke. People gather around, the pastor reads a couple scriptures, claim this love for Christ, converse, drink coffee, pray for so & so for what their going through, pass the tithe tray, mention bible study coming up, let the congregation know what the church is in need of, pass the tray around, hug each other with the generic .06 second reach around, talk about the roof that needs shingles, pass the tithe tray around ... (you get my point).

Not in ANY verse, doctrine, or scripture have I read ANYWHERE Jesus passing a tithe tray around like a Frisbee. I have no issue giving to my church. It's not 10% of my total earnings because I give money to others I see in check out lines at the Goodwill, or people that don't have enough money to cover the milk, bread & diapers. To support a building or people in it that are going to ask to be paid for a funeral service on a day the church isn't being used doesn't just have me wanting to snap it has me doubt MANY "members". Wolves in sheep's clothing are closer than we think.

If there is a pastor in here I would love to hear your take on what I have here. I won't dismantle you from limb to limb. I would just like to know make this make sense to me. With churches being Non-Profit how can anyone explain the money they get? If they offer a building to worship God in & accept money from members how is that NOT a profit? WHO profits from it? It's not anyone that actually needs it as I am finding out.


Lord, please soften my heart because you KNOW what I would like to say but because of YOU I will refrain. You are MY strength.
 
Loyal
Workers are worth the wages... but.... I work as well for the kingdom of God and because I dont have a diploma on my wall, no one gives me money to spend more time doing the Lords work. I have to work for a living. Paul had to work for a living. Some pastors live pretty high on the hog, despite the people who give them money being poor money wise. But this is dealt with in judgement after death. For now, be generous... but... be generous with those in need versus those wanting more. Or give to the church if so led, but just be careful not to be stingy.
 
Member
IT is believing that is the important part many buildings seem to be only after money it is sickening thought but true
 
Member
I one hundred percent know where your coming from! Like I've heard so many times before just because your in the house of the Lord doesn't mean Satan I sent there too.
I guess best judgement and faith go along way in these situations.
Sorry for your moms situation as well. :(
 
Loyal
We attend a church meeting every time 2 or 3 of us gather together IN His Name [Matt 18:20]. Sometimes we may also attend meetings in physical buildings that are called "church". Whether or not such meetings please God depends on what people's purposes are in even being there.

Membership or not, if membership is necessary, should certainly, I believe, be determined by God rather by than some man or men... even well intentioned men.

Abraham Lincoln one of the more popular presidents of the United States attended church meetings at times, but he would never join any organized church group because even then [150 years ago?] people had membership requirements that were not initiated by God. I copied these words from a book about Lincoln long ago. Supposedly they were his words:

"I have never united myself to any church, because I have found difficulty in giving my assent without mental reservation, to the long complicated statements of Christian doctrine which characterizes their Articles of Belief and Confessions of Faith.

When any church will inscribe over its altar as its sole qualification for membership the Savior's condensed statement of both Law and Gospel, 'thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and thy neighbor as thyself' that church will I join with all my heart and all my soul"
 
Member
Tithing is an interesting subject. I have never heard anyone teach it in a way that I think is correct and complete for those who believe in and love Jesus.

Switching topics slightly to make a point - circumcision. Circumcision started with Abraham BEFORE the law. And by the way, tithing is kind of the same thing. Abraham is the one given the covenant of circumcision back in Genesis BEFORE the law and Moses. Abraham is also the first case documented of tithing (also Before the law). In the book of Galations in the New Testament the apostle Paul was stating very clearly - if you are getting circumcised in your flesh to keep the law, you have fallen from grace, you are turned away from Christ.

I was gently arguing with an elder from my church one day about this stating "tithing and circumcision are very much alike - both before the law, established by the law. But we know what the apostle Paul had to say about getting yourself circumcised to be keeping the law - not a good idea!" But the elder replied "But circumcision is in the New Testament". And as I thought about it, I realized he was right. Circumcision is in the New Testament. It is just not the physical cutting away of the flesh but the circumcision of Christ made without hands in our hearts.

So, I have sometimes now tried to consider tithing in the same light. If circumcision in the old testament was cutting of your flesh, and circumcision in the New Testament is letting God do the removal of your old nature "the flesh" going down into the waters of baptism ... then what is the right way to view tithing in the New Testament? I don't have any for sure "smart alek" answers on this ... but I have a hunch ... there are passages in Deuteronomy indicating that in giving the tithe the Lord would see it as the entire amount, the whole thing. I think in the New Testament, the tithe is giving your whole heart, your whole life. Not counting "10% - that's yours God ... no more, the rest is mine". In the New Testament, it is a marriage of love ... He is in love with a people, the church ("His bride") ... and He is hoping for a whole hearted LOVE response (not in obligation, not in "have to" ... but in "You changed my heart, I want to give it all to you").

My wife and I were in a church - I was the treasurer - that spoke of tithing very frequently, and made it clear to be in right relationship with God and them one needed to be tithing. By comparison, where we go now, I think they taught on it only once in almost 5 years. And they do not pass the plate, the box is in the back in the foyer. My wife and I do give 10% still ... but that is because I think the Holy Spirit wants us to ... it is not a have to. I am so thrilled with His presence and love ... nothing is better. My hope and desire is before leaving this life I have given it all to Him ... and it is not chore ... it is a delight.

To anyone out there struggling with this tithing issue and how it is handled ... I would say ask Father God to help you fall in love with Him and His son Jesus ... and like any good father He will teach about His heart on tithing (the "real" tithing He was interested in all along) in due season.
 
Loyal
Mark 12:41-44New International Version (NIV)

> and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.

43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

For me this says a lot about tithing, It obviously please Jesus very much when we give !! especially when it is from our heart and not because we want to be recognized among our peers

English Standard Version
but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.

I believe when we give we are investing in our eternal life !!
 
Active
Testifying to a man in the wor)d, he said "oh, I wouldn't go there (a church building), everyone knows they are "money hungry and blood thirsty".

Enough said; the Word of God confirms it. They have killed every prophet God has sent to them, including His Son.

Why would anyone want to be a member of it?
 
Active
I was the Pastor of three Baptist Churches. My salary was small, compared to, Evangelical Churches. One that I know of, received $60,000.00 per year plus all expenses in the parsonage, covered. Mine in one Church was $25.00 per week and the other two I received $25,000.00 per year with electric & heat provided. I had two children in Bible College and boy was it tough. I was called to small Country Churches, that's where my love was. Salary was only to cover my modest needs, that's all.

In 1994, I started the Christian Fellowship of Greenfield, MA. I chose to have a full time job so I wouldn't have to take a salary. No plate passing. A box at the entrance was for offerings, no tithe. All the money collected went right back into the needs of those attending. No membership. Needless to say, Jesus blessed this Assembly beyond expectations.
 
Active
Thank you for all the replies brothers & sisters!!!!!

Since my mom passed away in February I haven't gotten much support from my church. I did however get a sympathy card from the pastor after I send him a email stating my concerns & disappointment. I don't think it should have taken me to send an email to get anything from him. I did the right thing (I feel) by addressing him directly instead of gossiping, complaining & letting it anger me inside. I always thought that when a serious event takes place with a member of a church the church gathers & comforts the person. That was not the case for me. I hear the word "tithe, love offerings" so much that I honestly want to puke when I hear the words now. I don't feel that is how it should be. I was penniless & was told that if I tithe I will be blessed. To me that sounds kind of twisted. I wouldn't want anyone doing for me just to get something in return... When I was in dire need I didn't get any help from the church & they were fully aware that I was not in a good place with money, my bills or anything for that matter. It breaks my heart to think that a church is nothing like I thought it should be. I don't feel that they should hand money out hand over fist but when you have a dedicated member that does whatever is asked & when they are struggling & stressed out they should step in & do what they can. Even if it's a simple "we're here for you whenever you want to talk or pray". When I was baptized I was told that I would get a member certificate but never did. I was told that I would get a love offering once I became a member, that never happened. The congregation is VERY small... maybe 6 people & I often wonder why that is. I know many people did attend but over the past years the number dwindled & is almost non-existent.


I dunno, I am just so dedicated to helping people anytime I can. I have given $18.00 when all I had was $20.00... most the time I gave the entire $20.00 I am just so dedicated to helping. I have always done for others without expecting anything in return. I don't have an ulterior motive when I do for others. I just automatically think to myself "they need help "I'm going to do all I can to make their day a little less stressful & ease their minds as much as I possibly can". I'm just wired that way no-matter how many times people have used me, taken advantage of me, taken me for granted or what have you. Don't get me wrong, I am able to say no but when I know someone is genuinely in need I would rather help them in need than to say that I can't.


But anyway, I guess what I am saying here is I thought that being a member f a church that you had some back-up & support from people that say they love you. I didn't know it was ... "give, give, give & keep giving if you have it or not". What makes me so angry is when I hear "The bigger the tithe the bigger the blessing" & I have heard that from pastors & in churches... Especially when I see a church program on tv.


OK thanks for allowing me to get that off my chest. I feel much better & would like to hear your thoughts. I pray God speaks through you so I can get a better understanding of all this church membership stuff :)



Praise God!!! Mindy
 
Loyal
Thank you for all the replies brothers & sisters!!!!!

Since my mom passed away in February I haven't gotten much support from my church. I did however get a sympathy card from the pastor after I send him a email stating my concerns & disappointment. I don't think it should have taken me to send an email to get anything from him. I did the right thing (I feel) by addressing him directly instead of gossiping, complaining & letting it anger me inside. I always thought that when a serious event takes place with a member of a church the church gathers & comforts the person. That was not the case for me. I hear the word "tithe, love offerings" so much that I honestly want to puke when I hear the words now. I don't feel that is how it should be. I was penniless & was told that if I tithe I will be blessed. To me that sounds kind of twisted. I wouldn't want anyone doing for me just to get something in return... When I was in dire need I didn't get any help from the church & they were fully aware that I was not in a good place with money, my bills or anything for that matter. It breaks my heart to think that a church is nothing like I thought it should be. I don't feel that they should hand money out hand over fist but when you have a dedicated member that does whatever is asked & when they are struggling & stressed out they should step in & do what they can. Even if it's a simple "we're here for you whenever you want to talk or pray". When I was baptized I was told that I would get a member certificate but never did. I was told that I would get a love offering once I became a member, that never happened. The congregation is VERY small... maybe 6 people & I often wonder why that is. I know many people did attend but over the past years the number dwindled & is almost non-existent.


I dunno, I am just so dedicated to helping people anytime I can. I have given $18.00 when all I had was $20.00... most the time I gave the entire $20.00 I am just so dedicated to helping. I have always done for others without expecting anything in return. I don't have an ulterior motive when I do for others. I just automatically think to myself "they need help "I'm going to do all I can to make their day a little less stressful & ease their minds as much as I possibly can". I'm just wired that way no-matter how many times people have used me, taken advantage of me, taken me for granted or what have you. Don't get me wrong, I am able to say no but when I know someone is genuinely in need I would rather help them in need than to say that I can't.


But anyway, I guess what I am saying here is I thought that being a member f a church that you had some back-up & support from people that say they love you. I didn't know it was ... "give, give, give & keep giving if you have it or not". What makes me so angry is when I hear "The bigger the tithe the bigger the blessing" & I have heard that from pastors & in churches... Especially when I see a church program on tv.


OK thanks for allowing me to get that off my chest. I feel much better & would like to hear your thoughts. I pray God speaks through you so I can get a better understanding of all this church membership stuff :)



Praise God!!! Mindy
There is only one church, and it is not built by human hands. Always stay an honorable member of the true church, the rest are full of faulty people, some earthly churches are worse than others though, and God doesn't want you to contribute your time and talents to one that constantly abuses those gifts. Serve the righteous causes, regardless of whether they are put forward by a church or not. But do not refuse your needed (and it is needed, we were built by God to be a part of a community of people) fellowship with other believers (ones you can touch, online just isn't the same).
 
Active
Good morning Mindy. I'm so sorry that you feel the way you do about church. It grieves me to hear of experiences like yours when church is supposed to meet all the needs that you have expressed here. Over the many years that I have been involved as the Pastor of a few Churches, I have noted a decline in what Jesus desires for His Church.

The Church that you are currently attending is too small to really help anyone. When a church is ultra small, it presents a negative response to those who attend. The finances of a small church is a burden for the people. They see someone who needs a little financial boost and they can't afford to give so that discourages the folk and they don't reach out in love to the hurting person because if they do, that person may want them to give that person some of their own money which they either can't afford or won't.

If the church that you are attending has dwindled over the years, there's a reason. I know from experience that when the Pastor is a genuine man of God called to that position and is spiritually close to Jesus and teaching the whole counsel of God, He will bless that church with new converts and really sound members. Jesus, thru the Holy Spirit, will bless the offerings and there will be just the right amount of funds to help out the needy in the church.

The Pastor and Elders/Deacons of a church that is doing the best that they can to follow Jesus' Commands will be a blessed church. Now, my advise to you is try and find a church like that. Pray each day that the Holy Spirit will lead you to that kind of church. From what I know of you thru your posts, you are wonderful Child of God, just the kind that I'd love attending a church that I would be called too.

Be very careful seeking out a new Pastor. I hate to admit it but "so goes the Pastor, so goes the Church". You have to ask questions like, Do you support Missions? Do you relieve the widows, single parents, homeless and folk like me who has needs? Look at this Scripture....

1“Cry aloud; do not hold back;
lift up your voice like a trumpet;
declare to my people their transgression,
to the house of Jacob their sins.
2Yet they seek me daily
and delight to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that did righteousness
and did not forsake the judgment of their God;
they ask of me righteous judgments;
they delight to draw near to God.
3‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not?
Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’
Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure,a
and oppress all your workers.
4Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight
and to hit with a wicked fist.
Fasting like yours this day
will not make your voice to be heard on high.
5Is such the fast that I choose,
a day for a person to humble himself?
Is it to bow down his head like a reed,
and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him?
Will you call this a fast,
and a day acceptable to the Lord?


6“Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
7Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
8Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you;
the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
9Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’
If you take away the yoke from your midst,
the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
10if you pour yourself out for the hungry
and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness
and your gloom be as the noonday.


I simply wanted you to see what God desires to see happen in His churches. A proper Christian Church is not to be self-centered, if it is, it needs to close it's doors. Perhaps the one you are attending is in the process of God closing it down because it's not right according to His standards.

A church needs to be people centered.

If a church is concentrating on building projects and church centered programs and projects rather than searching out for lost souls, the needs of it's members and programs to help and aid the folk who have serious needs like the loss of a loved one, counseling those who are contemplating divorce, and other tragic circumstances, they should not exist.

Just my thoughts Mindy, Love you.
 
Active
I forgot to mention in my last post to Mindy that the Scriptures that I used came from "Bible Hub".
 
Active
Thank you Chopper! I am search of a new church at this time. Not for help of any kind like money or what have you but to get full on the word of God. I get so excited & anticipate hearing Gods word from a pastor that loves God himself. At this time in my life I feel like an unwanted orphan & to find a church that is upbeat & full of the Love of God is the only thing I have been seeking.

I have found that a church isn't anything more than a building unless the people in it love God DAILY. There are a few things that had my warning light pop on while at the church I was attending. It discouraged me but not to the point where I wouldn't seek another church. I know you're right when you say that if the church has dwindled there is a reason. I truly believe there are valid reasons for the lack of people. The pastor once said that if everyone that has ever attended the church there wouldn't be enough room for everyone. That's when I started to think "where did they go?" Why did they stop coming?" Then the tithe tray & "love offerings" & constant reasons for the need of money started to flow. Again, I love giving I honestly do but it's discouraging when that is 80% of what you hear.

I am going to attend a church that that my mom was attending. She liked it so I want to see what it's all about.

Thank you for your replies. I didn't want to sound like a prude or a tightwad when it comes to giving to the church. I just felt that the word of God is more important then giving to the church.
 
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