WHATCHU TALKIN BOUT WILLIS?

I grew up when Diff'rent Strokes was a popular television show. That's no big deal unless your last name is Willis. To this day I still hear those famous words popularized by Arnold: "Whatchu talkin bout Willis?" Usually they are uttered by someone looking at me as though I may have never heard it before. Yeah, right! Well this blog is what I (Willis) am talkin bout...my thoughts, observations & opinions. Enjoy...



Monday, January 11, 2010

The irony of it all...

Yesterday I preached from John 5:1-15. It's a powerful passage about dramatic life change (one of my favorites too). An invalid (for 38 years) is healed by Jesus after Jesus asked the resounding question: "Do you want to get well?" I pointed out that the religious leaders of the day seemed to be oblivious to the man's healing and instead chose to focus on his perceived violation of their law against "mat carrying" on the Sabbath. I noted that in my observation there are many churches more concerned about maintaining tradtions while being conspiciously inattentive to the lack of life change in their congregations. Following Jesus is about life transformation not human traditions - at least that's what I thought.

Now let me insert some observations from our congregational meeting after the service. I really don't enjoy these meetings for various reason that I won't mention here. We were way behind in our giving (versus spending) throughout the year yet significantly closed the gap  in the last two weeks. Yet we still finished in the red. We carry a large building debt along with the usual bills and expenses. We run a very lean budget too. Mid-year we changed the format of our "service" where we no longer "took up the offering" but instead allowed people to drop it into one of several boxes around the "sanctuary". It was asked in the meeting if our drop off in giving corresponded to the change in the method of receiving money. Not a bad question in itself. The answer is yes & no. Yes it did - actually giving always drops in the summer. We've also had our attendance drop too. People have died, people have moved, people have lost jobs. Additionally, those who count the incoming money have also told me that the regular givers are still regular givers. Now let's go post meeting...

In the hallway a long time member approaches me a says that we need to go back to the bags going around the room. (perhaps not the exact phrase, but close). Do we really need to do that? Is that the solution to our debt & financial challenges? Or is this just an opportunity for those who want to return to the predictable comfort/tradition of the way we used to do it (in spite of the fact that the offering has been declining for the last few years). What are the other alternatives to generate funds? BINGO would work, but, we prefer car washes, yard sales and suppers around here! I wonder if we shouldn't send people bills? Or maybe we should have each aisle come forward and give (I've seen that it one church). Or maybe we should count the offering and pass the bags or plates again in order to make budget (seen that too). Why do collect an offering at all? Is is to help poor saints somewhere? Nah, it's almost exclusively to pay for our debt, our stuff and the services we expect from those on the payroll.

One of the issues unbelievers often have with the church is our financial dealings. So the solution to our debt & budgets woes is to thrust a bag into the lap of everyone in the our presence on Sunday morning? So will we go back to old way? I don't know yet. If we do we can be sure that we will get the occasional guy quickly digging for his wallet and dropping in a 5 spot so he doesn't look bad in the eyes of the saints, but is that what we want?  Maybe so - if the offering is about getting instead of giving...

That's what I'm talkin 'bout.

7 comments:

William Mckinley Dyer said...

Maybe people will remember when and where to give no matter where the offering boxes are when the heat goes away

The Seeking Disciple said...

I think you meant to say John 5:1-15 instead of John 1:1-15. Good post.

David H. Willis said...

Good eye brother. Thanks.

aaronsaufley said...

Good stuff bro. You know what I think about this stuff. I'll keep it to myself ;-)

Anonymous said...

I will not acquiesce in on it. I assume nice post. Especially the designation attracted me to study the intact story.

Billy Club said...

A little Fire and Brim from the blogpit? Look out Sunday!

David H. Willis said...

Apparently the offering IS about GETTING...