Finance Fridays: Stereotypes of the Church & Money
Several years ago I was visiting the fish market where I once worked and bumped into Tony, an old acquaintance who sells fish and seafood to restaurants throughout Maryland. I used to enjoy my conversations with Tony, he had a humorous way about him and was very clear about how he felt on things. On this day he was picking through bags of top neck clams, trying to find the best ones for his customers, and he asked me what I was up to these days. At that time I was planting a church in Baltimore, and I told him the story of what we were up to. As he listened to me, he stopped picking clams and stared at me. He then said something to me that I will never forget:
Ah! The church! That is a great business to be in! There is a lot of money in that! You will do very well there and be rich!
That said, Tony grabbed his clams, jumped in his truck, and headed off to peddle his wares. The entire encounter shocked me to the point of speechlessness. I remember a bunch of thoughts bouncing around my head from the worldly, what church is he thinking of and are they hiring; to the depressed, is this what the church is known for in his community; and everywhere in between.
There are many that share Tony’s view of the church. They see the church as constantly having its hand out, asking for money that will be used to expand their empire. While there are churches that are intentional about breaking down this stereotype, they are the exception as opposed to the norm. This is why I was so excited to hear about something that my friend Brian’s church (Fellowship Bible Church, in Roswell, GA) has been up to. Rather than explain it, I’ll let you watch how CBS told their story on their May 8th newscast:
While the story focuses on Kevin Cross, I think the fact that there is a generosity fund exceeding $300,000 to be used to help people struggling financially is an incredible start to breaking down old stereotypes of the church… and I feel like I read something about this kind of thing somewhere:
They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.
How are YOU breaking down bad stereotypes about the church and money?