Novel Ways to Fill the Coffers
SERMONS from the pulpit asking for money are nothing new. But apparently times of inflation and tight purse strings are hitting the churches so hard that clergymen everywhere are scrambling for new ways to fill their coffers. Here are a few of the more novel ones.
Hard pressed by the labor and expense of sending out 1,600 solicitation envelopes every week, a Catholic church in Dubuque, Iowa, now has an arrangement whereby parishioners can have their bank make regular deductions from their checking accounts and forward the funds to the church. For those who may feel uncomfortable about not putting anything in the collection baskets during services, the church provides plastic cards saying that they gave at the bank. They can drop them into the baskets.
A clergyman in Phoenix, Arizona, sent out this intriguing letter to everyone on his mailing list: “Is the devil disturbing you or one of your loved ones? God has shown me how to stop the devil from disturbing you. I have prepared a Do Not Disturb sign with the 91st Psalm Ps 91 on it for you to use for protection against the devil troubling you. Prove God NOW with an offering of at least $20.” To keep things simple, the instructions say: “Fill out the enclosed prayer sheet with the Do Not Disturb sign on it and send it back to me today. . . . I’m going to hang your Do Not Disturb sign on the door of my Miracle Prayer Garden for 7 days and 7 nights. Then I am going to send it back to you as a reminder that the devil is defeated and cannot disturb you. Don’t wait any longer . . . with your offering of $20.”
A prestigious Baptist church in Dallas, Texas, is facing grave financial crises. It carries a $10.3-million debt on four buildings it owns downtown. To “liberate the church from the blood-draining $1.4 million a year we pay in interest,” the minister urged that members help pay off a $7.5-million 1,100-space parking building. “Parking is increasingly needed,” the minister said in an emotional “liberation appeal.” “This building is a blessing of God. . . . Take a parking space for $7,000 and pay for it. Some will take several, others just a part. Give anything just so it is a sacrifice.”
In Nairobi, Kenya, members of an Anglican church were shocked when their minister told them that donations in copper coins were no longer acceptable. He insisted on silver. In his sermon the minister informed the congregation that it had been decided that no true Christian should offer copper coins to God.—Compare Luke 21:1-4.
How different all these money-making schemes are from what the apostle Paul told the first-century Christian congregation in Corinth, Greece. “Let each one do just as he has resolved in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion,” he said, “for God loves a cheerful giver.”—2 Corinthians 9:7.