Which Dollar Is More Holy?
You’ve seen the infomercials… “For less than the cost of a cup of coffee per day (waaay less if you frequent Starbucks) you can change the life of a child halfway around the world.” “Partner with us and we’ll dig a well that provides clean water for 100,000 people who don’t have it, and, among other things, exponentially decrease the infant mortality rate in their region.”
Compelling, isn’t it?
Social justice is popular these days. A generation is rising up that seems more plugged in to the plight of the marginalized groups around the world, and they’re doing something about it. That’s a good thing.
But there’s been a bit of a fallout in churches. An unnecessary tension has been created between the funding of local mission and the funding of causes across the globe. The pendulum has swung from the local church being the primary ‘bucket’ to which members give, to a strong preference toward giving to “outside the walls” Kingdom opportunities. And authors such as Stearn and Chan have informed and inspired many—not just the young—to explore these outward options for giving.
As the Rapid Growth Church Leadership Community participants wrestled with this issue within the context of generosity, this question was raised:
“Which dollar is more holy?”
A subtle, unspoken (and often unintended) message underlying this shift in giving is that its more preferable to some, perhaps even to God, when we give money to change a life in the third world. We’ve recognized the ‘hole’ in our Gospel, and we’ve campaigned to fill it in.
Have we gone too far?
Are we creating a new ‘hole’ that is the local church?
Ultimately, how successful will we be in the broader Kingdom mission if we continue to de-fund the local church?
Are we in danger of leaving the bride of Christ in rags while we dress up one of her handmaids?
These are questions worth asking. What do you think?