Day 3 - Misuse of Finances in the Church
“Then He said to them, ‘Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed;
life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” -Luke 12:15
It can be difficult sometimes to address systems of corruption within the body of Christ at large. Each branch or denomination has its own procedures and systems, its own strengths and weaknesses. Our culture also tends to be harder and more vocal about any problems that arise concerning religious leaders or institutions. Some might bemoan this as unfair, but it is important to remember that the world is watching and holding us to a high standard when we bear the Name of Christ.
There are many stories that can be found, some individual cases and some recurring problems. The following information is fairly broad and generalized, but it serves a reminder for all of us as believers to walk in transparency and integrity.
AREAS TO CONSIDER
- 20 percent of American congregations lose money to people entrusted with church finances, according to a 2005 Newsday article.(1)
- Experts say instances of misappropriation of church funds
are not always the result of theft and deception; instead they are
often due to laziness or a lack of understanding about tax laws. There
is a need for more financial education for pastors and church
- There have been instances of greed and financial scandal
as different spiritual leaders achieve celebrity like status. While not
particularly widespread, the high-profile nature of these leaders makes
the accounts of their financial corruption more widely discussed. (2)
- Whether it is the result of greed or merely a preoccupation with personal finances, the body of Christ at large has been ineffective in carrying out the Biblical mandate to care for the poor. The burden is often left to churches who are in poor areas where the needs can be overwhelming. If we were unified in efforts and resources, the Church could have a tremendous role in the elimination of systemic poverty.
Father God, I ask that You would forgive me if I have, in any way, misused my finances or have idolized money. Forgive me if I have been greedy and unwilling to see and meet the needs of others. Help me to become a better steward of my resources and bless others who have less than I do.
CORPORATE REPENTANCELord, on behalf of our nation and Your Church we ask that You would forgive us for misappropriating and misusing funds. We repent, in any way, if we have not striven to fulfill our biblical mandate of helping those in poverty find financial freedom and ask You to expose any corrupt practices in our churches.
- Pray for a renewed commitment to integrity and honesty in the body of Christ. (1 Chronicles 29:17)
- Pray for
pastors and church financial leaders to seek out better understanding
and knowledge for handling the finances entrusted to them. (Proverbs
- Pray that greed and materialism would be uprooted in the church, that believers would truly be countercultural in these areas. (Colossians 3:5)
- Consider how you can come together with other believers to help the poor in your community and city.
- Kennedy, Matt. “Church corruption, financial scandals live on long past Bakkers.” Cult Awareness and Information Library. http://www.culthelp.info/
- Moll, Rob. “After the Scandals.” Christianity Today Library. 13 December 2006. Web. 6 August 2014. http://www.ctlibrary.com/
To download the entire Stop Corruption Now Prayer Guide, please click here.