Getting People to Sacrifice.
by Missionary David R. Cox
Let us divide this section in various subsections:
(1) Sacrifice of money and property.
(2) Sacrifice of time and energy.
Sacrifice of Money and Property
Let’s make some statements here that maybe some or many people will need to mull over for a long time before they understand them. When we plant a church, the easiest part of it is to put up a building. Anybody can do that. They can rent a store front or auditorium, or buy property and build a small auditorium. In most people’s thinking, that is just as far as they go. They think the rest of church planting is simple. It is not.
A church must be planted as an on going endeavor. In other words we need to set up the church from the beginning as an autonomous church. We define this as (1) self-governing, (2) self-supporting, and (3) self-propagating. Simply put, a church is not a mature adult until it has achieved these three principles. I have heard of churches planted by the Southern Baptist Convention in Mexico, that had nice buildings put up (with US money), with good Mexican pastors (salaries paid by the convention), etc. When the convention “turned it over to the nationals”, the money stopped coming from the US, and the good pastor went to another church that could pay him good money, and the people of the church could not maintain or fix the church, and eventually it was turned into a cow barn with no services being held there. The point here is that every church that will continue without external propping up has to have an internal source for these three basics of life.
A church needs absolutely men who will sacrifice of their money and goods and property to see that the ministry among them continues and grows. This has to be a basic goal of every church plant. Without it, the church is only a dependent child on life support that will wilt and die almost immediately once that life support is taken away. It is not healthy.
Our goal as church planters here needs to be to instill a vision into our men to support financially the ministry. The more big money from the US or a denominational board is spent on a small church plant, the less important the men of that church see their own contributions to their own ministry. Because of this, it is better to go the low road, barely scraping by, but emphasizing the church members’ participation as absolutely essential. They must grow a vision for financially funding the work of God among them.
The way to do that is to make the ministry financially dependent on their sacrifices. This is a road filled with disappoints and defeats, restrictions that keep us from doing so much, and basically is depressing to see the inconsistency of God’s people. But this is the only road open to us. We must fight through these issues with our families and especially with our men so that they pay for what we do.
Sacrifice of Time and Energy
How to convince people to give
All of these studies are logical, reasoned arguments from Scripture in order to set in order things within the ministry.
For me, the following logic is probably the best I have heard. First of all, define “love”. Love is my sacrifice for your benefit. Next 1Jn 4:1
1Jn 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 1Jn 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
God commands us to love. If a person does not love, he cannot possibly be saved. We are first and foremost to love God. Next, we are to love our spouses, our family, our church (brethren), and the world and finally we are even supposed to love our enemies. If love is a sacrifice (see 1Jn 4:8-12), then we must sacrifice for those we love. What have you sacrificed for God? How have you given that to God? The whole concept of sacrifices given to God is to manifest this love we are supposed to have towards God.
We sacrifice showing our love for God by giving to God’s work here on this earth. We sacrifice our time, energy, labors by doing God’s work (salvation of the lost, and the capacitating of workers in the local church community).
Deterrents to Sacrificing
There are reasons why people don’t sacrifice. Some of these are valid reasons why they should not give to a specific person or ministry.
The person appears as a false prophet. A constant hounding on giving is a dead giveaway that the person or ministry is bad. Another thing is that the people asking or doing the promoting are living in luxuries. It is a valid point that they should also be examples of sacrificial giving. If they are not, then why should anybody else be giving sacrifically?