Bible Principles for Interchurch Financing
An example of how badly things go wrong.
One brother recently described the horrors of the corruption in Sri Lanka to the old colonial regime:
Recently, I was told how Sri Lankan bosses have learned the same trick, by which their former British masters ran the tea plantations:
* Big British Boss (like rich church pastors and mission boards abroad),
* Regional manager (like a national lead pastor, or a 'Bishop')
* Village bosses (local pastors, often fighting to be the favourite of regional manager, bishop-like pastor, or denominational superintendent)
* Ordinary church people.
No problem or complaint is allowed to reach the Big Boss or spoil his name, or corrupt practices.
The blows of corruption, trouble or complaint have to be absorbed by the lower layers, the regional manager or the village boss.
This is how mission work is done.
This is how so much hostility, corruption, power and financial abuse grows in Sri lanka.
Many sense that the old mistakes made in sponsoring and uncritically supporting Jeyakanth, who has become a paradigm of corruption and ruthless intimidation, are being repeated now with younger pastors, who are embryonic Jeyakanths.
In the Chinese, Moroccan, Sudan and no doubt other mission fields, it has become notorious how when the ex-patriate missionaries withdrew, 'rice Christians' rose to exploit and to snatch the resources they left behind.
Some serving pastors fear that 'absolute' local church autonomy (as they term it), feeds the worse predilections, especially in charismatic circles.
No doubt, some of this is inevitable given the enormous wickedness in the human heart and its propensity to preeminence and grasping after goods (3 Jn.9).
The Scripture is our mandate, its examples our Divine pattern, and the command of the Head of each church. (1 Cor.3.9-15, Ex.25.40, 1 Chr.28.12, 1 Cor.3.16)
Principles of interchurch, local church finance.
* Even the Apostle was under church supervision and submitted to principles of transparency and objectively testable integrity. (Acts 11.29-30, 14.26-7, 2 Cor.8.21).
How much more ordinary pastors.
* Elders in each church take primary responsibility for sending, receiving and properly distributing money, with the consent of their congregation, without partiality according to need, not according to personal or political preference. (Jas.2.1-9, Rom.15.25-28,31, 1 Cor.16.1-4, 2 Cor.8.1-4)
* Proper accounting, independent audit from a reputable company, and/or other means of evidencing that all
funds have been directed to the object, not partially siphoned off for other purposes, or mingled with funds from other donors to conceal fraud. (Jn.12.6, Acts 5.1-11, 2 Cor.8.21)
* Brethren with bad reputations for dishonesty or immorality should not handle money for churches. (2 Cor.8.18,22-23)
* Giving should be generous but always unconstrained, and directed by need. (2 Cor.9.6-9,12)
* There should be clear personal accountability, when and if mistakes are made. (Philn.18-9)
* Giving should be church-based, and church accounted, not parachurch
* Sacrificial. (1 Jn.3.11-17, Heb.13.16)