Posted in Life


Photo by lucas Favre on Unsplash

My errands for the day included a trip to the farmer’s market for strawberries and the barber for a haircut. For both I would need cash, so my first stop of the day was the ATM.

Cash? Oh, yeah, I remember cash. Paper money, green ones, fives, tens and twenties. I have a place for them in my wallet, but rarely is that place filled. I hardly ever have cash. And neither do many of you, I’ll bet.

I pay for everything with a credit card that I pay off each week. Gas for the car, food at the grocery store, restaurants, dog food, big box home improvements, coffee shop, prescriptions, car repairs. I give to my church online, pay all my bills online, and do most of my shopping online. Why carry cash? For strawberries and a haircut, and a few boxes of girl scout cookies.

When I have cash in my hand, the money feels real, the transaction feels real, the expense feels real, the product feels real. Electronic banking, giving, buying, investing, paychecks, and bill pay seem surreal. Like it’s not even happening. So much of what we give and pay for, by and receive is virtual, a service, and not even tangible. It’s a strange world, isn’t it?

Cash is for babysitters, tree trimmers, churches I visit, Christmas and birthday presents, a roadside fruit stand, a football team fundraiser, and a kid’s roadside lemonade stand. For all the things that are real.

Posted in Rant

Holding the bucket

Today I got another letter from my church body asking me for money. I get such a request from ministries and organizations from within and from outside the church several times a week. In addition I am invited to take part in fundraisers for youth, band, sports teams, and scouts. Universities and graduate schools to whom I am already paying substantial fees regularly call me to see if I’d like to give them even more of my money. It’s like the whole world (including the church) is sitting outside of Walmart with a bucket, pleading for money.

There has to be a better way to fund the ministry of the church other than begging people to let us wash their cars or buy brownies! I read an interesting comment to a Facebook post today that mentioned that a church doesn’t necessarily have to be big to be viable. Ten families tithing should be able to pay the salary for a pastor. Maybe five more to cover benefits. Another five to rent a place to worship. And another five to fund some missions and ministries. That’s all you need to do the basics! Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it?

The thing is, few want to settle for something that basic. We want a lot more, especially that nice building to call home. And once you head down that road, you can’t afford to stay small. You have to grow because you need more givers (and you know many of them won’t be tithers). The money you put into a mortgage and maintenance will soon dwarf your expenses for staff, ministry, and missions. Before you know it, you’re sitting outside Walmart along with everyone else.

In a world where bigger is perceived as being better, I wonder how many wish their church had stayed small?