I have visited a variety of places to worship. I’ve been to mosques, synagogues, temples and halls but on most occasions I go to a church to worship The Lord. No place of worship that I’ve visited collects more offerings than Christian churches. I’ve donated to “tithes and offerings,” “missionary offerings,” “benevolent offerings,” “building fund” offerings and many other kinds of offerings.
Most churches take up at least two collections at every church meeting.
But no matter how many church collections take place, when a member of the congregation is affected by a fire, a flood, a tornado, a hurricane, an earthquake or a catastrophic injury or illness, many churches say they don’t have money to help the church member.
Well, somehow money is available to give the preacher a big raise, money is available to renovate the church office. The music director and the church band are never fired for lack of funds and most churches have vans and buses that are seldom used and remain lined up in the church parking lot.
No disrespect, but sometimes the preacher and the “first lady” never look like the masses in the congregation.
Many members of the church have two or three Sunday-go-to-meeting outfits but, in some cases, the pastor and his wife can go six months and never wear the same outfits. The members walk to church but the preacher drives a Cadillac or a Mercedes Benz. The members live in the ghetto or the projects but the preacher lives in the church parsonage or in a gated community.
I’m glad religious leaders can have success and make money at the church but why can’t the church improve the lives of the members in the same way, to the same degree?
Why can’t churches, especially big churches, set up banks and credit unions for the church members? Why can’t churches set up church schools for the church children? Why can’t churches set up affordable housing complexes for church members who need places to live? Why can’t churches do more to feed the hungry?
I wonder if the church trustees, boards of directors, deacons and mothers ever inquire about how much and where the missionary money that was collected is spent?
The biggest churches in the community where I live that take up the most money in church collections seem like the ones that do the least for individual congregation members.
When a church-going member who has put money in the missionary and benevolent collection plate for nearly every year of his or her life needs help and goes to the church for assistance, some churches give that member a list of community agencies.
The church tells the congregation member to call The Red Cross, call the Community Action Agency or call the Urban League.
When Yahweh Ben Yahweh was operating in South Florida, he was demonized, criticized, hated and proclaimed a false prophet and fake religious leader but his followers had jobs, they had church-supported businesses, they had nice and affordable housing, they had schools and universities and they had land.
If Yahweh could help his people, why can’t other churches and religious groups help their flock too?
The shepherd always feeds his sheep, protects his sheep and cares for the little baby lambs. It is for this reason that the sheep can always recognize the voice of the shepherd.
If you’re wondering why fewer and fewer people are attending church services, maybe some shepherds are mishandling the sheep’s money, instead of doing all they can to help the congregation and the community at large.
If you have a good church with a good church leader, please support your church and please love God and love your neighbors.
Lucius Gant is a political consultant based in Tallahassee and author of the book Beast Too: Dead Man Writing which is available at Amazon.com. You can like The Gantt Report page on Facebook and contact Gantt at allworldconsultants.net