Sunday, July 10, 2016

When Church Gets Expensive

At Faithful Word Baptist Church, we don’t charge for anything. We give away Bibles, CDs and DVDs, and all church activities are free of charge. The reason we don’t charge for these things is found in John Chapter Two. Not only is it wrong to make God’s house a house of merchandise, but people don’t like being put on the spot and asked to spend money. Unfortunately, attending some churches can get expensive.

Youth Ministry or Youth Industry?

In one large independent fundamental Baptist church I heard about, teenagers in a Sunday School class were asked to give five dollars each to help pay for a “staff gift.” The youth leader harangued the class, telling the kids they probably spent their money on the weekends at a local amusement park. Many teens do not even have jobs, and if they did, there would be nothing wrong with them having fun with their own money. That same church hosts a large annual youth conference, which serves mainly as a live infomercial for their Bible college as well as for books and CDs brought in by the guest speakers.

Buy this Commentary

At another church in the same circle, women were pressured to buy a book on dress standards, so they would know what they were expected to wear. Most of the ladies in the church bought the book, but a woman I spoke with who went there felt that if they wanted her to read it so badly, they should have given it to her for free. 

Multi-Level Marketing

It’s not just the leadership asking for money, either. In churches that sell merchandise on the back table, people will often assume it is okay to market their own wares. Don’t walk in with your Mary Kay catalogue or whatever else you happen to be peddling, and we won’t ask you to buy anything either. There is a time and a place for making money, and it’s not at church.

Sunday Morning Soda

Soda machines at church also irritate people, because it can cause their children to ask for money every service—not to mention the obvious health concerns.

If you attend a church that has a book store or soda machines, you should refrain from buying anything. Not only did Jesus teach us not to make God’s house a house of merchandise, but we can see from reading the story, that it makes him extremely angry:

“And the Jews' passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables; And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise.” - John 2:13-16

Here is a sermon called "Houses of Merchandise"


Anonymous said...

I've seen traveling pastors and musicians sell CDs, books and videos at the back table of church many times, and never thought it was right.

Shawn B said...

Funny. Today I was telling my daughter's friends who go to Radiant Church in Surprise, AZ (where I used to go) that buying or selling the church is prohibited and that Jesus overturned the tables of those selling in the church.

Aaron Thompson said...

Amen! So, sick of this crap at all IFB churches. One in Tacoma literally has a cash register and sells books, movies, candy, pop and water. We went up there to go soulwinning and Robert asked where the drinking fountain was. They said we don't have one but you can buy a bottle foe 50 cents.

Anonymous said...

This totally rings a bell for me. When i first went to church i made friends with a lady and thought she was really nice. Turned out she wanted to sell me products - some kind of Amway thing but for 'healthy/natural' stuff.

It was terribly embarrassing.

It contributed to my leaving the church and being a non church goer for a while.

Anonymous said...

Well said Pastor.

FWBC is unique in this regard.

However, do these things also apply to "ministries" or just churches/congregations?

For instance, Dinosaur Adventure Land sells merchandise (books, amusement park tickets, CDs/DVDs, gospel tracts etc.) Framing the World sells your documentaries.
Both do it under the color of spreading the Gospel. Is that what Jesus was speaking against or was it the mere merchandizing within the temple/place of the assembly?

I seem to remember you preaching against "parachurch" ministries. Would these also be prohibited if we are to go by what Jesus said in this passage?

John Daniel said...

What I really hate is when they ask you to "buy" a ticket to a church dinner, typically $5 or $10 for individuals. And then the quality of the food is less than desirable... especially if I'm paying upwards of $10 when I could spend it elsewhere for better quality food.

sanderson1611 said...

Hi Anonymous,

Framing the World has never claimed to be a ministry. Framing the World is a business that sells lots of products. Many of the films on their site have nothing to do with the Bible. There is nothing wrong with an online store like Framing the World selling merchandise. The problem is when a CHURCH sells merchandise or when a business advertises their merchandise AT CHURCH.

I don't know anything about Dinosaur Adventure Land, but it doesn't sound like a church, so it's probably fine!

God bless,
Pastor Anderson

Anonymous said...

Agree with the vending machine problem. At first it seemed so harmless and the kids liked it now they can't stop asking everyone for money and hanging around it like addicts outside a liquor store. This did make me wonder as well where the money is going. there was a time at church we could buy tees for an event and it was said they were selling them at cost (not making money off it). Like wow, how generous!

Anonymous said...

Ugh!! I agree! Once i spent $8 on a single taco.

Anonymous said...

Hillsong Church (or ACC)in Australia seem to have fancy cafés at all their churches and you are expected to work in it during church on sat am or sunday night. You miss the entire sermon.

The tail is wagging the dog.