Last year the church here in Alotau decided to look at the Bible to see how the church used money. This is what we found (does not include every verse, but enough to give us a feel for the church’s spending priorities). Photo by monstershaq
What did the early church spend money on?
Acts 2:44-45 – common needs, common things of life, material needs of members
Acts 4:32-35 – distributed to those as they had need
Acts 6:1 – a daily distribution of food to the widows
Acts 11:29-30 – provide help for those living in Judea (famine)
Acts 13:1-2 – to send off (provide financial means to travel ?)
Acts 15:2 – appointed to go up to Jerusalem (provided financial means to travel?)
Acts 15:22-23 – sent them with the letter (provided financial means to travel?)
Romans 15:24 – assist me on my journey
1 Cor. 9:4-12, 14 – do I not have the right to food and drink?
1 Cor 16:1-4 – to send to Jerusalem (likely for famine)
2 Cor. 8:19-20 – appointed to accompany us
2 Cor. 9:12 – supplying the needs of God’s people
Phil 1:4-5 Your partnership in the gospel
Phil. 4:14-18 – Assisting ministry needs
1 Tim. 5:9-10, 16 – Widows on the list (for distribution of food and goods)
1 Tim. 5:17-18 – the one who works for the church
The three main categories from above:
1. Financial Need – helping people. When there were those who were poor and hungry the church provided, as they were able, financial assistance.
2. Missionary Travel – providing the cost of transport of those who go to do ministry in a different place. Also included in this would be travel for church business (meetings, and to pass important messages to other churches).
3. Church worker who gives himself to God. This can include both an elder or a minister who is a leader in the church who spends their time working for the church.
My one suggested additional category:
4. Ongoing funds for church activities – 1 Cor 7:10, 1 Cor 7:12
How do you think the spending in most churches compares to this list? Do you think we are spending money in the ways that the early churches did?