Wow. So I haven’t touched this blog in a very very long time. Suffices to say that my life is completely different over a year later. I am now residing in Sunny SoCal, closer to family, and involved in so many amazing ventures it’s hard to imagine that this is what God had in store when I posted my last blog entry. It does, admittedly, come with some sacrifices. I very much painfully miss the people in Virginia that I left and constantly keep them in my prayers but life moves on for all of us. Regardless, it would be an understatement to say that I am humbled by my current position in life and very excited on what’s to come in the future.
One big part of my return to CA was to be part of Union Restoration Chapel again. For those that don’t know what’s going on, Union Restoration Chapel is Union Evangelical Church’s EM. For the past few years there had been a huge movement in the church to the point that it almost felt like a “reset” button had been pressed with the people of the church and its structure. Union is famous for being the “home” church. Many of our members have been part of the congregation since they were kids and even the pastors were part of the EM in some form or fashion in the past. Our pastoral staff defines restoration in christ and everyday I can be part of ministry with them is an absolute honor. In my time with the congregation I’ve learned how faithful God has been in instructing me in the past at ODPC and essentially raising me to bring what I had learn to this blossoming ministry.
We are currently building our by-laws and something that seems to keep coming up is Finance. Now a recent article on NPR noted the insanely extravagant way “churches” utilize their finance and I couldn’t help but feel incredibly disturbed by it all. Foremost, people like Joel Osteen are part of these organizations which is a whole different topic (short: Joel Osteen is very very misguided) and all I can see is the deterioration of the representation of the Gospel. For those that are unaware the IRS does not require churches to disclose financial reports. This…I don’t like.
Churches should be held to the highest standard of how money is utilized. If there is no formal standard, churches should openly disclose this information voluntarily as a sign of good faith. One thing I absolutely will not be part of is an organization that hides how their money is spent from the very people that are responsible for the growth of the congregation. I believe in a checks and balances that allows for churches to be held accountable to how their finances are utilized to not only show their congregation that the leadership is to be trusted, but to the world that we are not slaves to wealth and riches. I see these 16,000 member congregations preaching prosperity gospel and I see a business, not a church. I see ways to increase the size of the pocketbooks of the “ministers” as they lead their congregation off a spiritual cliff. I see people captivated by greed… forgetting where their true riches lie.
1 Tim 6:17-19 (Phi) Tell those who are rich in this present world not to be contemptuous of others, and not to rest the weight of their confidence on the transitory power of wealth but on the living God, who generously gives us everything for our enjoyment. Tell them to do good, to be rich in kindly actions, to be ready to give to others and to sympathize with those in distress. Their security should be invested in the life to come, so that they may be sure of holding a share in the life which is real and permanent.
Christians, I highly encourage all of you, especially those that are leading ministries to be very upfront about how you spend your money. This not only keeps you accountable to others, but allows you to reflect more seriously on how materialism has a hold of you. Know the difference between want and need and realize that being a good steward with your worldly riches brings far more blessing than anything the world can offer.