Should Congregations Have A Regular Contribution?

For about the last 30 years, I have known about “church at Birmingham” type congregations starting up. And the one thing they all have in common is that they don’t have a regular collection … because they interpret I Cor 16:1-2 to be only a one-time thing for a one-time need. I cannot and will not judge anybody’s heart in particular, but there seems to be an ulterior motive at play here (for some). You could see how those who are tired of giving a considerable part of their income for the Lord’s work as they should (Matt 6:33) might be attracted to such type churches. I doubt there would be enough people for these type congregations to exist if it weren’t for this one issue.

Their argument is that (per I Cor 16:1-2) we should only have a collection when we see a particular need. Well, isn’t there always a need to preach the gospel? Through the years the North Huntsville congregation (where I attend) has used almost all of our income for supporting preachers in different places, radio programs, benevolence, etc. There has never been a time when we didn’t see a need in one or more of these areas.

If congregations back in the first century only had a collection (and resulting treasury) every once in a blue moon when a specific benevolent need came up (as the church at Birmingham types say), then how did the first century congregations have the money to support preachers as recorded in passages such as Phil 4:15-16 and II Cor 11:8? How did they finance regular (ongoing) benevolent needs like we read about in I Tim 5:4-16 and Acts 6:1ff? Don’t those four passages (and others like them) imply the church had money (in its treasury) and therefore imply they had some means of getting money into that treasury? And there are other passages like Acts 4:35 which talk about a collection. Perhaps they are not as well known because they don’t mention the first day of the week.

So texts like I Cor 16:1-2 and Acts 11:27-30 tell us how to get money into the church treasury, and those and other passages tell us how that money should be spent. Meaning I Cor 16:1ff is not the only passage that tells us how to spend church money. Let’s don’t let a “love of money” (I Tim 6:10) get in the way of us serving the Lord faithfully.

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