A Pastor of a South Carolina megachurch decided that he was going to help those in need by offering those in need to take whatever they needed from the church offering basket.
Pastor John Gray of Relentless Church in Greenville thought that this was a good idea.
In this article he was quoted as saying:
“The role of the church is also to meet the needs of people in the house,” Gray says in a video of the event, which has 176,000 views.
“Any single mothers in here?” he asked. “Any widows? Are there any single fathers, are there any veterans that don’t have what they need to make ends meet? Come to the altar. Stand right here. There’s some money in these baskets.”
Gray explained: “Our church is six months old. We don’t have a war chest of money. We believe God every week for what we need. But God told me after we collected offering to leave [it] at the altar. And then let those who had needs get what they needed — from the offering baskets. … I love my church. THIS is church. Book of Acts style.”
OK far be it for me to make a call on his interpretation of what God told him to do. Pastor Gray might want to consider this - the church's stewardship over tithes and offerings.
First, tithes and offerings should be carefully collected, counted, and dispersed based on an extensive process generally governed by the finance committee of a church. Money should just not be given out without going through a thoughtful process of delegation of those tithes and offerings. Where is the stewardship responsibility?
Second, how do you police someone's intentions? How do you know that the people taking the tithes and offerings out of the plate really need the money versus someone who might not have received the chance to get help?
Pastor Gray has a responsibility to his church congregation regarding the use of tithes and offerings. Yes, you need to give to the needy. Yes, you need to help your own. Why not start a benevolence fund to help your congregation? This way there would be a process for directing funds to those who need. Pastors have a responsibility to be good stewards over tithes and offerings. There is due process for a reason.
He says that "there is some money in these baskets." No Pastor Gray, there are sacred tithes and offerings in those baskets given out of worship and a sense of obedience by those who have it and given by those who are probably in need.