Disclaimer: About This Blog

THIS BLOG IS: my personal journey of how I am rethinking some of my spiritual beliefs.
THIS BLOG IS NOT: intended to point fingers at people who I think are wrong.
I do not believe the final judgement will be based on how many correct answers we get on a theology exam. I believe many people throughout history have had genuine relationships with our Lord and Saviour Jesus, despite holding questionable beliefs and practices. I make no claim to having it all figured out or being your judge. If we end up disagreeing over these topics I pray we can find a way to demonstrate grace.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Early Church Financial Statement Discovered

In a rare archaeological find, what is believed to be the oldest record of a church financial statement has been found. Someone who made his home available for the church to assemble seems to have kept track of all the income and expenses that were collected and distributed.

(Some of you skeptics will notice it is odd that this was done in English. He must have been speaking writing in tongues.)

From what we know about the early church is there anything else suspect about this document. Is anything missing?

Do we think the early church needed a budget or financial statement?

Does Christ's church currently need a budget?

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Arthur Sido said...

Hang on, hang on. That makes no sense. What did the early church fight about during business meetings and eventually lead to church splits?

Jonathan said...

Hmmm... yeah I wonder if this same archaeologist found a copy of any business meeting minutes...

Anonymous said...

I think, for accountablilty, today's churches should be able to produce some sort of statement of accounting. Plus, budget meeting are a good oppertunity for the church to ask God if He has any plans they need to set money aside for. But, the church also needs to be open enough to be able to give to needs as they arise. Like, "oh, the Jones' need a new fridge, can we help?" I don't think the budget is something that should be written in stone and obsessed over.

Jonathan said...

Thanks Anonymous. I agree that budgets and financial planning are good things for large organizations that have buildings, staff, and other responsibilities.

We can sometimes assume that church has always been this way, and that this is the way Christ's church needs to operate.

I find it interesting to try to imagine how the early church functioned. And then consider if we have made things more complex than they need to be.

God bless!

Anonymous said...

I think the early church operated within a entirely different familiar / cultural / political environment - than what it does today.

Within the modern context there is a vast expression of church - throughout denominational flavours through to independent house churches.

Not one expression can be said to reflect that of the early church, apart from the broad categories of meeting together and encouraging the saints.

As for the budget - even one of Jesus disciples carried a money bag - as was custom for the Rabbi in his time...while Jesus certainly did turn the custom on its head regarding the issue of money - they still used it.

Budgeting today is a must for any organisation to fulfil all righteousness.

sattler said...

I do love the 'creative accounting'. It's worth reading for the sheer relief of seeing 'Church buildings, Nil'.

Jonathan said...

Hi craigbenno1, welcome,

I agree there is are many ways the body of Christ has organized themselves. And then we often call these organizations 'church'. I'm not sure that is how the early church saw themselves. I think the term church/ekklēsía was used to refer to the family of God in Christ, and to any gathering of that family. When we add organizational structure to our definition of church I think we are talking about something different. We've shifted from talking about the people, Christ's body, the NT temple and priesthood.


I guess we could ask if we think a simple gathering of a family requires a budget and financial statement. Maybe some yearly extended family gatherings do this, but most family get-togethers don't.

Lysa said...

I simply love this! Made me smile! :)