1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Money they say is a spirit and it has principles that govern it, both in church and the world at large.From the amount of time spent on investigating this matter of the principles of church financing in some New Testament churches, we have come to a well-reasoned conclusion that finance/money is the only topic of importance to the church and to the preachers. The rate most New Testament churches demand for money has become alarming and despite the emphasis upon money in these churches, money and giving is a vital part of New Testament Christianity, and we can see this in the Bible Acts 2 where the freshman church isdescribed:
And they were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. And everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. And all those who had believed were together, and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions, and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need Acts 2:42-45.
Perhaps the paramount reason Christians seem to have so much trouble with this subject of money and material goods is that they see it differently and also have a wrong view of it. On the other hand, based on current thought in some New Testament churches, money and material goods are not evil; neither are they a curse, but a blessing from God and a fulfilled promise from Him. Taking a look at 1Timothy 4:1-5 Paul rebuked Timothy about those false teachers who would forbid marriage and certain foods as evil. Paul also said, “For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it is received with gratitude” 1Tim 4:4Paul also wrote in this same epistle: “Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy” 1Tim 6:17.
Therefore, worldly riches are not just there for us to only enjoy, they are also for us to share with the needy. And this is well explained in 1Tim 6:18-19 which says, “Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed”. In the early chapters of Acts the attitudes of the Christians in selling their goods and satisfying the needs of other Christians showedto a large extent the way the reality of their faith and the strength of the bond between Christians.
Money controls a lot. Rather than viewing money as a sign of spirituality, or that spirituality guarantees prosperity (1Tim 6:5) a misconception that is familiar to many in New Testament times and today, money was to be understood as a stewardship, an important thing that is meant to be wisely used and invested, and not to betaken and hidden or lavished upon ourselves (James 5:1-6, Lk 16:1-13; 19:11-27).Material belongings in the Bible are never seen as an end in themselves. Chasing after wealth/prosperity has caused great heartache, problem and difficulty to quite a number of Christians. Material things are to be viewed as a means through which we can prove our love for God and our love for our brethren.
Whatever we have is given to us by God. Hence, our belongingsare not completely ours. We observed from the book of Acts that Christians did not consider their possessions as belonging that completely belong to them. This means that they did not claim their right of ownership.From the description from the Apostle Luke: “And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own; but all things were common property to them” Acts 4:32. From the scripture above, we can see that there is no mandatory collection of goods and money from anyone. This is most clear in Peter’s words to Ananias and Sapphira: “While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control?” Acts 5:4a. The land belonged to Ananias and Sapphira and they are entitled to do with it what they wish. They were not mandated to sell the land, or to give any part of the proceeds to be used for the poor. The sin of Ananias and Sapphira was that of deception, lying to the Holy Spirit Acts 5:3-4.
Second, the text did not also say that everyone sold everything they had and pooled it all together. It further expatiated that no one made selfish use of his right of ownership. There actual ownership did not change except in the case of property that was sold. Therefore Luke said, “… not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own …” Acts 4:34. Material blessings are not only for us to enjoy alone, but for us to share with others who are in need; they are a vital means of showing Christian love and unity to believers and to express the life-transforming power of the gospel of our savior Jesus Christ.
1.2. STATEMENT OF THE GENERAL PROBLEM
The poor growth and expansion of churches in Nigeria as a result of finances has been a major stumbling block to Christianity and the spread of the gospel of Christ. The consistent poor financing of churches as a result of lack of financing principles has led to the mismanagement of funds and the spending of money on inappropriate things which therefore has prompted the study.
1.3. AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The major aim of the study is to examine the New Testament principles of church financing. Other specific objectives of the study are;
1.4. RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1.5. RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
H0: Church financing principles does not have an impact on church growth
H1: Church financing principles has an impact on church growth
1.6. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study would be of immense importance to church management in Nigeria as it would enhance church growth, expansion and development by examining the New Testament principles of church financing on church growth and expansion. The study would also benefit students, researchers and scholars who are interested in developing further study on the subject matter.
1.7. SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The study is on New Testament principles of church financing using four square gospel churches in Uyo Akwa Ibom state as a case study.
LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview)
Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
OTHER SIMILAR THEOLOGY PROJECTS AND MATERIALS