Mon | Aug 21, 2017

Steve Lyston | Wise up and rise up!

Published:Saturday | August 27, 2016 | 8:26 AMSteve Lyston

“And the Lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.” Luke 16: 8

Every Christian should take note of this parable.  How can children of light allow the children of the world to be wiser?  They are wiser because whether they are crooks or not, they are more consistent, more attentive and more diligent with what they go after or are seeking to attain.

Since 2006, the Church has been going through serious financial problems due to:

Mismanagement, failed Ponzi/pyramid schemes, economic downturn, especially the recession of 2007.

Further to that, a number of Christians lost their jobs and ultimately their homes.  Based on reports, banks began foreclosing on a number of churches.  Many began to lose patience on churches that began defaulting on mortgages and said that churches are no longer viable for business unlike other organisations within the private sector which mismanaged and were given bail-out and other tax write-offs.  The Church was not spared. 

Reports state that in 2010, 270 mega churches were sold.  In 2011, 138 additional churches were sold.  From then to date, the number of churches that have been sold have doubled.  Even some of the more popular preachers on television, their church building were sold and then it was sold to non-Christian individuals who in turn rented it back to the church leaders for exorbitant amounts.  Furthermore, it has been reported that over 500 congregations filed for bankruptcy. 

Downsizing

Meanwhile, many churches have had to downsize locally and globally and most Pastors had to walk away from full-time ministry and re-enter the secular industries in order to provide for their families.  Others had to resort to itinerant evangelism in order to survive. 

Many Christians became embittered as they wondered if the word of God about prosperity truly worked as they saw the un-saved/un-Godly buying up their homes and church buildings while they could barely find money to buy gas to go to the Church.  The main fact that it is taught that in times of famine God’s people will prosper further complicated things because many were focusing on the prophecy without making contingency plans for the times and seasons in which they were operating.  Sadly, many of the churches were getting into schemes/deals the Lord did not instruct them to enter, when they should have discerned that they were being duped by the world!  God is still waiting on all the leaders – in the USA and the Caribbean and even Europe, to repent for misleading the people and for the financial calamity that shrouded the Body of Christ.  If wealth transfer is to take place, then this has to be done now!

Many churches have taken grants from private institutions so that they would not go under, but the criteria that were given with these grants forced the leaders to be muzzled!  Some of them can’t even mention the name of Jesus within programmes offered!  Additionally, some church leaders were no longer looking to God to deliver them, but were instead looking to politicians to bail them out and as a result have had to be politically aligned in order to maintain their bail outs.    This shows that the Church is no friend to the world and must seek to be wiser in their dealings and doings.


Moving Forward

The Church needs to begin to unite and pool their resources together.  It is time for us to set up joint credit unions and the churches need to start renting spaces to each other without being afraid of any kind of competition.  We are not here to compete, we are here to complement each other.  If in the private sector they can rent space from each other to do business, why can’t we.  Many churches are being charged hundreds and even thousands of dollars to rent a store front.  Meanwhile, many church buildings are locked up, opened only once or twice per week while paying maintenance and utilities.  So the property – the resources are not being fully utilised and is thus being wasted.  The money wasted in this manner could have been used to build schools and training facilities to empower communities.  Sabbath-keepers don’t use the facilities on Sundays.  Rent the facilities to Sunday churches – we are serving the same God. 

The Church needs to stop allowing the world to milk us out while the people within the churches are suffering.  We must be good stewards of what the Lord gives us and allows us to access.  We must use our bargaining power and begin to do business with each other!  Even the animals do a better job of that.  Christian media are more expensive to do business with than the secular media.

Church, it is time, not only to rise up but also to wise up!