Different churches have different attitudes toward money. In that sense, the church usually reflects its leadership. Many times the quality of church leadership determines how financially healthy the church is. I personally do not believe in the theology of prosperity, but I’m happy when I see Christians who are financially blessed; however, I don’t believe God promises riches to those who are faithful to Him. In the history of Christianity, we find many examples of faithful children of God who were deprived of any financial means, but that is a subject for another time.

Does your church have money? Is your church financially healthy? Does it have the necessary resources to finance projects? Traveling throughout the world divisions, I have observed churches and leaders with different attitudes toward money. Of course, every church has its own unique story, and each one has a certain personality regarding finances. What kind of attitude does your church have?

An attitude of economy. Being economical with church resources is good, but only to a point. The problem is that some churches try to save money by avoiding expenses for essential things. When economy is seen as a great virtue, we risk its overvaluation. In the spiritual context, an exaggerated sense of economy may be a symbol of miserliness or suggest a lack of trust in God. When the church does not have what it should have, a culture and mentality of poverty is created in the minds of the church members.

An attitude of poverty. If the treasurer always says “There is no money” whenever funds are requested, he or she creates an atmosphere of frustration and discouragement. A church may be small and its members humble; nevertheless, God gives the church the resources it needs for survival. When lack of money is an ongoing problem in a congregation, it reveals the frailty of its leadership in providing the needed resources for God’s work.

An attitude of generosity. Generosity is a good attitude, although a generous church does not necessarily mean a rich church. The opposite may also be true. Generosity from its members is more than a duty; it is a lifestyle. Every Christian should be a generous person. In her book Counsels on Stewardship, Ellen G. White affirms that “the spirit of liberality is the spirit of heaven” (14). It is wonderful to see how God works with a church that possesses a generous spirit.

An attitude of fear. Some church members give their offering and return God’s tithe because they fear being punished by God. We might even include here some leaders who administer church finances with fear and do not invest in remodeling and building because they think there won’t be enough money. Do you know a church that was built with surplus money from the treasury?

An attitude of ill will. Everything we do for God should be done with goodwill. Some church members have not yet discovered the blessing and the joy of being faithful. Instead, they contribute financially but out of a sense of obligation. Ellen G. White says that “it were better not to give at all than to give grudgingly” (ibid., 199).

An attitude of faith. I’m inspired by churches with much faith. These churches are usually small and recently established. Sometimes they don’t have enough money to do everything they dream of, but that does not stop them from progressing. Although they may not know where the money will come from, they often move forward with their missionary efforts and programs. Nothing stops them. They are always united and willing to do their best, and the Lord’s work grows like a plant in fertile soil.

An attitude of gratitude. The members of this type of congregation recognize that the Lord is the giver of all good gifts. They always find reason to give their best to God. A church where members and leaders are distinguished by a spirit of gratitude and an attitude of faith and generosity is a spiritual congregation, happy and blessed.

Which attitude does your church have? Which attitude should you have as a church leader? One thing is certain: as the spiritual leader, you can have a great influence on your congregation and on the characteristics your church members develop. The good news is that you can cultivate a correct attitude without spending one penny.

Jonas Arrais General Conference Associate Ministerial Secretary