I've been a pastor of a church that I founded 4 years ago right in my living room (we now worship in a community center. Take a look HERE). What I have discovered, in my journey of learning how to pastor effectively, is how susceptible people are when it comes pastoral persuasion. In other words there is a psychology to religion.
When you are in such a powerful position with "spiritual authority", you have to be a man of integrity because it is very easy to persuade people these days to give their last dime in the name of "Jesus". When we talk about the finacial meltdown that nearly brought us to a depression, I often hear people talk about the immorality of big banks and corporations. I would argue that this level of immorality is not limited to big banks and corporations but also to the church and other areas of life we revere. However we don't hold these areas (including the church) to the same level of accountability as we would big business.
America has a problem and that problem is "greed". Greed has found it's way right in the house of God. Think for a moment about the proliferation of mega-ministries in America, (and now the same thing is happening in Africa). The primary message is that of money and the attainment of wealth...something that was antithetical to the teaching and preaching of Jesus. Yet week after week we kept giving massive sums of money to these ministries and have made so many preacher's the wealthiest of oligarchs and plutocrats (which is what they have become). They are the privileged minority that controls us.
People no longer participate with God to make their lives (and the lives of others) better through struggle, protests and moral virtues. Today we come to church looking for God to just give us wealth that we may live large, with no real responsibility to love others. What I am saying is that the concept of greed has made it's way to the pews making even the congregants culpable regarding this national problem. The black church needs not just a revival but a renaissance. We need to take a look back at our past and reclaim the mindset of SERVICE not SELF-INTEREST!
"When you are in such a powerful position with "spiritual authority", you have to be a man of integrity because it is very easy to persuade people these days to give their last dime in the name of "Jesus".
I don't believe that just going back to the old times in the church would revive it because you would lose a lot of members. The pastor of the churches in question should come under fire for their greed and be dealt with accordingly. It doesn't matter if you start a church or ministry or whatever, pastors should have a salary, period. The rest of any money coming in should be used for church expenses and helping the congregation when needed. If he sells anything else that involves being a pastor or spiritual leader a portion of the proceeds needs to go back to the church also.
A church is like a corporation, it takes the congregation to make the pastor rich so church goers should get profit sharing like they are employees
Last year, I visited a church. The first thing passed around was the money basket. Being a visitor, that hurt my Heart, I did not go back there. Why would I put money in it, before being fed the Bread of Life. They did not get my dime.